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Lipscomb represented at the opening ceremony of outdoor therapy center in Honduras

The Peugeot Center within the Lipscomb Raymond B. Jones College of Engineering celebrates the completion of a long-standing project in Trujillo.

Cate Zenzen  | 

Children on a playground in Honduras

Lipscomb engineering recently celebrated the completion of a long-standing outdoor therapy center project in Trujillo, Honduras.

For 15 years, Lipscomb University’s Raymond B. Jones College of Engineering has launched mission trips to enhance communities through engineering projects. The college is so committed to such work, that a few years ago the Peugeot Center for Engineering Service in Developing Communities was created to oversee the growing outreach.

Students, faculty and staff are involved in leading, designing and testing projects to fulfill the needs of organizations and nonprofits around the world. This fall, one such project was completed in the remote city of Trujillo on the coast of The Republic of Honduras. 

Ruth Steele (‘18) represented Lipscomb at the Outdoor Therapy Center dedication ceremony in Trujillo this October. The playground was a three-year project at the site of Little Hands, Big Hearts Ministry. Steele was a natural representative for such an exciting day as she has extended family in Honduras and was heavily involved with the Peugeot Center as a student. She accepted a certificate of recognition on behalf of the hundreds of Lipscomb faculty, staff and students who contributed to this project. 

Ruth Steele

Ruth Steele (‘18) represented Lipscomb at the Outdoor Therapy Center dedication ceremony in Trujillo this October.

“Going to the opening ceremony of the playground was super exciting because, out of all the projects I helped with through the Peugeot Center, it was the first time I got to see one come to completion,” said Steele. “As I sat watching the whole community of Trujillo come together to celebrate such a monumental milestone, I couldn’t help but picture all of the engineering students that had their hand in making it happen.”

Little Hands, Big Hearts is a Christian ministry that primarily serves children in an impoverished community with special needs. At the center of the ministry is the LHBH Development Preschool, which serves 14 children with disabilities including cerebral palsy, spina bifida and hydrocephalus. Through a long-standing partnership, short-term visiting mission teams from Lipscomb traveled to Trujillo to help with the now-completed playground that will allow the children to continue their muscular and physical development using outdoor play therapy. 

Mechanical Engineering Chair and Associate Professor Joseph Tipton led many teams to Honduras, but also involved students at home. Tipton’s Introduction to Engineering class included an emphasis on humanitarian engineering and allowed undergraduate students to design solutions in the classroom to later present to the project lead and staff in Honduras via teleconference.  

Team who worked on engineering playground

Tipton said, “We’ve had three years of mechanical engineering freshmen who have applied the engineering design process to a real world application that benefits special needs children in a developing country. Several of those students have then volunteered for the engineering mission trips to LHBH. They have seen the engineering design process applied full circle from conception to implementation, which is an amazing opportunity.”

While Lipscomb University was greatly involved throughout the process, the project was hosted by the Honduras Rotary Club and LHBH. As an international partner, the Yakima, WA Rotary Club did the majority of the design and planning, and also obtained a grant from Rotary International to fund the venture. Through site preparation, therapy station designs, and some construction, Lipscomb students contributed to an international collaboration, and Tipton wants students to recognize the value of their work. 

“[The students] are getting to be a part of something much bigger than themselves. That requires teamwork and faith. I hope and pray they will be personally impacted to use their careers and talents to serve this ministry and others throughout their lives,” said Tipton. 

Learn more about the Raymond B. Jones College of Engineering's Peugeot Cente.r