Carryl Tinsley, Furman University Student

Carryl Tinsley '16

Hometown: Wilmington, North Carolina

Major: Communication Studies and Religion

At first glance, it’s easy to conclude that college didn’t change Carryl Tinsley much at all. She left the same devout Christian she was when she arrived, and her efforts to help the homeless remain as determined as they were when she started a non-profit in high school called “Clothed In Love.”

Make no mistake, though: Thanks to Furman’s Exploration of Vocation and Ministry (EVM) program and a chance decision to take an Advocacy class that has set her career path toward nonprofit communications, a different person moved to the capital of North Carolina after graduation to be a Raleigh Fellow with the Raleigh Fellows Program.

“In high school I was never really challenged as far as my faith went. I felt like everything was easy, and everybody just seemed to be like me,” Tinsley said. “EVM was a place where my faith was challenged the most, because it’s a room full of people who believe very differently on a lot of big issues. It’s been tough to learn how to have those conversations and also love those people.”

EVM also opened the door to an internship at Triune Mercy Center in Greenville, where her lifelong assumptions about how to help the homeless were rattled to the core. Giving stuff wasn’t the answer, but giving of self could be.

“At Triune they felt like they were starting to enable the homeless to stay in their situation longer and just be comfortable there rather than actually getting them out of homelessness. I started to see that as an issue, and I never had before,” Tinsley said. “I remember Triune Pastor Deb Richardson-Moore saying that the biggest complaint of people living in homelessness is not being cold or being hungry or not having clothes but being looked through. That was really, really powerful for me.”