Now into its fifth decade, Workship is a community service program that is distinctive to PBA, creating opportunities for students to respond to human needs with Christ-like action in the community and the world. The program was created by Dr. Jess Moody, founder of PBA, and his wife, Doris, and it requires all undergraduate students to volunteer at least 45 hours annually at nonprofit agencies, churches and schools. As PBA celebrates its 55th anniversary this year, Workship is projected to reach four million hours of service. Countless students, community partners and nonprofits have been impacted by the vision of Dr. Moody and Doris when they founded Workship in 1968.
Bailey Hughes, a PBA alumna who graduated in 2013, is among the list of individuals whose life was changed through her experience with Workship. The native Iowan discovered PBA from a pamphlet she received in the mail. “I toured PBA before my senior year of high school and I absolutely fell in love with the campus,” Hughes explained. “Before I knew it, I was packing up all my belongings and moving 1,500 miles away from home, not knowing a soul.”
During Welcome Week, PBA offers a wide array of activities and events for freshmen, giving them a taste of campus life and an opportunity to connect with fellow Sailfish. One of the events is a Workship project, where students are able to partake in a time of worship and community service. Hughes signed up, and her eyes were immediately opened to an entirely different world. “I was shocked that there was such wealth and poverty within mere miles of each other in West Palm Beach,” she said. Workship made her aware of the needs of those right in her own backyard.
After graduating, Hughes got married and she and her husband found themselves drawn to foster care and adoption. Soon after obtaining their foster care license, their house became a revolving door of sorts. Over the span of five years they fostered 23 children – four of whom they adopted.
In 2021, Hughes and her husband closed their home, but she had a hard time walking away from foster care as it so profoundly impacted her life. “Because of my personal experiences, I recognized that there was this need to get supplies to families and children that were entering the foster care system,” she explained. In an effort to provide a solution, Hughes and her sister, Makayla, founded The Hands and Feet, a nonprofit designed to provide basic resources directly to the doorsteps of children in the foster care system. In the first two years alone, The Hands and Feet has served over 3,500 children, and they are continuing to grow at a rapid pace.
“The Hands and Feet has just exploded since we first began,” said Hughes. “I feel like those four years that I spent at PBA being poured into were so formative. Workship taught me about the community surrounding me, and it played a huge role in what I am doing today.” In September, Hughes was awarded PBA’s Alumna of the Year Award during Homecoming & Family Weekend. One of the highest honors bestowed by the University, the award is given to a graduate who exemplifies PBA’s mission to grow in wisdom, lead with conviction and serve God boldly.
To learn more about The Hands and Feet, visit www.thehandsandfeet.org.
Click here to watch Bailey share more about her journey to serving families in foster care.