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Compassionate careers: How you can impact those living in vulnerable circumstances

Whether you're thinking about enrolling in college or deciding what major to select, you know that a major decision is in front of you. If you have a desire to help people in need, certain career choices can lead you to such opportunities.

Social Justice

Social justice is broad in its implications. For example, you might pursue a path where you act as an advocate for schools that are facing socioeconomic issues. You could work to provide food and water to individuals living in shelters, or you could work to assist the homeless population in finding a place to live and procuring jobs. The need for this type of help is high. Rutgers University notes that "Nearly 1.5 million Americans annually will experience homelessness for at least one night."

Criminal Justice

Dedicating your life to the police force is a brave pursuit, and it provides you with the opportunity to help people living in vulnerable situations, particularly dangerous ones. You might work as a police officer in an area that is plagued with crime and drugs to help make the community safer. You may respond to calls where you are able to protect someone from violence or even death in a domestic pursuit or a public fight.


When you think of a nursing job, you may envision yourself working in an office or a hospital. At these places, you could serve populations with serious diseases. Also, as you transition from your BSN to MSN, you may decide that you want to work in area stricken with poverty that is in desperate need of reduced-price or complimentary health care services. You may also want to assist families who have children with cancer or single parents who are seriously struggling with finances.


The decision to work in the field of counseling means that you can work one-on-one with individuals who are dealing with abuse, addiction, job loss, anxiety, depression or other serious situations. You might decide to work as a counselor at your own private practice, or you may pursue a job in a school where you can guide at-risk youths into making decisions that can better their lives. Studying counseling could lead you to a variety of careers, such as a social worker, psychologist or a psychiatrist.

The desire to work with people who are living in vulnerable conditions is noble. When you know that this path is the one that you want to take, you have multiple career options to choose from.

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Kara Masterson is a freelance writer from West Jordan, Utah. She graduated from the University of Utah and enjoys writing and spending time with her dog, Max. Kara is the youngest of four. She has two hilarious brothers and one beautiful sister. She also is the aunt of 5 crazy little girls that she loves more than anything!! Kara is not yet able to be a mom, but she loves being around kids and being like a second mom to her nieces. She dreams of the day that she can start her own little family.

Stories by Kara Masterson