October 7, 2016

Pro-Life Youth Award winner Camille Woods ‘has a heart of service’

Roncalli High School sophomore Camille Woods, right, smiles as she stands with Deacon Michael Braun, left, Secretariat for Pastoral Ministries director; Msgr. William F. Stumpf, archdiocesan vicar general; and Rebecca Niemerg, director of the Office of Pro-Life and Family Life. Woods received the Our Lady of Guadalupe Respect Life Award at the end of the Respect Life Sunday Mass at SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis on Oct. 2. (Photo by Natalie Hoefer)

Roncalli High School sophomore Camille Woods, right, smiles as she stands with Deacon Michael Braun, left, Secretariat for Pastoral Ministries director; Msgr. William F. Stumpf, archdiocesan vicar general; and Rebecca Niemerg, director of the Office of Pro-Life and Family Life. Woods received the Our Lady of Guadalupe Respect Life Award at the end of the Respect Life Sunday Mass at SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis on Oct. 2. (Photo by Natalie Hoefer)

By Natalie Hoefer

She may be only 16, but Roncalli High School sophomore Camille Woods knows a call when she senses one.

“I’m called to help people in need,” says this year’s winner of the 2016 Our Lady of Guadalupe Pro-Life Youth Award from the archdiocesan Office of Pro-Life and Family Life. She received the award during the Respect Life Sunday Mass at SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis on Oct. 2.

She likes that “sense of helping someone in a rough time, and they need someone to help be there for them.”

Camille’s involvement in pro-life ministry began during eighth grade at St. Joseph School in Shelbyville, when she participated in the national March for Life in Washington.

During her freshman year at the Indianapolis South Deanery secondary school, she decided to join the Roncalli Pro-Life Club.

“I knew a couple of people who had joined,” she says. “They loved it and said it was fun. I thought I might as well join a club that’s for service but fun, where I can meet new people.”

Since then, she has become one of the club’s “core members,” those who help plan and attend most of the events.

“Camille has demonstrated strong initiative and leadership qualities in promoting pro-life work,” notes the club’s faculty moderator, Caroline Reuter, on her nomination form.

“Camille is dependable and spirited. She came to nearly every event last year, including volunteering numerous afternoons at St. Elizabeth/Coleman [Pregnancy and Adoption Services], participating in archdiocesan-wide pro-life events and promoting the club to her peers.”

Camille, the youngest of Stephen and Stephanie Woods’ three children, particularly enjoys volunteering at St. Elizabeth, where she helps fold baby clothes, organizes items on shelves, and creates packages of needed items for expectant mothers.

“I love children,” she says. “But I like helping the mothers, too. It’s a good opportunity for you to help people in the community, supporting them behind the scenes.”

But the Pro-Life Club at Roncalli is not Camille’s only involvement with promoting life. She also leads the baby bottle fundraising effort at her parish, St. Joseph in Shelbyville, and is a chair member for serving Salvation Army dinners.

“Camille has a heart of service and is always asking what more can be done to use her gifts in helping the community,” Reuter writes. “While volunteering, she serves as a model for the other students in her strong work ethic and her enthusiasm for our work, whether that be sorting donations or preparing layettes for mothers in need.”

Camille appreciated that Reuter and Jeff Traylor, Roncalli’s director of campus ministry, nominated her for the award. But learning that she won was a surprise.

“It’s so humbling,” she says. “You don’t think what you’re doing is so important. Out of our archdiocese, you don’t expect [winning this award] to happen to you.” †

 

Related story: Respect Life Sunday -- ‘Be positive’ in the respect for life battle, transform hearts, says Msgr. Stumpf

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