"I always think you should give more than you get."
Those simple words sum up the philosophy of 19-year-old Lauren Oldham. The 2009 graduate of Bishop Carroll High School is a sophomore volleyball player at Mount Aloysius who seems to always give more than she gets, both on and off the court.
A standout for the Huskies, Oldham was a four-year starting setter at Bishop Carroll. She made a career out of giving the ball to her teammates, setting others up for success. Now she serves as a volunteer coach for the BC junior high team. She also works with head coach Joe Skura's varsity athletes during Sunday leagues as a player-coach, instructing from the court and leading by example.
"She truly has volleyball stamped on her heart," Skura said. "She's a role model to young ladies and all who follow her."
In many ways, she's a typical college student-athlete, juggling her demanding academic and sports schedules. But Lauren's passion for life and service leads her to help others far beyond the gym.
This past summer, she joined a group, including Mount Aloysius coach Brianna Baker, on a mission trip to Honduras.
Oldham provided activities for children there and helped with the construction of a playground for a local village. She also worked with a youth volleyball team there. Oldham left some of her athletic gear behind, including shoes, knee pads and spandex, as well as a piece of her heart, too.
"That trip was eye-opening," she said. "It makes you realize how fortunate you are to live in this country. Kids there didn't have a true family, so when we arrived they welcomed us like family, with open arms. It was an amazing experience."
Oldham keeps in touch with some of the people she met in Honduras, and she continues to help neighbors right in her own backyard, from working at a special needs camp to pitching in for Habitat for Humanity, Oldham is in-spired to serve anywhere she can.
Not surprisingly, her future career plans also involve helping others. The biology major plans to either go on to medical school after graduation or become a physician's assistant.
"There are so many things you can learn by working with and listening to someone else," she said. "It's just something I've always done."
She also hopes volleyball is always a part of her life, and her ongoing personal mission.
"I feel like athletes are people who have the opportunity to set a good example," she said. "With sports being so big in our generation, if an athlete can be selfless and give to others, especially as part of a team, that's special. It's a good trait to have."
Goodman Shaffer can be reached at Kellie-@BedfordCountyChamber.org.