KINSTON, N.C. (WNCT) — It’s been said the toughest tests are made for the toughest people.

Kinston might have one of the toughest. Carolyn Dawson is a strong, remarkable woman any community would be proud to have. Everywhere she goes, she leaves her knowledge and gives her heart to those who need it most.  

Carolyn spoke about one of the songs on an album she wrote, “The Lord gave me the words to that song. ‘I Survived the Storm.'”

Carolyn’s life is full of chapters. The hardest ones? She lost her husband and son to cancer in 2012.

“Four months between their passing … it was a little hard,” she said.

When people come out of hard chapters and pages some say they’re often led to great things.

“It’s mind-boggling,” she said. “I’ll sit back and think about what I’ve done, and to help people.”

It shaped Carolyn into the person she is today. She has an extensive resume. She was a former public-school employee who had a passion for teaching others. 

“I love kids,” she explained. “I could take a kid if they’d be attentive and, in a month, he’s reading. If you make learning fun, the kids will just like piranhas, that’s what I call them, I call them a little Piranhas because they eat up everything you give them.”

Carolyn uses her time, knowledge and lending an ear to all who need it.

‘They like for someone to care,” she said. “They’re reaching for that love and that understanding.”  

Her impact is felt all around Kinston. 

“As I began to talk and tell him about it, he began to take that red bandana off his head,” she said. “He took it off. He said here. I said you heard what I said? He gave it to me. I put it in the garbage. I said ‘So you had a change of mind.’ I said, ‘Don’t ever let anyone pursue you to go down the wrong road.”

Carolyn also helped bring the non-profit Renewing the Mind Community Outreach to light.

“Let their mind be renewed so that way they stay busy. They can’t involve themselves in anything that would bring harm to them,” she said.

She said all it takes is time, patience, and love. 

“I can find good in every individual. I don’t care who they are, what they’ve done. If they give me a minute … You have to find out where they are,” she said. “And see once you find out where they are, you can go from there … if you just tell him the truth and show them that love.  You won’t have any problem.”

Time, patience, and love are three key pieces to people renewing themselves just like Carolyn has.

“Let’s just grow together,” she said. “Let’s love each other and get along, and the world, if it rotates on love, it’ll be a better place. It’s a better place. If they will just renew their mind. That’s all.”