Campbellsville University sophomore and Central Hardin High School graduate Keara Priddy designed T-shirts of various colors last November to raise money for a mission trip to Haiti. Each shirt she designed displayed the message “Love Speaks.” If this message is the truth, Priddy can’t stay quiet.
Although she’s only 19, Priddy has volunteered for countless causes both locally and in areas such as South Carolina, North Carolina, Chicago and Eastern Kentucky.
Priddy’s mission trip to Haiti, which takes place in March, will focus on the town of Neply. She will join a group of Campbellsville students in a feeding program, in an after-school teen program and working with special needs children and the elderly. Through her shirt campaign, Priddy raised about $1,000 for the trip.
“I love working with the children,” she said of mission trips. “You get perspective on what they have and see how privileged we are.”
The trip is through myLIFEspeaks, a Christian-based non-profit that organizes mission trips to Haiti and emphasizes family empowerment, education and sustainable public health.
Priddy is studying social work at CU and wants to one day pursue pediatric art therapy, assisting children who have experienced trauma and those who experience developmental issues.
“With kids who don’t know how to express themselves with words, art is a good outlet,” she said.
At Campbellsville, Priddy is involved with Baptist Campus Ministry, The Vine and Social Work Club. In January, she attended the Uniting Kentucky: Transformers of Child Welfare Summit, an event in Louisville hosted by the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services focused on addressing child welfare in Kentucky.
Priddy also works as an after-school tutor at Campbellsville Elementary School, serving kindergarten through third grade.
Priddy had plenty of experience working with children before attending college. She previously served as a tutor with Gilead Baptist Church’s South Hardin Hope program, working with at-risk students from Creekside Elementary School. Her responsibilities at the Glendale church included helping children with homework, mentoring them and organizing their recreation and faith time.
“Keara was a joy to work with and she was loved by all of the kids at South Hardin Hope,” Gilead Baptist Vacation Bible School Director Heather Hinkson said.
Last September, Priddy joined a group of Campbellsville students from the social work, nursing and mass communication departments who volunteered to help with disaster relief efforts in Jacksonville, North Carolina, in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence.
Working with the Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief, Priddy and her peers helped with a variety of tasks, from clearing uprooted trees to delivering food to families in need. Priddy also can add “turtle rescuer” to her résumé, as she helped fix a turtle’s shell with duct tape while in Jacksonville.
On top of that, Priddy also recently organized a donation drive resulting in 100 pairs of new shoes for vulnerable children in Mexico. The drive was through Buckner Shoes for Orphan Souls, a humanitarian aid project organized through Buckner International.
Hinkson said Priddy truly thrives when serving others.
“In all of the time we volunteered together, I never saw her get frustrated with a child, never heard her raise her voice, never witnessed her having a defeatist attitude,” Hinkson said. “She is full of positivity and encouragement, regardless of the circumstances.”