A couple of months ago I talked about how I was nominated to be the Young Non Profit Professional of the Year. Well... I am a little late in reporting this, but the awards ceremony was on October 15. It was a fun event, with tons of young non profit professionals networking and mingling. My award was presented last... which meant I had the opportunity to hear about 30 other wonderful young professionals who are dedicating their career to making a difference in the lives of hundreds and thousands of people in our community. Sitting there listening to the awards, I was just overwhelmed with how blessed we are to have the ability to serve our country, county, city... and that Grand Rapids is such an amazing collaborative community. I love it. As I was listening to these bios of these other awesome young professionals I was thinking there was no way that I would be chosen to win. These other people had been in the field years longer than I had and seemed to have their hands in so many good things in Grand Rapids. When it came to present my award, I had pretty much come to the conclusion that I was not going to win... until they said my name. I was SHOCKED. I just feel so honored to be chosen for this award, because this is my first year working in a nonprofit and I have been working my tail off, but feel that I have so much yet to learn. So... I am honored to be considered the Young Nonprofit of the Year!! I am very excited, but when talking to the rest of the group - could not help but to recognize all of the amazing leaders we have in Grand Rapids. I truly think it is a fabulous place to live and I think that ACCESS is an amazing place to work. So - THANK YOU to those of you who believed that I had done enough to deserve this award. I just hope that it will bring recognition to an organization that is truly seeking to be Gods hands and feet to our community.
As part of the nomination and award process, I was asked to describe why I am passionate about my organization. I think it is only right for me to share that with you, because I do think that I work for a phenomenal organization with passionate and God-driven people.
Why are you passionate about your cause/organization?
The mission of ACCESS is to provide working solutions to hunger and poverty in Kent County. ACCESS truly lives out this mission it is a privilege to be a part of their team. I believe that the work that ACCESS does in Kent County truly makes our community a better place. The mission of ACCESS is unique and truly valuable in making change happen. Through our programs basic needs are met, people are fed, and lives are changed. I think that for many people it is easy to forget that there are people have severe needs in our community, but ACCESS focuses on making sure that a person’s most basic needs are met so that they can live a full life. ACCESS brings churches, organizations, and individuals together to meet the needs of those in Kent County in a profound way. ACCESS knows that with a strong network, it is possible to meet needs so that NO ONE goes hungry in Kent County. I truly believe this is possible! ACCESS does this by educating people on the realities of poverty and teaching them how to respond through our Poverty Education Initiative. I believe that the more people that collaborate in this initiative, the larger impact we can make in our community. I think that Grand Rapids has an outstanding level of passion and collaboration for this cause and I love that my job involves inviting people to take part in what we are doing. I am passionate about the work I do, because I know I am part of something that is greater than myself. ACCESS is a faith-based organization, and the ACCESS staff believe that our work is called for by God. I am partnered with an organization that sees need and finds ways to respond in faith. Nothing excites me more than introducing a new person to the mission of ACCESS and seeing their eyes light up as they see the role they can play through collaboration to make a difference. I believe that everyone has the ability to significantly influence the life of another. I am honored to have a role where I can help provide opportunities for people to change our community.