Growing up, I was always told to look around and help those in need. As a young child, these words became lost in my mind. As someone who grew up in the United Methodist church and in the Girl Scout community, serving others is something that was always ingrained in me. From as young as I can remember, I was serving at church dinners, teaching young girls how to cook on a campfire and participate in archery, and packing bags of food for students.
One of my favorite projects was something that I did with my family. A week before Halloween, we would pass out flyers around our neighborhood about collecting non-perishable foods. On Halloween night, as my younger sister and I went trick-or-treating, we would collect the food items and put them in our wheelbarrow. Eventually, we had to go around the neighborhood in my mom’s minivan because we needed more room, but every year it was always a joy to send a couple hundred pounds of food to our local food pantry.
For me though, all of this was just a way of life. It was normal until I didn't have it anymore. When I started college, I felt like I lost something. Growing up, I was always a shy and quiet person. I was always attached to my mom, and when someone would talk to me, I would run and hide behind my mom's back. To date, when I enter a new situation, it takes me a while to warm up and be comfortable in a new environment.
This rang true when I entered college. In my sophomore year, I found my family: the alternative break program Mission: I'm Home and SBP (otherwise known as the St. Bernard Project). These organizations allowed me to grow, learn and have fun. Bigger than that, they enabled me to find something that I had lost. They allowed me to discover that serving others is my purpose in life. As I enter the latter part of my college career, I am starting to think, where do I want to go next? How do I continue this life of serving? Do I do something bigger or do I play it safe?
No matter where I go next, I know it will have a bigger meaning since discovering my life’s dream of serving those in need.
Katlin majors in Early Childhood Education at Stevenson University and is the Co-President of Mission: I'm Home. She is also a Unit Leader at Camp Winona where she also enjoys serving and educating young girls.