Between mission trips, Bible study, singing in church choirs and enjoying college life, Kaylan Mercuri is never at a loss for things to do. A native of Mooresville, North Carolina, Mercuri is a freshman at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina, which she confesses, is her "dream school." For five years, she was homeschooled by her mother and later attended a Christian classical school during her middle and high school years. It was during her time in high school that she developed a passion for reading and an appreciation of great literary works and their authors. She also acquired oratory skills, which she still finds useful in her work and studies.
Growing up, she was surrounded by beloved role models. "My grandfather is a retired United Methodist minister and both of my grandmothers are actively involved with the United Methodist Women's group in their respective churches," Mercuri said. Besides being a home school teacher, her mother is a Christian educator in Mercuri's home church, Davidson United Methodist Church (UMC) and her father spends a great deal of time volunteering and teaching in the church as well as being involved with mission work.
|Kaylyn Mercuri playing soccer with children at a community picnic during a week of mission.|
There has never been a time when Mercuri was not part of the UMC. "I do not know life without the church," she admits. "The leaders, volunteers, my Sunday school teachers, mentors, the congregation and even the church employees have all been a great influence in my life." Mercuri has always loved to sing and has been a member of the Davidson church choir since she was 4-years-old. "I have traveled many places singing with my choir, including Nashville, Tennessee, Washington, D.C., Denmark and Sweden," said Mercuri. For three years, she sang with the Davidson Compline Choir and played in the youth Hand Bell Choir.
Without the support of her Gift of Hope Scholarship Mercuri said she might not have been able to attend Furman She was encouraged by her grandfather and mother to research every available opportunity for scholarships within the church. "I wholeheartedly feel the UMC church should support the United Methodist Student Day," said Mercuri. "Future students like myself, who are in need of assistance in reaching their goal of higher education, can succeed with the help of the offerings on United Methodist Student Day."
Mercuri loves taking on leadership and counseling roles as a member of her youth group. As a youth leader, she has participated in five mission trips, the Appalachia Service Project, YouthWorks family mission weeks and has led classes in vacation Bible school, music camp and Sunday school. One of her favorite roles is being a mentor and buddy for children with special needs during their Sunday school classes.
She says she has been privileged to be part of many different programs and activities through her church stating, "These programs have affected me in such a way that I feel the church and my faith will always play a role in what I do."
Gayle Starling-Melvin, a freelance writer from Hendersonville, Tennessee
One of six churchwide Special Sundays with offerings of The United Methodist Church, United Methodist Student Day calls the church to support students as they prepare for life in uniting faith with knowledge. The special offering provides scholarships for qualified United Methodist applicants.
When you give generously on United Methodist Student Day, you support students as they prepare for life in uniting faith with knowledge. Give now.