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How Westminster encouraged alumna’s life of service

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Posted on Wednesday, February 2, 2022

Beth Grubbs Wentz ’05 shares how attending a private institution such as Westminster prepared her for a life of service.

Tell us a little bit about your life after graduating from Westminster College.

During my time at Westminster, I served as an intern with The Lighthouse Foundation, a nonprofit organization serving impoverished individuals and families in Allegheny and Butler counties; my internship led to being offered a position with The Lighthouse Foundation when I graduated from Westminster in 2005. While working for the foundation I began a graduate degree program at Geneva College with the intention of one day moving into a career in higher education. I completed the degree but found that a career in social services was very satisfying. I chose to stay in the field of social services and, later, joined  MHY Family Services in their family therapy department, where I’ve worked for more than 10 years. At the same time that my husband Brad and I got married, we also took in a sibling group of three foster children.  After two years of fostering and adding a baby we birthed into the mix, we officially adopted them in 2012.  We have since had two more babies, making us parents of six! Our oldest is on a full Division I scholarship to play football at Old Dominion University in Virginia and our youngest is age 2!  While adoption is a passion of ours, so is mission work.  In 2010, we founded Dream Big Honduras (DBH).  My husband and I have run this nonprofit mission as our passion project while we both work full-time jobs to pay the bills.  Our mission focuses on education, health, faith development and crisis needs.  We lead several mission trips a year and have four local Hondurans that run our daily programs of a kindergarten, food bank, tutorial academy for middle school and high school, and crisis help.  Our goal is to continue growing our mission to the point where at least one of us can quit our other job and dedicate more time to Honduras.  We are currently in the process of building several homes for families in our programs that lost everything during the hurricanes in November 2020. 
When you reflect on your time at Westminster, does anything stand out to you as significant in shaping who you are today?

The connections I made at Westminster I will be forever grateful for!  Dr. Na was an amazing professor who challenged us to really own our faith and dig deep into the scriptures from a new lens.  My tennis coach, Kip Haas, helped me develop leadership skills and resiliency, and my love for competition!  Jim Mohr helped me and another student lead a mission trip over spring break to the Bahamas, where I felt God calling me to missions even more clearly.  Several dear friends taught me during college and continue today to teach me the value of friendship, diversity and making memories any chance you can.  I remember being stressed out because I was involved in so many things at WC, but looking back, I wish I would have taken advantage of so much more the college had to offer! The time goes by so fast!

How do you feel that attending a private institution such as Westminster prepared you for a life of service?

Westminster was the perfect combination for me of having many avenues to serve and many opportunities, but nothing really forced or mandated on you.  I loved that I could try a lot of different things out and figure out where my passion and gifts served best.  It was also awesome to be in the company of so many other young people who were passionate about service.

Part of Westminster College’s mission statement expresses a student ability-based outcome of demonstrating moral and ethical commitments to neighbor, society, and the natural world. Tell us how you are living that in your life today.

Westminster continued to lay the foundation of these moral and ethical commitments that my parents raised me in.  It gave me the freedom to take ownership of those values and make them my own, not just the way I was raised.  I am trying to live my life in a way that glorifies God, helps others and takes care of His creation, but relying mostly on His grace to cover me in the many areas I fail daily in!

How do you balance your drive for missionary work and the importance of being home to raise your family?

It all blends together for us!  We include our kids in our passion for mission work: whether they are coming to fundraisers with us, volunteering and sorting donations, hearing a board meeting happening in our dining room, and for the older kids—actually joining us in Honduras—they are there for it all.  We definitely hear the gripes and complaints, but we are praying that service sticks with them throughout their lives.  Having adopted bi-racial children, we are also very passionate about diversity initiatives and sharing with others the trauma and joys of adoption.  With six kids (five being very active boys), we mostly just call it a win when there is no call home from the school or trip to the ER.  

Does your Westminster community come into play in any of your current work, volunteerism or community service? If so, how?

Many of my friends from Westminster have donated items or financially support our mission.  Christian Davoli ’05 used his classroom and DBH to educate students on worldwide poverty and hosted a school supply drive for our mission.  Vera Dorosh Sebulsky ’04 once hosted a ZUMBA fundraiser for our mission and led everyone in a fun workout to raise money for DBH.  Andrew Winner ’04 and his wife Amy have been donors since we started in 2010, and Andy has served on our board of directors for the past four years.  Jim Mohr has had us speak about our mission at chapel a few times.  We are so grateful for the many Titans who have donated in various ways and prayed for our mission over the years.

How can other alumni provide “service” on a smaller scale in their own community in their everyday lives?

Being in the thick of parenting active kids, I think volunteering for things that you can involve your kids in and align with your passions is so meaningful!  Also, being grateful for those that give up their time to serve you and your family.  Little League coaches don’t get paid and they give up A LOT of time to serve the community.  We are always looking for people who want to volunteer to have a fundraiser or be a part of a fundraiser for our DBH programs.  We also welcome any Westminster alum or current student to join us on a mission trip!