Magazine article Phi Kappa Phi Forum

Member Spotlight

Magazine article Phi Kappa Phi Forum

Member Spotlight

Article excerpt

Ruth E. Brasher upholds the merits of service. Her training as a home economist accounts for one reason; she's hard-wired to assist people. Another source of this benevolence comes from her upbringing; as the oldest sibling of five girls and one boy raised on their parents' dairy ranch in Huntington, Utah, Brasher learned from the get-go to pitch in. It follows, then, that she would give back to her campus, community, and Society. During her tenure at Brigham Young University from 1969 to 1996, Brasher volunteered for 23 major school committees in between positions as professor, department chair, associate dean of the College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences, and director of the Honor Code Office. Also, she founded a much-lauded charity that helps comfort abused children by presenting them with a creative kindness: specially crafted teddy bears. And Brasher assumed numerous offices at the BYU Phi Kappa Phi chapter, underwrote a chapter scholarship, was director of Fellowships for the Society for three successive terms from 1992 to 2001, and is funding a Fellowship named after her in 1998. "That We May Become," Brasher's devotional speech at BYU in July 1983, advocated for such humanitarianism, arguing "love is manifest through service" and "self-fulfillment" poses "a challenge to give of ourselves."

On outreach: "A culture focusing on self-fulfillment and 'me first' tends to blind one to the needs--and gifts--of others. Service provides a two-way street that opens the hearts of both the benefactor and the receiver."

In 1992, Brasher organized what came to be known as the Teddy Bear Ladies, a Provo, Utah-based philanthropy that makes the titular stuffed animal for abused children. The group's many accolades include recognition from the Points of Light volunteer service organization in 2003.

On the Teddy Bear Ladies: "We make teddy bears for the Utah County Children's Justice Center, a homelike treatment facility for minors and families dealing with child abuse. The initial commitment was to make 300 teddy bears during the course of the year and allow the children to pick one to keep as a way to ease the difficulty of the interviews and physical exams they go through. Although we use the same pattern, we select different fabric and trim, meaning each bear is unique. …

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