Carol Giardina is a baby boomer who returned to school with three children. She earned a B.A. in International Affairs & Business and completed a graduate degree (M.Ed., Counseling) from Wichita State University. Her university careers have spanned thirty-five years and taken her around the world as an international recruiting officer at Wichita State University. She moved to Augusta Georgia in 1995 to accept a position as the Associate Director of Admissions at Augusta College.
Currently, she is the Director of Military & Veterans Services at Augusta University and AU at Ft. Gordon. Her professional affiliations include Phi Kappa Phi and the AUSA (Association of the University States Army) Augusta Chapter. With the Augusta University Faculty Club, she has traveled to the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Panama, Paris, Ireland and is joining the group for a trip to Barcelona, spring 2020. When she is not working at Augusta University, traveling or interning at the Ronald McDonald House, Carol enjoys Pilates, Yoga, gardening, reading and spending time with her family.
For several years, Carol has been taking Spanish classes for personal enrichment. One class led to another until she completed all the requirements for a degree except a final degree elective. When the university was unable to offer an upper-division Spanish night course during fall 2019, her advisor, Dr. Christopher Botero arranged an internship at the Ronald McDonald House of Augusta.
Carol was not a stranger to the Children’s Hospital of Georgia. In August 2003, her two-year-old grandson, Jake, was found floating face down in a relative’s backyard pool. He was comatose when he was conveyed to the hospital by ambulance. In an examination room, a doctor gave the family devastating news. Only one of ten drowning victims in Jake’s condition ever recover. For a week, parents and family members maintained a vigil around his crib. On the eighth day, he sat up in bed as if the accident had not occurred. In June, he graduated from North Augusta High School and currently attends the Technical Scholars Program at Aiken Technical College.
Jake’s family doesn’t know why he was spared while the other drowning victims never recover, but are eternally grateful that Jake survived his accident with minimal brain damage. No doubt without the expert intervention of staff at CHOG, Jake’s outcome would have been very different. Many of the guests at the Ronald McDonald House haven’t learned what the outcome for their child will be yet, but are hopeful that the treatments they seek at CHOG will help. Knowing that they have a hot shower, a clean bed and a warm meal gives them less to worry about and more time to spend with their child.
Carol heard of Ronald McDonald House, but she never imagined how many services the Ronald McDonald House provides or how many hands and hours are needed to complete the tasks. Without volunteers and interns, the house could not function as it does. As one of those interns, the people she’s met (children, parents, volunteers, managers, and staff) has given her joy. She also sees that joy in other volunteers who come together to prepare meals or do activities at RMHC Augusta. While Carol really enjoys taking Spanish, she has never experienced the type of satisfaction she receives in a classroom that her Ronald McDonald internship has provided—and on a few occasions guests needed to communicate in Spanish!