Jul. 18—For Lizzie Abshire, Aiken is the place she always considers home and a place she works to make better.
The 26-year-old Aiken native got involved as a young child volunteering within her church and at Area Churches Together Serving, or ACTS.
Abshire went on to graduate from USC Aiken with a degree in communications and photography. During college, she was a part of her college newspaper, the Pacer Times, and participated in several internships in the area with Savannah River Nuclear Solutions and United Way of Aiken. She also has led a youth ministry at Langley Baptist Church for six years.
Working at United Way of Aiken opened up her eyes to the community and led her to ACTS.
"That was where it really opened up my eyes to see all of these people that need help and need assistance," she said.
At ACTS, she works as the community relations and financial support coordinator. The Christian organization creates outreach opportunities to help those in need. The organization provides everything from clothes and food to medical and transportation assistance.
"We just started this cool initiative where we are translating everything from English to Spanish," Abshire said. "So I am working closely with one of our volunteers so we can make sure that we can communicate with our clients."
During the pandemic, many of the mission trips in the area were canceled. Abshire met with other church leaders to create opportunities at home to serve. Project VISION was a partner of Impact the Valley, a mission Abshire founded to serve the community by painting houses and building wheelchair ramps.
"I do it just because it's my passion and I like doing it, but then seeing the clients that need it and seeing how much it means to them, it is very fulfilling," Abshire said. "It's extremely humbling to see them light up or even cry."
Abshire looks up to her parents as inspiration and thanks them for showing her compassion throughout their volunteer work.
"I am lucky to have two parents where most people barely even have one," Abshire said. "My parents really inspired me and made sure that when we were young we got involved with the community that saw that we weren't just sitting around doing nothing, that we were involved and helped out."
While her future is bright, Abshire wants to stay connected to her roots at ACTS.
"In five years, I would like to be working closer with those in the community to see how we can definitely get the younger generation to tell them, 'Hey, don't leave Aiken. We need you. There is work that needs to be done here, but we need you to do it,'" Abshire said. "To be able to collaborate with others, (and) grow that younger generation because they are the future of tomorrow."
Abshire feels lucky to be amongst the other young professionals in Aiken.
"I would have never thought that I would be included in such an elite and inspiring group of people that is such an honor and privilege," Abshire said. "... It's inspiring to see everybody wanting the best for Aiken and trying to prepare a bigger and better future."