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First Pres Blog

Wallander's Love of Jesus Transcends Generations With Student Ministries

Posted by Nathan Richards on

Carol Wallander is one of Student Ministries’ fantastic volunteers. Learn about how she loves our students, whether through playing nine-square or learning how to play the drums.

One of the best memories I have of Carol is of a Sunday Youth Group night in the fall of 2018. Our youth band had been struggling to find a drummer and we began announcing to the group that we were looking for more kids to jump in. The next week Carol, who turned 72 this past year, arrived with two drumsticks and let us know that she had been watching YouTube videos all week so she could learn how to drum and help us out. This is the purest way I know to share Carol’s love for the students of First Pres. She is willing to do anything to share with them the love of Jesus. 

Carol serves almost every Sunday morning and night as our 12th grade girls co-leader. She also serves at Grilled Cheese Mondays and made hundreds—if not thousands—of sandwiches for Palmer High School students last school year.

I recently sat down with Carol and asked her what she loves so much about high school students and what she wishes people knew about them. She shared some encouraging thoughts about connecting with a younger generation:

“In high school, they’re so excited about what they’re discovering and their future is all ahead of them. It’s a very exciting time of life and I enjoy being a part of that time of discovery.

“A lot of people don’t feel comfortable approaching a teenager and talking; there is some fear there. It’s easy to think that they don’t want to talk to someone who’s older, but they really do; they just want to be treated like anyone else. It’s all about realizing it’s not their fear getting in the way—it’s yours.”

When I asked Carol what she would say about serving at her age, she replied, “It’s not a matter of how old you are. It’s a matter of having an interest and sharing life with people of a different generation.”

A few weeks ago I was talking to one of our students going through a hard time. She had been able to talk with Carol, and at the end Carol asked if it would be OK to hug her. The student, in surprise, told me, “I don’t know how many other adults have ever hugged me—that was really cool.”

Carol has an incredible impact at First Pres week in and week out. We are so thankful for her service.

To learn more about how you can serve and be a part of Student Ministries, contact Nathan or Heather.

Tags: volunteers, family ministries