Carla NelsonRamsay High SchoolJefferson County Carla is the youngest of five and has served as family caregiver for both of her parents who have experienced severe health issues in the last few years. Even though she has devoted a substantial amount of time helping her disabled parents, she still serves others in need volunteering over 1,500 hours and actively participating in extracurricular activities at school while maintaining a 4.00 GPA. Carla is a member of the Ramsay High School band serving as Color Guard Captain. She is a member of the National Honor Society, Art Club and Thespian Society. She works with Community Church Without Walls partnering with First United Methodist Church and serves as a counselor and group healer for Urban Ministries. Through Urban Ministries Carla has volunteered for programs that introduce inner city families to programs to help combat the effects of poverty including financial assistance programs and even yoga. She has painted homes to improve the community and planted community gardens. After working on a house in Powderly, she was filled with pride at how her group’s work helped restore the beauty in the neighborhood that many felt was forgotten. “I walked away from each experience in the neighborhoods we served knowing that I was doing more than rehabbing old homes, we were restoring pride and belief in the residents’ ability to make a difference. This pride could be seen in the faces of the homeowner after each home was repaired. Their gratitude was priceless.” At home Carla began helping care for her father when he had a stroke. At age eleven, she had to help the man she once through invincible as she fed him through a feeding tube, cleaned it, monitored it and helped with his physical therapy. Near the time of her father’s stroke, her mother’s eyesight began to fade due to diabetes and her health rapidly declined. Carla was exposed to the pain and suffering of having to watch someone she loves suffer. This suffering fueled her passion to help those in need receive quality healthcare with an emphasis on endocrinology. Her long term goals are to actively participate on research and treatment of diabetes as well as to one day help establish a foundation that offers emotion and other support for non-paid caregivers of chronically ill relatives. Carla will begin her journey by becoming the first in her family to graduate high school and attend college this fall as she studies biology and healthcare related science at South Alabama.