Compassion moves Gift of Hope scholar
United Methodist Student Day -- Nov. 26
From a young age, Caitlin Jones knew she wanted to help others.
This United Methodist grew up in Princess Anne, Maryland, with loving parents and a supportive church family at Antioch United Methodist Church.
"Growing up, I went to a Christian school and was very blessed to have been able to do so. I was surrounded by my church family and knew that I could always depend on them," she said.
While peer pressure was a challenge as she got older, she persevered by focusing on her studies and being active at church, including singing in the choir.
"Being a good Christian who studied and worked hard was not always the most popular decision, but it was the right one," she said.
The values her church family emphasized led her to become passionate about helping others, she said. "With 9/11 and many significant natural disasters, including a tsunami in Thailand and Hurricane Katrina here in the U.S., I realized that I wanted desperately to make a difference in the lives of those affected by disasters."
Now the Gift of Hope scholar is pursuing a career in emergency management at United Methodist-related Randolph College in Lynchburg, Virginia. She wants to work on the international level to aid those affected by disasters of all sorts.
Her Christian upbringing will continue to play a role in her life and career. "I will rely on my faith to convey God's compassion and love" to those who are suffering, she said.
Jones' Gift of Hope Scholarship is provided through gifts church members give on United Methodist Student Day – Nov. 26 this year. Gift of Hope is one of several scholarship programs of the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry.
In addition to her studies, Jones has held a variety of leadership positions while at Randolph. She recently received the institution's Maude Huff Fife Award for leadership and scholastic achievement. "I hope that I am making a difference in the world by portraying effective leadership and by conveying God's compassion to others in need. ... I hope to lead others to Christ through my example," she said.
Jones encourages United Methodists to continue to lift up tomorrow's leaders through their generous giving on United Methodist Student Day.
Adapted from an article by Julie Dwyer, general church content editor, United Methodist Communications, originally published at www.umcgiving.org.