Since 1991, one week each year is set aside as “Dee Lavender Missions Week.” Lee University students partner with Church of God World Missions for a special project where they can make an impact in the world. This year, the selected week for missions emphasis is October 1-5. Missionaries are invited to speak in classes and exhibits make available information for missions awareness. The project for 2018 is the Smoky Mountain Children’s Home in Sevierville, Tennessee.
Many young people arrive at SMCH with academic deficiencies and need tutoring. SMCH is required by the State of Tennessee to offer a school for youth who need to recover high school credits and graduate on time. Currently, they have approximately 40 high school students attending their ALPHA School (Alpha Educational Learning Center). The school serves as a catalyst for many of their youth to experience their dreams of attending college. Each year SMCH graduates students from the school. Monies raised for this year’s project will go toward remodeling the ALPHA School.
One fund raiser for the students to take part in is purchasing T-shirts especially designed to promote the project. Lee has helped make a difference for over 27 years by donating well over $450,000.
In 1992, “Missions Week” was renamed “Dee Lavender Missions Week” in honor of a Lee student who died on a summer missions trip just before her 21st birthday. While in Panama, she penned a letter to her parents, and said: I know I’m where God wants me to be. If I can only finish the work God gives me to do, then my life will be complete.