“With these hands, I serve the people of Appalachia.”
– Candace, ’13
Growing up, Candace always thought she’d have to leave Kentucky to find her life’s calling. But she’s learned from her experience in Berea’s Student Labor Program that her calling is right here in Appalachia.
Through her work with Berea’s Entrepreneurship for the Public Good (EPG) and Grow Appalachia programs, Candace has gained skills in nonprofit marketing and management. But, more importantly, she has discovered her desire to serve others.
An experience that stands out to Candace is her work this summer with Grow Appalachia, an outreach program at Berea that serves food-insecure communities. As part of this work, she started a newsletter, managed website content, wrote grants, and mentored a student intern.
On top of all that, Candace planted her first garden at one of the College’s community garden plots. Her garden was next to her labor supervisor’s garden, allowing her to learn from an expert. She even worked in a second experimental garden with her supervisor and other students to test different growing methods, going from novice to expert gardener in a few short months.
Candace considers her work with Grow Appalachia and her garden as her two biggest accomplishments at Berea. Reflecting on her work with Grow Appalachia, she said, “Seeing a family that has never gardened before grow their own food and prepare a healthy meal makes me really proud.”
Candace knows that her work and especially her garden make her family proud, too. “My grandpa doesn’t talk a lot,” Candace explained. “But I can talk with him for hours about my garden, and I can see in his eyes that he’s really proud of me.”
After Candace graduates in December, she plans to continue working with organizations serving Appalachian communities and families. Whether she’s at her computer designing marketing materials or in the field teaching someone a new skill, Candace knows she’ll feel most fulfilled right here in the hills of Appalachia, her home.
Gifts from alumni and friends have made Candace’s journey possible. Please give today to help Candace and other hardworking students discover the story their hands will tell.
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