When alumna Carrie Timmermans ’11 decided to take a break between graduating from Trinity and starting graduate school, she never predicted that break would bring her back to her alma mater.
Timmermans, who graduated with a theology and English double major, is a member of Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA), a branch of AmeriCorps that is devoted to fighting poverty through indirect service. AmeriCorps is a government program of the Corporation of National and Community Service that mobilizes individuals and/or groups to serve their local communities in numerous capacities.
As a VISTA member, Timmermans committed to serving full-time for one year at a nonprofit organization where her efforts would be focused on strengthening community and creating business. VISTA members help fight poverty through developing service-learning opportunities and encouraging involvement in community.
“I wanted to do something constructive during my break from school and began to search for different opportunities working or serving in the area of development,” said Timmermans. “I applied to various AmeriCorps positions, and found myself back at Trinity, working in the Office of Community Partnerships and Service Learning.”
Timmermans works as coordinator of the Students in Service program, connecting students to outreach opportunities. She also works with the office’s director Anna Rosas ’06 to encourage, plan, and incorporate service-learning opportunities into Trinity curriculum.
One particular Trinity experience, Timmermans said, prepared her for working with VISTA.
“My final semester at Trinity, I enrolled in Chicago Semester and had the opportunity to intern at the New Community Warming Center, a daytime homeless shelter,” Timmermans said. “This experience really shaped me personally and gave me the final assurance that I wanted to move toward a career resembling social work.”
The real-life experiences of Chicago Semester, combined with her Trinity education, were extremely influential in forming Timmermans’ love of community and service.
“During Chicago Semester, I put into practice all I heard and learned from my classes at Trinity about the importance of community,” Timmermans reflected. “I like to think that my theology classes laid the foundation for what I experienced when I went to Chicago Semester. I was reminded time and time again as I interned that great things can happen when a community comes together.”