Lakeland College graduate Grace Vos holds the difficult job of trying to help heal the most broken hearts.
It’s emotionally taxing work. But it is also satisfying and important, and that sustains Vos in her role as a care advocate specialist for Homme Home, a Lutheran Social Services facility in Wittenberg, Wis.
“It’s very heavy,” she says of her job, which involves working with eight girls between the ages of 13 and 17. “These girls have been court-ordered to be here because of drug and alcohol addiction, sex traffic abuse or sex offenses. Honestly, they are rare to share. They don’t trust people, and sometimes they put up walls. What I do is provide an example of self-respect and self-worth. I actually had a resident tell me it was frustrating and uncomfortable for her to be treated well.”
Vos, who graduated from Lakeland this past December with her bachelor’s degree in psychology, has been accepted into Adler University’s doctoral program. She said she plans to attend the Chicago school, but won’t make a final decision until late summer because of how much she values the work she’s currently doing.
“I’m in a role where I can make positive change, and that inspires me,” she says. “I like it when things are placed on my heart, even heavy things. Whatever it is, I’m happy when something touches my heart. And this certainly does.”
Vos transferred to Lakeland in 2014 from a school in California, and immediately felt at home. Her roommates, she recalls, took her in immediately and made her a part of the group. Happy and comfortable, she became a leader, serving as vice president and president of Lakeland’s Spiritual Life Council and working as an RA.
Academically, she switched from business to psychology, because “that was the major I could be my true self in.”
“Every single psychology professor contributed to my growth,” she says. “They opened doors for me, pushed me, challenged me. I want to thank all of the professors, friends and Lakeland people who were so welcoming.”
When Vos was in middle school, a member of her immediate family passed away. As devastating as that was, it shaped her future and enhanced her ability to understand and channel the deepest emotions.
“I’m certainly able to feel sadness alongside people in a very genuine way,” she says. “If someone needs me to cry with them, I will cry with them.”
When Vos glances at the future, she sees herself with a doctoral degree, speaking two or three languages and possibly living abroad. But for now, she lives in the moment, helping bring hope to broken souls.
“I encourage people to be more sensitive to the world around them,” she says. “It’s so easy to worry about ourselves, our money, all of those things. But let’s all branch out. Let’s all be more sensitive toward each other.”