Photographer and French grad Ulysse Toussaint '08 has parlayed his passion for service learning a fundamental pillar of Messiah College into a children's book, 'Superheroes of Service an Immigrant Story.'
The book encourages children, parents, friends and colleagues to engage in more acts of civil-mindedness, he explained.
As a child in Haiti, Toussaint grew up immersed in service to others. Then as a Messiah student working at the Agapé Center, he deepened that commitment.
In Grantham, he met two influential people: Community Engagement Liaison Chad Frey (then-director of the Agapé Center) and Kirstin Snow, an adjunct professor at the time, both featured on the book's cover.
"They opened doors for me," said Toussaint. "This book is the product of [Messiah's] community."
When an earthquake hit Haiti in 2010, Toussaint tried to go home, but flights were limited to medical staff and media. So, Snow, a former chief of staff for then-Governor of Pennsylvania Ed Rendell, called her former boss on behalf of her former student. Rendell expedited a press pass for Toussaint, who then flew home to take photos in a professional capacity. The trip sparked the idea for the book and Rendell wrote the foreword.
"During my time at Messiah College, I learned that being a Christian is not about what one says, but about what one does," said Toussaint, who operates a photography business in Norristown, Pa. "Messiah and the United States, showed me that if one lacks love and service, they are breakable. With love and service, one is unbreakable."
- Jake Miaczynski '20