St. Jude House relies on the dedication and passion of many members of the community to keep their doors open. From fundraising and volunteers to strategic planning, they are full of tasks that need to be accomplished, but often require a wealth of experience and and kindness to get done. Carol Highsmith, Chairman of the Board for St. Jude House, knows extremely well what their needs are and strives to guide them well in her time serving with them.
Highsmith became involved with St. Jude House over 15 years ago, offering her assistance with a fundraiser. At the time she worked as a Senior Partner at Centier Bank, an employer she says encouraged their officers to be active within the community.
“I’ve been involved quite a long time,” Highsmith said. “About 15 years ago St. Jude House had launched, along with the Southlake YMCA, the house raffle. It was a significant fundraiser. I got involved with the development board whose main purpose at that time was fundraising and running events.”
After being asked to serve on the fundraising committee, Highsmith accepted and fulfilled that role for several years, eventually becoming chairman for the development board.
After serving with St. Jude House for so long, Highsmith clearly found a connection. Five years ago, she continued her volunteer service as the chairman of the House Board. Her passion stems from their mission and positive work they do in the community. For her, educating and encouraging the community to stop the cycle of violence is of the utmost importance.
“Domestic violence is something that you hate to see any family go through, especially children,” Highsmith said. “That was what drew me in. I felt very passionate about what they do, what they continue to do, and I wanted to help these families get to a safe place, figure out what the next best step is for them, and help them move in the right direction.”
Highsmith is optimistic for the future of St. Jude House as well. As one of the members responsible for the strategic plan of the organization, she knows that they have an uphill battle with domestic violence, but by offering the right programs, they can begin to chip away at the root causes of the issue.
“The problem isn’t going away, but I think being able to continue offering good programming and being able to keep our doors open is important,” Highsmith said. “We need to educate the public, we need to get to the schools and educate the children, and we need to stop the cycle of violence. That’s a really steep mountain to climb, we’ve made progress but there is still a lot to do.”
Like many members of the board for St. Jude House, Highsmith isn’t concerned with the community recognizing her for her actions. Instead, she wants the community to understand St. Jude House and offer their support, however possible.
“We need to be mindful of how widespread domestic violence is and that we’re here to provide the help and the education,” Highsmith said. “They’re there to help. Help them to do what they do best.”
For more information on St. Jude House, visit them here.
12490 Marshall Street, IN 46307
Visit St. Jude House Partner Profile