Brothers Tim and Daniel Banks were relaxing at home, with dinner on the stove, when they heard a loud “bang.” They rushed to the kitchen, only to see it engulfed in flames.

The two LSU students hurried to round up their four foster animals and alert neighbors in their duplex. A crew of firemen arrived in five minutes, Tim said, adding, “But, that was pretty much all it took.”

The brothers lost everything, but friends, neighbors and even strangers rallied to help. “The money was nice,” Tim shared, “but it was also nice that people were there to help us out whenever it actually did happen.”

The LSU Family Association was among the first donors to step up.

The organization initiated the Student Life Emergency Support Fund last fall in its semi-annual meeting. The association, dedicated to helping families with their students’ transitions to LSU, offers opportunities for family members to partner with the university during their students’ time at LSU.

Family Association Council co-chairs Juan and Joanne Carrillo led the effort to support students who are experiencing crises. Joanne explained, “We’ve committed to a 24-hour turnaround response to those applicants, because it is an emergency, and they need to knowright away.”

While living in Dubai, Juan and Joanne sent two sons to LSU. Joanne said, “I have boys, and boys are not good communicators. Through the Family Association, from a distance, I could have access to information I needed, but also I was invited to share what was important to me as parent.”

The Carrillos were asked to chair the council in early 2011, shortly after moving back to Baton Rouge. Since then, the couple has worked to enhance existing programs and innovate with new programs.

Whether the effort is as needed as the Student Life Emergency Support Fund, or as much fun as the Family Weekend dessert social under the Campanile, the Family Association is committed to serving the university with initiatives to benefit student life.

Tim said the fire in October was more stressful than he could believe, sharing, “You don’t have anything. You don’t have any money. You don’t have anywhere to go. At the same time, you’re taking classes and you’re not gonna drop out.”

Contributions like the one Tim and Daniel received from the Student Life Emergency Support Fund have enabled them to find a new home and return to a sense of normalcy.

Published in Cornerstone Summer and Fall 2013.

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