Summer 2022 Intern: Gabrielle Despain
- Published In: Other News & Features
- Last Updated: Jun 14, 2022
Growing up, I believed God had a plan for me, though I never quite knew what it was. I spent a lot of time thinking I knew what the future held. I would become a veterinarian as I loved animals and wanted to help them all. However, once I enrolled in the pre-veterinary program at the University of Wyoming, I learned that being a veterinarian was not in the cards.
For starters, my science classes bored me to the point where I fell asleep in the middle of lectures. The lab work focused exclusively on plants and chemicals, not animals. I quickly realized I hated my major. I felt lost and confused, as I didn’t know what I wanted or what God wanted for me.
After speaking with my mom about my major and life, I turned to Him to figure out what was in store. I prayed and pondered and waited. It took some time, but eventually, I felt like everything began to click into place. I realized that being a veterinarian was not my destiny. Change is OK—and it was time for me to make some serious changes in my life.
My uncle suggested that I consider becoming a lawyer. At first, I hated the idea because I hated debating. Still, it stuck with me. I read about child advocacy online and suddenly, everything made sense. Through research on the Internet, I learned that being a lawyer was about helping those who could not help themselves. So I changed my major to history, began preparing for law school and was eventually accepted into the University of Wyoming Law School, where I will begin my second year in the fall.
During this time, I felt a strong desire to serve a mission for my church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. In 2017, I submitted my mission papers to the church headquarters in Salt Lake City and was assigned to the Northern California region, where for eighteen months, I lived in six different cities while I taught people about Jesus Christ and served them in any way I could. I cleaned houses and helped others to move. Life began to make sense during my mission. I saw the love that the Heavenly Father had for everyone, how much He wants to help them and that the help that is required comes through people like me.
On my mission, I worked with teenagers who were struggling with self-worth or their testimony of Jesus Christ. Parents turned to my companion, who also was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and me because they hoped we could help their children. We were practically peers, so the parents thought their children would be candid with us about the challenges they faced. As we taught them about Jesus Christ and how He could help them, the teens shared how they struggled to feel like they belonged and how they felt like nobody listened to them. They wanted someone to reach out and take an interest in their lives, but they believed that most adults saw them as a problem to hand over to somebody else.
This was something I continued to see when I returned home and became a residential care professional at Cathedral Home for Children, a treatment facility in Laramie. There, I work with 12- to 18-year-olds, who suffer from abuse and addiction, or come from broken families. All told me that they felt unheard and unseen—like they were nothing more than a burden to those around them. When I learned about the Wyoming Truth internship, I saw a chance to start helping others. The Wyoming Truth is committed to giving people a voice and I believe children and teenagers need help to be heard.
Through my internship, I am learning what I can do to help future generations to succeed and to help make the world a better place. Today’s youth will lead the world one day. I, for one, want to help them realize who they can become and what they can achieve—all because someone believed in them and extended a helping hand. Kids need someone on their side, and I hope to be, even when the rest of the world is against them.