What is your professional and personal background?
Certainly, my collegiate experience in both business and nonprofit studies opened my eyes to a world of possibilities in rewarding work and career pursuits. Even more, my personal life was greatly enriched by getting involved with other people in serving our community. I’ve enjoyed applying my skills and aspirations in both the for-profit and non-profit sectors but have always had a heart for community service. I have a particular passion for trying to improve the lives of children that may not have a voice of their own in a world where opportunities can be harder to access for some than others. I’ve been fortunate to lead and collaborate with teams that have generated impressive campaign results for Starlight Children’s Foundation, Big Brothers & Big Sisters, Easter Seals and the Arizona Department of Education.
How did you first become involved with the Swift Youth Foundation?
I’ve been aware of the great works of Swift Youth Foundation for quite a while but first learned of the dedicated summer camp programs serving at risk youth in our community. I grew up in a challenged childhood and wish I had the opportunity to partake in such terrific programs. However, I got a sense of the true transformation that can happen between mentors and campers during college when serving as a camp counselor for Girl Scouts for a couple summers. How much fun to immerse in the camp experience along with developing such meaningful relationships with campers and other counselors. I could see the girls grow in confidence right before my eyes along with social and life skills. These experiences inspired me to become a Girl Scout Leader and serve as a Big Sister for several years post-college. Some of our camp charades and pranks reminded me of SNL alum Bill Murray in his movie Meatballs…a classic film for any aspiring camp counselor or camper!
Why did you decide to join Swift Youth Foundation?
I really like that Swift Youth Foundation is building on the already impressive summer camp programming to make year-round out of school programs accessible to a growing number of children from socio-economically families. As the bridge between home and school, Swift Youth Foundation After School and Camp Swift summer programs are well positioned to influence families’ engagement in their child’s education and ultimately strengthen the family connection to each other. Academic and research scholars tell us that attending out of school programs can improve a student’s academic performance by creating a sense of belonging, improve social skills, make learning more fun, build confidence and self-esteem while providing a safe and supervised environment.
What is your favorite Swift program?
I can’t pick favorites, they’re all so great! I love that so many dedicated middle-school, high school, college students and alumni lend their time, talents and enthusiasm to volunteering in Swift programs that directly brighten the lives of less advantaged youth in our community. I’m truly touched to hear their stories and how much the giving experience has also given back to them. We’re so grateful to our teen, college and alumni mentors and parents for their commitment to Swift Youth Foundation programs in Arizona.
At Camp Swift, are you Team Grilled Cheese or Team Tomato Soup?
I choose both because they pair so well together in the end!