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. She's been attending Antioch United Methodist Church for as long as she can remember.
"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.
It was because of the values impressed upon her as a child in The United Methodist Church that she became 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."
The Gift of Hope scholar is pursuing a career in emergency management at Randolph College, a United Methodist-related institution in Lynchburg, Virginia. She eventually wants to work on an international level to help those affected by manmade and natural disasters.
Your support of the , United Methodist Student Day offering helps fund the Gift of Hope Scholarship program of the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry.
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.
In addition to her studies, Jones has held a variety of leadership positions throughout her time at Randolph, including class vice president, intern and tutor supervisor, and Solar Ambassador team leader. She's also been involved in a variety of clubs and school initiatives.
The college recently honored her hard work with the 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.
"This generation is the future of The United Methodist Church and they have the innovation and passion that will draw others into the church again as member numbers have been declining. It is important to invest in their education so that they can better themselves and ultimately The United Methodist Church for the glory of God."
Julie Dwyer, general church content editor, United Methodist Communications
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.
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