Young philanthropist

Carmen Johnson ’11 was named Outstanding Youth Philanthropist by the Virginia Piedmont Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals on Nov. 17.

A native of Forest, Va., Carmen is majoring in teacher education with an emphasis in special education.

Carmen was nominated for the award by the Society of Saint Andrew, which sponsors Harvest of Hope. In fall of 2008, Carmen participated in a weekend trip to glean apples, and during spring break of 2009, she traveled to Jacksonville, Fla., where she helped glean broccoli, cabbage, and citrus fruit. The food goes directly to local shelters.

Carmen is also co-chair for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life at Lynchburg College, and has served as team captain since freshman year.

She was one of 38 LC students in the summer of 2008 who took part in a service learning opportunity on the Caribbean island of St. Lucia, where LC has fostered a relationship for several years. Carmen spent a lot of time in health, developmental, and educational screenings for the island’s 3-and 5-year-olds. “When I came back,” Carmen said, “I switched my major to special education; it was that powerful.”

Carmen returned to St. Lucia for another two-and-a-half weeks in the summer of 2009, part of LC’s 23-student summer contingent that conducted more youth screenings, taught general math, science, and language, and assisted with a variety of island improvement projects.

Knowing that dental hygiene is an island challenge, Carmen asked Lynchburg dentists to donate toothbrushes and floss for the children, and they came through with more than 500 of each item.

“I look forward to teaching special education when I graduate . . . and the Peace Corps is also now a possibility after my time in St. Lucia,” she said.