Where Are They Now: YAC Alumnus

 

 

                                         

           Karrie Miner    

 

Name: Karrie Miner

Year Graduated: 2007 high school, 2011 University

School: Gaylord High School, the George Washington University

 

What was your favorite part about YAC? What was most memorable?

I remember sitting around a table at Abbey Hamilton’s house – talking through how we would spend the YAC money- which organizations would receive grant funding. This is my most vivid YAC memory, I really enjoyed the grant selection process. It was nice to know that, as a young person, my opinion mattered when decided how funds would be allocated to different organizations or activities. It was interesting to compare different uses of dollars to see what would be the most effective or impactful for the community. That being said, it was always a hard choice, because there are so many good causes.

 

How did your time as a YAC member affect your perspective on your community?

I think my time in YAC allowed me to get a better perspective on how much time and energy go into planning community events, even of the smallest scale. It also showed me just how much activity there is in the community and how impactful a small gift or a couple of hours of volunteering can be. I think, especially as a high school or junior high student, it is so easy to get caught up in your day to day life at school and forget about the broader community- both the good and the bad. YAC was a reminder that the community is bigger than one person or one organization, it is a unit, and if you show up, you can make a difference.

 

What skills did YAC teach you that you apply to your current work life?

I currently work in Chicago as a Senior Associate at a non-profit called Upwardly Global, which is an organization that helps skilled immigrants and refugees find professional jobs. My current role is fundraising, and although I am not a part of grant writing at this time, I believe my exposure to the grants process, through YAC, really allowed me to fully understand the importance of effective and sustainable fundraising. Before working in fundraising, I also managed volunteer events for the organization. YAC taught me that showing up is the first and biggest step to making a difference and that followed me throughout my time planning volunteer events. When someone takes time out of their busy day to share knowledge or help an immigrant prepare for an interview, it has long-lasting effects, even if it feels like a small act of kindness. The ripple effects that come from that person landing a job that sustains their families and positively affects the overall economy is huge!

 

What are some important skills you learned from YAC?

YAC helped me think critically and to be more empathetic. It allows you to give money to an organization fighting mental health, but then you are keeping money from an organization that trains teachers to be more effective. You have to make tough decisions, but you also learn to weight the importance of different issues in the community.

 

Did YAC influence your college major choice/career path? If so, how?

While I don’t think YAC directly influenced my choice to go to the George Washington University or to study International Affairs, I believe the things I learned at YAC stuck with me throughout my time there and did affect my career path. I have always worked at smaller organizations and I think that is a credit to my time spent in the Gaylord community. I believe that you can make a large impact on a small scale and I like the challenge of a scrappy start-up, building something that can grow into something bigger than you or your life.

 

What advice would you give to a new YAC member?

Try to put yourself in other people’s shoes, through empathy and understanding you can make the world a better place – one small deed at a time. It is easy to get caught up in material things or to focus on big programs, but I think YAC taught me that small steps can have a larger impact. Also, it helps you find good people!

 

Katie Allen

Katie was a member of the first Youth Advisory Committee and shares how YAC has impacted her life.

Background

Year Graduated   2001

Education: Johannesburg-Lewiston

Northern Michigan University:  2005 Hospitality Management

Boston University:  2012 Master’s in Food & Wine Studies

Employer: Hilton International:  8 years; Current Title: Manager, Strategic Sourcing, Food & Beverage

 

What was your favorite part about YAC? What was most memorable?

Getting to know other youth from the various high schools in the county.  I was from the Johannesburg-Lewiston High School  and being involved with YAC let me see the community as a whole not as individual schools/towns.

How did your time as a YAC member affect your perspective on your community?

I was already an active member of the volunteer center – YAC reinforced how important it is to be involved in your community.

What skills did YAC teach you that you apply to your current work life?

To listen to others and their points of view. To think with both your head and your heart.

What are some important skills you learned from YAC?

The biggest skill that I learned was Grant Writing.

Current Volunteering

I’m co-chair for our McLean Community Committee and help to organize Hilton’s Global Week of Service for our corporate office.

What advice would you give to a new YAC member?

Find ways to connect to the causes you are most passionate about because it will be more meaningful and interesting.