GILLIAN DE LA CRUZ OF THE UNIVERSITY OF DALLAS, a sophomore on the women's volleyball team from Lewisville, Texas, has been selected the SCAC Character & Community Female Student-Athlete of the Week for the week beginning October 8.
The SCAC Character & Community award honors the efforts of student-athletes who excel in the field of athletics, and also serve their campus and community.
A Biology major, De La Cruz works as a youth and young adult ministry leader for the Dallas area of Couples for Christ Foundation for Family and Life (CFC-FFL). She typically serves as a music ministry head, a speaker, and discussion group leader for the kids, youth, and college ministries.
In addition, De La Cruz co-led a youth retreat of 105 participants with another servant in March of 2017 called Camp Powerful. She also frequently gives talks and sessions to different ministry branches in the CFC organization. She was one of six main core leaders for the youth ministry from August 2016 to August 2019. With involvement since 2011, De La Cruz recently brought CFC's college ministry to UD as a club.
"I feel very blessed to have a family outside of my own family," said De La Cruz. "It is something that has allowed me to branch out, be a better person, and to see different world views and different perspectives. It has helped me maintain a certain respect for humanity and for the dignity of what it means is to be a human."
De La Cruz also is busy with other clubs on the UD campus. She is a member of Crusaders for Kids, a club that visits hospitalized children. De La Cruz does participate in Campus Ministry by working as a Praise and Worship coordinator. She also is involved with Pre-Health Society and the Asian-American Student Association. The latter gives De La Cruz an opportunity to celebrate and share her Filipino heritage.
"It's just a great blessing to be able to do all this, especially coming from a third-world country like myself," said De La Cruz. "The opportuntiy to give back was something that was instilled in me from a young age. I'm very thankful for my parents for providing me with that gratitude and that experience of being able to help someone that once was us."
Interview with De La Cruz