By: RANDALL MOSSMAN
Red Cross Club. BRAVE. Campus Ally Network. Student Council Committee. Communication Studies Club. At first glance, this looks like a list of the different clubs around campus. In reality, it’s the partial list of clubs that Elicia Brown-Scheretie participates in, all while being a graduate student and the single mother of three children. Talk about busy.
During her time as a student, Brown-Scheretie has become the personification of philanthropic work. She is currently a graduate student majoring in counselling and human services. “I started that [degree path] because of my strong desire to help people,” Brown-Scheretie said.
In addition to the aforementioned organizations, she is also a member of the Indiana Council Association, Indiana Counselling Association and the Student Alumni Association. She also assists professors April Lidinsky and Yvonne Larrier here at IUSB.
Along with volunteering for a plethora of organizations, Brown-Scheretie also volunteers in events held throughout the community. She has helped the Church Community Services food pantry in her hometown of Elkhart, as well as volunteering with the “On the River” event last year that helped the homeless.
Brown-Scheretie’s work has helped lay the foundation for several clubs here on campus. Her volunteer work with the local Red Cross led to the reestablishment of the Red Cross Chapter at IUSB, which had been absent for the past three years. She was named as the chapter’s president, but had to quit her presidency status because of all her other responsibilities.
Another organization that Brown-Scheretie is helping establish is the Student Council Committee. The committee, which is still in the process of getting started, will help plan mentorship programs, as well as help students get to know one another and raise awareness about IUSB’s counselling program to the campus and the community.
What can possibly motivate a single individual to dedicate nearly all of their time into helping others, with little to no compensation? It started when a professor suggested to her that she should embrace her time in college rather than just simply taking classes. “I decided to immerse myself in as many extra-curricular activities as I could,” Brown-Scheretie said. “I definitely love helping people. I quit my job just to be able to experience all the things that I’m experiencing. I want to be a valuable contribution to the community.”
Brown-Scheretie believes that the advent of the Internet has opened everyone up to receiving more insults and criticism. “I just feel like there’s so much negativity,” she said. She referred to the idea that, by having an online presence, we are all open to receiving more criticism, whether it’s solicited or not.
As for the future, Brown-Scheretie has plenty of big plans. In the short term, she is eyeing volunteer opportunities at St. Margaret’s House. She plans on obtaining her PHD and using it to become a motivational speaker or a life coach. “I want to be a life coach and inspire people to love themselves,” she said. “I really want to help motivate people and build up their self-esteem.”
She also has desires to share her expertise with other students, and hopes to one day be able to teach a few classes at a university.
Brown-Scheretie’s message to everyone is that anybody is able to achieve their dreams, regardless of where they are in their lives, just as she has at age 45.
“I want people to know that you don’t have to make a life decision and figure out everything right now,” she said. “You can comeback at a later time and still be successful.”
“Achieve your dreams as if you do not have any obstacles in your way.”