The following is excerpted from the Church News. To read the full article, CLICK HERE

When Meg Stringam Bjorklund was 13 years old, she had just changed schools and didn’t have many friends. She hid in the school bathroom at lunchtime or would call her mom crying. At home, she often stayed alone in her room.

“I wanted to quit school,” Bjorklund said. “I hit a low with depression and anxiety. I really shut down in social situations.”

Then her mother, Autumn Stringam, received a Church calling to be a JustServe specialist in Nampa, Idaho. — a website and app where community organizations and charitable groups post their volunteer needs — was relatively new in the area and needed help getting going.

Over the months, Stringam took Bjorkland with her to service projects large and small around the Treasure Valley area of Idaho.

“The last thing I wanted to do was go out and serve in my community with people I’d never met and interact in awkward situations,” remembered Bjorkland. But it became easier as she persevered.

Bjorklund — now almost 20 years old, newly married and living in the Nampa Idaho West Stake — said service brought her out of her depressed state and helped her see Heavenly Father’s love for her and all His children in many new ways.

She grew empathy as she served at homeless shelters or with those facing poverty. She sat down and listened to people talk about their own challenges.

“It made me realize that I’m not the only one who struggles. And I could help these people by giving them a hot meal and seeing a smile on their face,” she said.

For a while, Bjorklund was participating in service projects after school four days a week — keeping her too busy to worry about herself.

She painted walls, hefted tools, cooked meals, delivered sandwiches, hauled bricks, entertained children, poured juice, collected supplies and sang songs.

“Service changed my life,” she explained.

To read the full article, CLICK HERE