Student Nomination Story

Summer going into my junior year I went to Young Life camp with my friends and truly met Caitlyn Jolly for the first time. I had known of her from our Monday nights at Club or campaigners (our weekly Young Life events), but I had never gotten the opportunity to form a relationship with her the way I did that week in Michigan. At Young Life Camp one of the things leaders do is talk to the kids and listen to what they have to say. I remember, I played frisbee on the lawn one day when Jolly approached me and asked if I wanted to talk. Of course, I said yes and nervously followed her to a bench where she listened to me talk about my thoughts and struggles. She didn’t judge, she didn’t change the subject. She didn’t do anything but listen and stay engaged in the conversation. I remember that moment as meaningful because for the first time someone showed me how much they truly cared. These few minutes allowed me to realize the power of being a good-listener and made me want to make others feel the way she just made me — just by listening. In the course of that week, my friends and I grew closer to her as she helped me form a relationship with God. My life before had been superficial; I only cared about myself and I was weak in my faith. To me, Caitlyn was a motivator and helped me make the change I wanted through her words of encouragement. She helped me by showing me her ways and by showing me how good God can make a person. Caitlyn impacted my life by helping me build my faith in God, which helped me become a better and happier version of myself. After camp ended, Jolly continued to stay updated in our lives. As a nurse working long, laborious hours she always was there at Young Life on Mondays, and checked up on how I was. She makes time for the Young Life kids in her schedule and reaches out, asking my friends and me out to lunch or coffee so we can talk. Jolly continues to do what I would never expect her to: show compassion for my friends and me, and how she cares when she doesn’t have to. She listens to me when I need to be heard and encourages me when I need it most. As a volunteer for YoungLife, she takes the time out of her day to make a difference in someone’s life. Jolly is the most considerate, compassionate, and dependable person I have ever met. Jolly, I am so thankful for you and what you have done for me. You are the light in my week every Monday and can make me smile. The way you dedicate yourself to us kids fills me with a feeling of love and inspires me to change other’s lives the way you have changed mine.

Emily

To see more exceptional teacher nominees, visit The Honor Roll.