Caitlin Coleman ’05 Embraces Passion for Service
Just four years after graduating from Wittenberg, Caitlin Coleman already has a reputation among her friends for going out of her way to help others. In fact, they lightheartedly tease her about it sometimes. Like many alumni and students, Coleman is passionate about the well-known Wittenberg motto “Having light we pass it on to others.” From her days in high school volunteering to working at Wittenberg in the Office of Community Service to her job today as a volunteer coordinator at LifeSource Blood Services, the largest blood bank in Illinois, she is a living example of dedication to service.
“Volunteering and nonprofit work is truly where my heart is,” she said. “And it was at Wittenberg that I discovered that I could actually make a career out of that passion.”
She said that some of the community service work she did at Wittenberg put her in situations that she was not always comfortable in, but in the end, those experiences were eye-opening and educational. She eventually found herself seeking out new opportunities and, in the process, developed a stronger sense of self and of her ambitions. Her experiences at Wittenberg solidified her deep sense of civic engagement, and she fully intends to continue to make a career in the nonprofit world.
“I have to feel the passion of the organization, and I really get that in my job now,” she said. “For one, I am continually inspired by the generosity of those who give. But it is also a great feeling to know that the work I do directly benefits people in life-threatening situations.”
When she is not working, she is volunteering for organizations such as the Make-A-Wish Foundation or the Ronald McDonald House. This summer she helped organize a service event at a local elementary school for the Witt Nation participants passing through her area. Her enthusiasm for service and commitment to Wittenberg also earned her Wittenberg’s G.O.L.D Award this year, given to graduates of the last decade “who have shared time and talent with the university.”
Coleman said the people at Wittenberg had the greatest impact on her – from professors and advisers who challenged her to sorority sisters and friends who supported her. Coleman’s belief in Wittenberg’s motto also holds steady: “I feel lucky to have found a career that allows me to pass on that light.”