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Carter’s Brazilian roots inspires legacy of high school service


“I read a quote one time. It was, “When you need the most is when you give the most” and that stuck with me throughout my time [at Brophy],” said Nick Carter ’24. This quote defines who Carter is through his acts of service and subsequently his life as a whole. 

Being born in São Paulo, Brazil, Carter learned about different aspects of the world from a very young age. Things like the poverty rate were very prevalent in his day to day life due to the large population of homeless people. According to Carter, it was one of the biggest influences on him during his time there. 

“It’s a city of like 16 million people…and one thing that was really lacking that I, even as a nine year old kid, saw was this lack of dignity and compassion that people have for each other,” Carter said. 

He described how when driving through the city, one would have to roll the windows up in fear of someone living on the streets coming to the car. He said he saw very few cases of people actually doing something to help those in need. 

This lack of dignity within the streets of Brazil stuck with him during his move to Phoenix at the age of nine and is what he credits as the start of his journey into community service work . 

“There wasn’t too much government help for these people, so it instilled that pain of seeing someone in that condition. And so for me to come here to Brophy which gives so many opportunities to actually, you know, give back into service and stuff like that, that’s how I got involved with Saving Amy and Soles2Souls,” said Carter.  

Some may only know about the scale of the homeless population through the news or presentation with numbers, but Carter said he has been able to, “see what these people are really going through and not hold any reservations against it, you know, to see people as humans and not just data and stats. That’s what’s really impactful to me.”

The stats are that the Phoenix homeless population is around 9,000 according to Cronkite News and São Paulo’s homeless population is around 32,000 according to the Observatory of Public Sector Innovation. 

When asked about one experience that helped him make that distinction, he mentioned his time at Saving Amy doing work for the Ignatian Encounter credit and meeting a little boy named Josiah. 

“He allowed me to see that the situation that I was in and the complaints that I was having was nothing compared to the trauma that a 10 year old kid had gone through,” said Carter, “to experience the loss of his father and loss of his cousin, but still be eager to do his homework and go play basketball with me. It put me in a position where I was like, you know what, I need to be more appreciative of the things around me.” 

Instead of sitting around and lamenting about his struggles, Carter got involved in several immersion trips and volunteering opportunities throughout his time at Brophy. Going to Los Angeles twice, the Kino Border Initiative twice, the Dominican Republic, getting involved with Saving Amy and Soles2Souls, he has been able to “put a face to the numbers.”

Carter has become a leader in his community, working three jobs alongside all the service work he participates in and acting as the moderator of the Car Club. 

“I think the biggest step that took me to be a leader was going through a lot of mental and emotional pain to realize, in order to turn my life around, to be a leader, I have to grow from this pain I was experiencing and not just soak it in, wish that it was gone,” said Carter.

“I was friends with Austin [Graf] ’24 for a while. We played basketball together and it was kind of from that, you know, that my own depression and suicidal thoughts stemmed from,” said Carter. “But, I grew out of that when I started to appreciate life more. You know, when people around me started to appreciate me and tell me that, it led me to understand that I was loved.”

It was the understanding that emotions are temporary, the support from friends, family and faculty at Brophy and connection to service work that helped Carter deal with his depression and suicidal thoughts sophomore year. As well as helping him grow as a leader and individual as a whole. 

“Service has been one of the cornerstones, pillars of my time at Brophy. It’s what kind of took me out of that depression and stuff like that,” said Carter

Another cornerstone Carter mentioned is his connection to his faith and the spiritual growth he has gone through over the last year, recently getting confirmed within the Catholic Church and receiving communion for the first time. 

“I just did my first Communion confirmation and it took a lot for me to do that…to actually receive communion for the first time and be praised by the people around me and the church itself, to be welcomed to another new community…it’s been an amazing grace,” said Carter.

He sometimes thinks about his own struggles and how strengthening his faith has been an amazing thing for him and has helped him persevere through all his struggles saying he believes most people fall into depression because they feel physically lonely, not spiritually.

“When you delve into your actual spiritual life and you press forward on those feelings and you question them, and you fight them, that’s when you gain a relationship with God,” said Carter. “When you start to question these things, but at the same time, appreciate them and appreciate that questioning and this kind of grappling you have with your faith.”

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Renzo Moran
Renzo Moran, Editor-in-Chief
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