As Volunteer Coordinator at Wilson County Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), Lauren Houser Smith is responsible for recruiting and training the volunteers who aid local children during their times of need.
Prior to being appointed to her current position, Smith served as a volunteer, working cases.
"When I started volunteering to help children at CASA, I was under the impression my abilities alone would be enough to help a child and their family," she remembered. "I very quickly learned what the saying, 'It takes a village to raise a child' really meant."
During her time at CASA she has witnessed very tough cases where both families and children are struggling.
"The most rewarding part of my job is being able to do my job in Wilson County. Every day I am blown away with how strong our community is, and how the people in Wilson County have this ability to have compassion without judgement for their neighbor," Smith explained. "I am so blessed with the people who have been put in my path. These same people who understand how rewarding it is to be able to help someone you share your community with, who will never be able to pay back the favor."
Smith, born in Lexington, South Carolina, moved with her mother and step-father to Mt. Juliet in 1993.
"That same year my father moved to Spain, and from there on I spent six months in Mt. Juliet with my mother and six months in Spain with my father," she said. "I ended up making Wilson County home full-time after I was recruited to play tennis for Cumberland University in 2003."
During her time at Cumberland, Smith also met her future husband, Chris Smith.
The couple has been married nine years. They have two sons, Miles, 6, and Copelin, 15.
Smith joked that she currently doesn't have any hobbies outside of whatever son, Miles, wants to do that day. However, she is super competitive and enjoys the opportunity to "play any game or activity I can talk anyone into playing."
Smith has been inspired by many women in her life.
"The women I most admire today are the women I share an office with - Cathey Sweeney, Amy Harris, Diana Haines and Sarah Smith. These four women are very different from each other but manage to fill my heart, mind and soul every day. Diana is constantly pushing all of us in the office on personal self-growth and teaching us to be the best at whatever you start.
"Amy is my calm after the storm. Amy has this incredible ability to bring faith and peace to the ups and downs of life. She has taught me how to stay true to my morals and integrity through hardship," she said.
"Cathey Sweeney has the ability to brighten every room she walks in. I strive every day to make the same lifelong impact in others' lives the way Cathey makes a positive impact on everyone around her."
Finally, Smith said Sarah is her "partner in crime" who taught her that second chances are about hard work.
"If you work hard, it does bring rewards to your life," she said.
Staff Writer Sabrina Garrett may be contacted at email@example.com.