Alumni News

Learning for Life

How alumni use their BYU education to serve their communities, neighbors, and families

Sharing the Love

A lifelong love affair with reading only intensified during my years at BYU, and after I graduated, I dreamed of helping others to read. With a family of five active children, I first focused my efforts on teaching my children to read and was delighted as they learned to love books as I did. Then, when I read in our local paper about adults who could not read well enough to fill out a job application or to read to their children, my heart was touched. I found an organization that taught basic reading skills to adults, and I volunteered to help write a grant proposal to fund the program. I will always be grateful for an education at BYU that prompted me to share my love of reading with my family and the community.

—Jane McBride Choate (BS ’73) | Loveland, Colo.

jane choate

After teaching her children to read, Jane Choate shared her passion for the written word with the community, volunteering for an organization that helped adults develop basic literacy skills.

Time to Tutor

As I started my first post-graduation job, the motto “Enter to learn; go forth to serve” kept ringing in my head. I soon found an opportunity to volunteer as a tutor once a week for middle- and high-school students. The parents of many of these teens often didn’t have the time or language ability to help with their kids’ schoolwork. Using skills I had developed or honed at BYU, I was able to help students with math, writing, and research, among other subjects.

One particular experience stays with me. One night a young woman from Nepal confided that she struggled with whether she should have a family or continue her education. How glad I was that I could share that one didn’t have to come at the exclusion of the other; instead, I was able to testify how important education would be for her family.

Though I eventually left to pursue a master’s degree, I still think about those youth. Even now, if I’m not actively engaged in a regular service activity, my conscience reminds me to “go forth to serve.”

—Ashley A. Custer (BA ’07) | Longmont, Colo.

School Skills at Home

I got married and moved away from Provo before finishing my degree, so when I later heard about the Bachelor of General Studies program, I knew it was for me. In working toward my family life degree, I took many early-education classes because I wanted to homeschool our children. I have used my BYU education countless times in educating our 11 children. Because several have had various special needs, it has been helpful to understand typical developmental stages so I could recognize where they most needed help. While our deaf son, who has cochlear implants, was learning to speak, I reviewed my course materials to remember what first sounds and words should be. And in pursuing my own education, I have been able to set an example of lifelong learning for my children.

—Michele Cooke Boling (BGS ’04) | Kalama, Wash.

Share Your Story | How has your BYU education helped you better serve others in your daily, nonprofessional life? Send us your tips and stories of the specific things you learned at BYU that have proven helpful in your home or community. BYU Magazine will pay you $50 if we choose to publish your submission in Learning for Life. Submissions may be edited for length, grammar, appropriateness, and clarity. Send your story to

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