Devils in Disguise

Students from various campus service organizations spent an entire day serving as part of the Devils in Disguise community service event. One of these groups was the Latter-Day Saints Student Association (LDSSA). 

The LDSSA is a campus group of fifty members who host monthly service projects for ASU students of all faiths. In addition to service projects, LDSSA also plans various activities for students to meet and interact with each other.

One of the sites for the Devils in Disguise project was the New Foundation rehabilitation center. Kids from ages eleven to seventeen who have trouble at home or who were involved with criminal activity or drug use spend time at New Foundation. The New Foundation staff offers counseling for emotionally abused or behaviorally troubled children.

J.R. Payne, a twenty-two-year-old ASU psychology major, was one of the students involved in the New Foundation service project. For four hours, members painted dorm rooms and classrooms, pruned overgrown vegetation, and cleaned rooftop debris. Local companies also donated furniture and paint for the center. Even a local reporter covering the project lent a hand. J.R. worked in the courtyard, leveling desert plants, rocks, grass, and trees.

“There is always a special feeling when you are giving of your time for others,” J.R. says. “Everyone had so much fun and we got a ton of work accomplished. We were able to get to know and make friends with each other and those who worked at the facility.”

Others felt the joy of service as well. “Some of the roof workers were engaged in a competition to see who could finish first,” J.R. says. “Todd Castillo led the groups in church hymns and chants to encourage the workers on the other roof, such as: ‘We got service, yes we do! We got service, how ‘bout you!’ It was very clear that everyone was having a great time.”

J.R. says it had been tempting for him to skip out on the project, as it was early on a Saturday morning during ASU finals. However, he admits, “I was definitely blessed of the Lord in spiritual and temporal matters for doing as He has asked and giving of myself for others’ benefits. I walked away feeling spiritually refueled, like I just walked out of church, and the rest of my day was terrific.”

The newly renovated center will have a great impact on its residents, J.R. says. “The scriptures teach that ‘cleanliness is next to godliness’ and I think that because of the renovation that was done, [New Foundation] will be a more peaceful place for them to live and learn.”

When asked how he would advise others on getting involved in a similar project, J.R. explains, “You don’t have to be in a club or service association in order to do things for other people. That’s what living the gospel is all about—being able to quickly fill a need one might have because we love God and each other.”

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