In the realm of inspirational stories, there are few that shine as brightly as Ceilie Reynolds’. At just 25 years old, this recent graduate of Brookdale Community College has already made a remarkable impact on her community and is being honored as one of the Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore’s 2023 Phenomenal Women Under 40. Ceilie’s journey from a near-fatal automobile accident to pursuing her dreams and helping others cope with trauma is a testament to her strength, resilience, hope, faith, and love.

Ceilie’s educational path took her through St. James Grammar School and Red Bank Catholic High School. At Red Bank Catholic, Ceilie excelled in golf and even led the team to victory in the state championships during her senior year. After a year of playing golf at Fairfield University, she decided to follow her passion for scuba diving.

Ceilie’s love for the underwater world led her to an island off the coast of Honduras, where she spent six months diligently working towards becoming a certified Master Scuba Dive Instructor. However, upon her return to the United States, fate dealt her a challenging hand. In a near-fatal car accident, she suffered serious injuries, including cranial issues, a collapsed lung, and multiple broken bones and facial injuries. This devastating accident not only interrupted her education but also dashed her dreams of becoming a scuba instructor.

Family at graduation.Throughout her journey of recovery and success, Ceilie acknowledges the unwavering support of her close-knit immediate and extended family. After her long recovery, Reynolds continued her academic journey at Brookdale Community College, where she walked across the stage in May 2023 to receive her associate degree. Her educational pursuits did not stop there; she is currently working towards a bachelor’s degree in political science with a focus on environmental science at Monmouth University.

Ceilie has been actively involved in various charitable organizations for as long as she can remember. She generously donates her time and talents to causes such as the Monmouth Park Charity Fund, The Beauty Foundation for Cancer Care, and Clean Ocean Action. In recent times, she has extended her philanthropic endeavors to include the Brain Injury Alliance of New Jersey, the American Heart Association, and The Human Library.

Participating as a “book” titled PTSD in the Human Library event at Brookdale, she discovered the experience to be therapeutic and has continued to volunteer as a “book” in other Human Library events. The Human Library is an international organization and movement that started in Denmark. It aims to address people’s prejudices by helping them to talk to those they would not normally meet. Ceilie’s story is one of strength and resilience, an embodiment of the human capacity to overcome adversity. Despite the physical and emotional challenges, she faces daily, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), she remains unwavering in her determination to heal, grow, and make the most of each day.

Ceilie’s life has a renewed sense of purpose. Her focus is now on aiding those who cannot help themselves, both physically and emotionally. She lives by the profound belief that it is not the incidents or events in life that define us but rather how we respond to them and, most importantly, how we rise from them. It is the actions we take next that truly shape our lives. Ceilie’s positive outlook, determination, and commitment to helping others are qualities that make her a truly phenomenal woman!

Register here to celebrate with Ceilie when she is recognized on Wednesday September 20, 2023, by the Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore.