Sarah Carter

See a need, fill a need

For Sarah Carter ’13, life is all about helping others.

She says her time at LaGrange College helped her develop that passion and prepared her for a life of service.

“I started with the Servant Fellows program led by the Rev. Quincy Brown (Vice President for Spiritual Life and Church Relations) when I was a sophomore,” she says. “His motto is ‘See a need, fill a need.’ We learned to lead by serving others.”

That first year, she worked with the college’s Bus Project.

“We spent time with younger kids at Benjamin Harvey Hill (housing project),” she says. “We helped them with their homework and worked with them once a week. It was fun for me to learn each kid’s personality, and to be able to tell them they can aspire to be better than what they’ve been told.”

The following year, she was approached by Christa Van Borstal ’12 about a new opportunity.

“Christa knows how much I love working with kids, and she asked if I had ever heard of WinShape Camps. I asked her if it was like a fitness camp.”

Sarah quickly learned that WinShape is a Christian faith organization sponsored by Chick-fil-A.

“They have a (summer) girls camp, a boys camp and a communities camp,” she says. “The communities one is where you travel, which is what Christa did. She told me all about it, and I researched it and talked with a few other people who had done it. I decided it was something I’d like to try.”

Last summer, she worked with first- and second-graders in different cities.

“We worked to connect churches with their communities,” she says. “I taught dance skills as well as lessons, and we played games outside. It was a pleasure just meeting all the kids, seeing their families and how they operate together. It was really a life-changing experience.”

Sarah says there was an encounter with one little boy that helped her know that she was on the right track.

“He gave me a little bit of a hard time at the beginning of the week,” she says. “I asked God to help me connect with this child.”

Sarah then learned a little more about his family and background.

“He didn’t receive much attention at home, so I worked with him and asked the volunteers to always be engaged with him. I even shared my testimony, telling him about my little brother who passed when I was young.”

At the end of the week, the child approached Sarah with a question.

“He said, ‘Miss Sarah, do you know what heaven is like?' When I replied that I didn’t, he said, ‘Well, I bet your baby brother does.'

“For an 8-year-old to say that, that was it. I knew right then that this is what I want to do – to help kids.”

Sarah, who earned a sociology degree from LaGrange, also praises Diana Goldwire, Director of the Career Development Center, for her work with students.

“In helping us get internships and other opportunities, she challenges us to find the niches and skills that we can develop over the years. Through that challenge, we learn how to network and branch out so that we all will have an ’a-ha’ moment when we discover what we want to do. I was inspired while I was here, and will take it even further into the community.”

Sarah says her experience this year with the Alternative Spring Break to Orlando was like the cherry on top of her time at LaGrange.

“This was my first ASB trip, and it really blessed me. Not only did it make me feel like I was responding to a call that God has for me, but it made me want to do more. It was like connecting the dots for me – not only do I want to help kids, but the community, as well.”