I had the opportunity to sit down with our outgoing Young Professionals Board President, Stephanie Van Kampen. We talked about her time at JOURNEYS and her plans after moving back to her home state of Wisconsin. We've been so lucky to have Stephanie as part of our JOURNEYS community, and wish her the best of luck on her future endeavors. Thank you, Stephanie!
Take a look at what she had to say!
"I’m originally from Wisconsin, about an hour north. After graduation, I got a job in Chicago. I was completely new to the northwest suburbs, but I was looking for some sort of volunteering experience. I had done a lot of volunteering in the past in high school and college, and I knew I wanted to find a good cause in the community, so after a little Googling, I found JOURNEYS. They seemed like they were a really great organization, helping a lot of people in need, and it sounded like something I wanted to be a part of.
After going through JOURNEYS’ volunteer orientation, I was planning to be a PADS volunteer, but I found out that a Young Professionals Board existed, and I thought it would be a great opportunity to help out in addition to volunteering with PADS.
I really loved volunteering with PADS. I loved being out at the shelters, serving meals, and cleaning up. All of the people who helped to run those sites were very, very caring. Some people I met had been doing it for twenty or thirty years. Their dedication was astounding, and it was a great experience.
Seeing the community come out to support JOURNEYS was amazing. I would be handing out flyers at the local Jewel-Osco, and so many people would come by. They'd give us donations without us even asking for them. So many people would come up to us with some sort of connection to JOURNEYS. They would say, “I volunteered at a PADS shelter.” Someone even said their father had founded one of the PADS sites. So many thanked JOURNEYS for the great work they did. It’s amazing to see the impact they have on the community.
As the outgoing Young Professionals Board President, it’s been great to see the passion of our members. There have been so many times when something starts off as a small idea, like our virtual beer-tasting fundraiser, and there was so much enthusiasm behind it. It was so organized, well planned, and the team just really tackled it and did a great job. It’s been wonderful working with a group of people that has so much passion for helping at JOURNEYS. I would love to see YPB grow into a larger organization. The more the merrier.
I’ll continue to serve as past YPB president for the next year. I’ll be doing that in a virtual capacity since I’ll be a couple hours away. I have full confidence that the new [YPB] board will keep going strong. They’re incredibly hard workers and very passionate.
The homeless population definitely holds a special place in my heart, so after I move, I would not be surprised if I get involved with another local organization that provides services similar to JOURNEYS'."
-Transcribed and arranged by Roxanne Gentry, Marketing Associate