Contributed by Katya Beebe
A few things have been happening at CARP this summer. Two of CARP’s most active chapters, CARP Los Angeles and CARP Las Vegas, have organized separate initiatives – the International Exchange Trip to Japan and Korea and the 2017 CARP Las Vegas Summer Leadership Training respectively.
The CARP America National Team is excited to welcome a new staff member, Jennifer Pierce! A member of CARP LA who also reported on the recent international exchange trip, Jennifer is a wonderful addition to the team as the new Program Assistant.
To better introduce her and have you, our readers and supporters, get to know her, we asked Jennifer about her ambitions and her experience as a college student and with CARP and what her new role can offer.
Writing for Positive Values
Jennifer is 22 years old and two years out of college. She attended Loyola Marymount University (LMU) in Los Angeles (just by the beach!) from September 2012 to December 2015 and graduated Cum Laude with a degree in screenwriting.
Growing up in the Hollywood hub, Jennifer always loved movies and the movie-making process. In high school, she was a writer for the school newspaper. To merge her two interests, Jennifer decided to pursue screenwriting in college.
While writing scripts for movies and TV pilots, with a little bit of voice acting on the side, Jennifer thought about the impact her screenwriting could have on the world.
“I would love to use screenwriting to promote positive values to present a counter-proposal [to what the media presents today]. I think the media is really skewed toward negative things right now.”
Jennifer has truly tapped into the potential she believes she can have in the world of entertainment. At this time, she imagines a self-production route using the scope of the internet as a way to break into and disrupt the industry dominated by Hollywood.
Living Outside My Parent’s Home
Needless to say, Jennifer’s conviction to spreading positive values aligns with CARP’s mission to empower students to study and share the Unification Principles. During college, however, Jennifer did not have a CARP chapter on her campus, which is something she wished she could have experienced.
“I did have fun in college, but did it have purpose? I wish I had a CARP-like structure. It would have provided me with more conviction towards what I wanted to do [earlier on].”
Still, Jennifer found a way to stay true to her convictions. For example, when Jennifer was living with a roommate, she was determined to clean the house every day. In building up this good habit, her roommate felt so grateful especially when her next roommate wasn’t so helpful in the cleaning department.
Besides learning to cook and clean for herself (which Jennifer encourages all students to experience, even in their parent’s house), Jennifer also learned how to share her faith with her college friends.
“In an environment that doesn’t support [my beliefs] 100%, [once I shared], my roommate was respectful. A lot of people don’t have that kind of experience. I had friends who supported me and respected me.”
Because Jennifer first and foremost believed in herself and her faith, she could confidently explain that to those around her even though they were living in another kind of culture.
In this light, Jennifer could be open about her habits and convictions to not date or drink and to even attend the Marriage Blessing Ceremony conducted by True Parents in Korea in 2013.
To share with other people on your campus allows you to eventually find support even from those who might not share your values. It’s like saying your goals out loud so someone can hear them and hold you accountable to them. This was Jennifer’s college experience.
Becoming a Dedicated CARPie
Finally, in the summer before her last semester in 2015, Jennifer got a chance to work with CARP. She went out every day with CARP LA members to do community outreach and share what CARP was all about with others.
“I didn’t enjoy it at first, but then I found that if I really believed in these things [the Unification Principles] then I should be able to share it.”
This was the same approach Jennifer took in college where she developed confidence in the things she believed in which then she could share confidently.
By the fall semester, a CARP chapter was formed at Pasadena City College (the first campus chapter to open under the CARP LA parent branch). Even though she was finishing up her studies at LMU, she stepped up as Event Coordinator to continue outreach initiatives for the CARP Pasadena branch.
“It was a very rocky start and a learning experience. [For the semester] we put on one community service event, one fundraising event, and one social event.”
The Momentum retreat organized by National CARP in January 2016 gave Jennifer and her team more tools and processes to put on even more successful events and campaigns. One of these events was a partnership with the local bowling alley wherein CARP Pasadena was able to raise funds from the tickets sold.
Since the spring of 2016, Jennifer joined the bigger leagues as a CARP LA Board Member along with Jermaine Bishop, Yuri Kaneko, and Hitoe Hiraki (who will be starting up a CARP chapter at Cal State LA this fall). In this role, Jennifer has been supporting chapters in the LA area and facilitating communication.
Starting in a New Role at CARP America
Jennifer’s experience as a CARP LA Board Member lends itself well to her new role as Program Assistant with the National CARP.
The role of Program Assistant consists of two objectives:
- Chapter support: providing tools and resources to college and community chapters. This could be information on how to start up or maintain a chapter, assistance in clarifying chapter goals, and providing samples of chapter constitutions.
- Communications: reporting on local chapter events and providing inspiring stories via the CARP website and social media channels. This could be collecting local chapter news from chapter reps, conducting interviews with students, and facilitating communication between chapters.
In addition to her new role, Jennifer will continue her ministry work as a Sunday School teacher and a LA Family Church council member to give back to her local community. She will also carry on her work as a CARP LA chapter member and staff while conveniently working at Pasadena City College.
“It’s kind of funny because I’m going to actually be communicating with myself.”
Let’s not have Jennifer only communicating with herself! She is a resource for all chapters across the US looking for support or to be inspired and empowered to continue the important work that CARP does for the college student demographic.