Finding a place to serve
If there is one thing Abby Stuckey knows and loves, it is service.
The sophomore from Dalton says helping others is something she learned from an
"I grew up in the church, and my parents have always been very service-oriented,
" she says. "Whenever opportunities like mission trips arose, I was there. I wanted
to help people."
While she was in high school at Christian Heritage School, she spent a month for
two summers in South Africa as part of a service-learning trip.
"We worked with people of all ages," she says. "We even went to a nursing home,
where we sang for the residents and talked with them. It was really great."
The group also visited schools and area slums, where they were able to provide
"For some of them, it was the only real meal they had that week," she says. "It
was such a blessing to be able to do that."
Having that background in service, Abby was intrigued by an opportunity presented
to her during her freshman year at the college.
"Blair Tolbert (Director of Student Ministries) suggested I go on the Christmas
in the City service trip to Nashville. I thought, 'Why not? It's only a couple
of days. It will be fun.' "
Abby says the group visited several churches in Nashville to learn about the different
ways they all minister to their community. One particular place moved her and opened
"We went to a church one night where the majority of the congregation is homeless.
It was very much an inner-city church," she says. "We were able to do some Christmas
crafts with them and had the chance to talk with them. It was great to learn that
we can help people who are not that far from home. We don't have to go to Africa
to find people who need our help."
However, it was this year's service trip to Savannah that truly touched her.
"I enjoyed Nashville so much that I decided to sign up for this year's trip in
December," she says. "It was completely different from what we did the year before."
The group worked with a Savannah YMCA, where they helped wrap holiday gifts.
"They have a program where parents can come in and get Christmas presents for
their kids that they normally couldn't afford, very similar to our Panther Toy
Abby says that experience taught her humility.
"I've never had to worry about having Christmas presents on Christmas morning,
but these kids do. You often don't realize that things like this happen in America.
It was very humbling to be able to help these parents provide Christmas gifts for
On campus, Abby has found ways to continue to serve, especially through her involvement
"I started playing T-ball when I was 4, and I grew up playing softball in middle
and high school, and I also played on a travel team. It was just a way of life."
She says being a part of the Panther softball team has taught her a lot about
"A lot of times, it is the little things that matter the most – something as simple
as a high five or encouraging words like 'Good job,' 'Don't worry about it' or
'You'll get it next time.' Coach (Jennifer) Claybrook (Athletic Director and Head
Softball Coach) is always so encouraging and building people up. I think that is
one of the most important things in building teamwork."
Abby also serves in a leadership role with the college's chapter of Fellowship
of Christian Athletes.
"FCA is a great thing we have here, and it's for everyone – you don't have to
be an athlete," she says. "We get together every other week for a student-led devotion
and fellowship. I've made some really good friends through FCA."
Abby says the college's emphasis on transformation rings true with her.
"This college has changed me. Looking back at who I was in high school and looking
at who I am today, I have really changed for the better. Everything I've done here
has been to my benefit. LaGrange College is an amazing place, and I am so
glad I chose it."