Written By: Linden Miller
“Know who you are. Just to know who you are,” says Charity Butler, “will help you stay rooted. You won’t get easily swayed left or right.”
To Charity, this is more than just advice to share with other students, it is what has guided her to stand strong in her beliefs throughout college. Now a graduating senior majoring in human development and family research, she’ll be the last of four in her family to attend Kent State.
With her sisters launching their event planning business, her brother running a math program in Detroit Public Schools and her parents as travel agents and entrepreneurs; Charity’s family holds themselves to the foundations of what they refer to as “Butlerville.”
“Each of the Butlers has our own pillar. Our pillar stands for everything we do as our career and the gifts Christ instilled in us. There are things that we are passionate about in order to create a legacy for the family and create generational wealth at the end of the day.”
During the course of her academic career, Charity overcame her speech impediment that she had since elementary school. A speech impediment that may normally deter others from voicing their opinions or thoughts only encouraged Charity to be more vocal.
“The only way I had to get over it is to just jump and do it anyway, to speak anyway,” Charity said. “It’s hard but it also motivates me at the same time.”
In the future, Charity hopes to advocate against human trafficking. The reason she chose to study human development and family research was due to her love of helping others and a strong belief that working with children is one of the most effective ways to change the world.
“My name is Charity, which means love,” she said. “My whole life I wanted to help people. Everyone wants to change the world. Well, you’ve got to start with the kids. They’re going to be the ones running the world tomorrow.”
As a first-year student, Charity was admitted to the Academic Students Achieving and Reaching for Success (S.T.A.R.S.) program for newly admitted African-American, Latinx American, Hispanic, Native-American and Multiracial first years. The six-week long program provided her with valuable relationships and a sense of belonging.
“It really immersed us in our [African-American] culture,” Charity said. “We were all with each other for six weeks in the dorms, and we took it very seriously. We came into S.T.A.R.S. as girls and boys, but we left as men and women.”
Outside of S.T.A.R.S., Charity is also a McNair Scholar and participated in the McNair Scholars summer institute to learn more about successful research tactics.
“In preparation for grad school, I knew I had to get a little more comfortable with research,” Charity said. “McNair helped me prepare more research, have experience with research, and add that to my resume.”
In August, Charity will begin her first semester in Ohio State University’s Master of Social Work program. She credited many people with assisting her throughout her time at Kent State but Alicia Robinson, assistant director of the women’s center, stands out in particular.
“She is the only person in my life who I’ve ever asked to be my mentor,” Charity said. “She said yes, and she is who I want to be when I grow up. She’s so influential. She inspires me. She really challenges me, and I definitely am very thankful for her.”
As the president of the Gamma Epsilon chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc., Charity has enhanced her core values to pursue community service and leave a legacy at Kent through leadership and initiative. She thanks her sorority family for standing with her through her growth and development.
Charity plans to use the lessons she’s learned at Kent State to hold herself to a higher standard. In the meantime, there’s no doubt that you can find her living up to one of her favorite scriptures from 1 Corinthians 13:13: “Abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
“Love will carry you everyday of your life, but it starts with the origin of love Himself,” Charity said.