Tara Boer, instructor for social work and criminal justice at Dordt College, will serve as Dordt’s 2019 commencement speaker with a talk tentatively titled “Gritty Stories: Being Brave in a Broken World.” Commencement will take place on May 10.
“I believe that we are changed in beautiful ways when we listen to the stories of our neighbors as well as share our own story in safe ways,” says Boer. “This exchange creates empathy, frees us from shame, and builds real community.”
Boer hopes to inspire graduates to look forward to life, taking courage that God has prepared them for the next steps on their journey.
“I long for young people to find the courage to embrace their stories and seek growth when life gets hard. I hope they develop grit and resilience and take holy risks for the Lord,” says Boer. “I pray they find their ‘cloud of witnesses’ where they can be truly seen and truly known by their brothers and sisters in Christ. I believe in these safe places we learn more about the depths of God’s grace and hear his voice more clearly.”
Boer started working at Dordt in the fall of 2011 as an adjunct social work instructor. Now, she carries a full teaching load with responsibilities in both the social work and criminal justice departments.
“I think the most rewarding thing about working at Dordt is seeing how much students grow from when they are freshmen to when they are seniors,” says Boer. “We get to be a part of that formational process and infuse Christ in all the ways we care about them. It is evident to me that this institution loves, serves, and seeks to honor Christ in all the ways we function, and I am thankful to be a part of it.”
Boer graduated from Dordt with a Bachelor of Social Work degree, holds a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Florida, and is a licensed independent social worker. Boer has field experience working with a variety of age groups and has worked as an in-home worker in several treatment programs and in the child welfare system.