“The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread.” Mother Teresa’s words constantly resonate with Caroline and affirm the perspective on life she has developed through service.
In high school, Caroline served in two hospitals performing a variety of tasks from the front desk assistant to courier as well as worked in a pharmacy. It was the interactions she had with the patients at these hospitals and pharmacy as well as her participation in “Civic Week: Public Health” in Chicago her sophomore year, where she volunteered at homeless shelters, soup kitchens and community gardens, which instilled in her a desire to reach out to and love those specifically affected by health concerns.
During her freshman year at Vanderbilt, Caroline expanded her focus to serving a much more diverse group of people. She prepared meals for the homeless at Room in the Inn through Vandy+Catholic and for the men restarting their lives after time incarcerated at Dismas House through the Grassroots service club. Caroline worked at Second Harvest Food Bank through Grassroots as well. She became involved at Susan Gray School through the Murray House Fellowship where she had the privilege to spend time with her much loved “buddy.” But it was her experience on her Alternative Spring Break trip to Huntsville, Alabama which solidified her reason for doing service: to see and to love the individual person. Tutoring and spending time with the children at Lincoln Village Ministries and its leaders inspired and motivated Caroline to base her service in something more substantial than to simply help others. Her service is therefore founded in her resolve that each and every person has a story, has worth no matter his place in life and deserves to be loved and know that he is loved above all else.
The following summer, Caroline worked as a Totus Tuus missionary for the Diocese of Nashville where she taught and ministered to students, first grade through 12th, at a different Catholic parish each week throughout Tennessee.
During Caroline’s sophomore year, she felt she had gained the understanding and conviction necessary to effectively lead others in service. As the Apostolic Pillar for University Catholic’s campus ministry, she lead groups in hosting Room in the Inn, cooking at Dismas House and mentoring and tutoring at a local school, St. Pius X Academy, for pre-K through 8th grade students. She continued her involvement with Susan Gray School and also became a mentor for Fiat, a program for young women ages 12-18 at Incarnation Cathedral. Caroline also participated in Alternative Spring Break as a site leader to St. Louis where her group worked in a poor region in community gardens and gained a greater understanding of homelessness and poverty. Caroline also continued to broaden her understanding of the public health system through her work as an undergraduate research assistant at a Neuroscience lab in the Vanderbilt Medical Center, where she continued to work during the summer of 2013.
It is the recognition of the dignity of the individual which drives Caroline to serves others above all else. She seeks not only to cook for them or to raise money for a cause but to provide something intangible: the knowledge that they matter and that someone cares for them simply as a person, a person worthy of love.