Student Activist of the Month: Emily MacLaren

The Ursuline Academy senior talks about her love for volunteering.

Cheryl Gerber Photographs

“Throughout my volunteering experience, I’ve continuously answered Ursuline’s foundress’, St. Angela’s, call to Serviam: I will serve,” says Emily Fiona MacLaren, a senior at Ursuline Academy who began volunteering at the age of 12.

MacLaren has been a competitive swimmer for 10 years and is a member of Ursuline’s swim team and Nu Wave, a local swim team. Her love of swimming evolved when she began volunteering with Jojo’s Hope, an organization that provides free swim lessons to mentally handicapped children. Through this organization MacLaren then discovered Camp Friendship, a weeklong camp that gives children who have Spina Bifida the chance to attend summer camp. Over the past five summers she has formed a friendship with the campers, and she’s proud of her participation with the program because the children have changed her life, both as a role model and as a friend.

Last year she expanded her service outside of Louisiana with Ursuline’s Beyond Our Borders immersion trip program, which allowed her to volunteer in Guyana, South America. She learned to embrace a different culture and appreciate the little things in her life.
“The immersion program to Guyana changed my life,” she says, “and the memories I experienced will stay with me forever.”

Aaron Walters, a math teacher at Ursuline, inspired MacLaren to become an activist with his enlightening stories about volunteer work in Tanzania with the Peace Corps. Walters has been a role model for her on how to live a life of service and faith while also being an activist within the community.

This summer, MacLaren plans to continue her call to Serviam by going on a mission trip to Ghana, Africa, to help improve education and health conditions within a small village. She plans on attending Tulane University for her freshman year and wants to double major in Public Health and Spanish. After college, she hopes to devote two years volunteering in the Peace Corps before attending medical school. 

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