Meet Kristian: YMCA of Central Ohio’s Volunteer Program Coordinator, Kristian Tucker, supports shelter services at the YMCA’s Van Buren Center. Her work focuses on recruiting, placing, tracking and celebrating volunteers. In addition to volunteer management, she handles donations and coordinates events hosted at the Van Buren Center. She is a relationship builder creating a culture of philanthropy for shelter services. Hear from Kristian about the meaningful work she’s facilitating in the community.
How does your work impact the community?
My work, I believe, is a huge impact not only for those staying in shelter but also for outside volunteers. It makes a difference by bringing people together — meeting new people, learning new and old skills and challenging individuals to do something different by stepping out of their comfort zone. It also provides people with a healthy boost to self confidence, self-esteem, life satisfaction and a natural sense of accomplishment. It gives one a sense of pride and identity. Sometimes just having a conversation with someone can change one’s life.
How has the partnership with BESA supported your work?
BESA volunteers are always warm, welcoming and ready to work, learn and have fun. They make it possible to put on events, serve dinner and uplift — just by supporting through volunteerism. Also, they help spread the word about the mission of our organization.
What programs are the most meaningful for you at the Van Buren Center?
I believe all programs at the Van Buren Center are meaningful because they all come together and have a huge impact for individuals staying in shelter. We serve individuals through Case Management, Employment Support, Meal Service, Housing Assistance, Educational Linkage, Workshops, and Medical Services. All these programs help to connect, guide, and rebuild individuals in shelter or those experiencing some sort of trauma.
What does it mean to you as a leader to provide services and support to the population you serve?
To guide individuals in the right direction, letting them know they can do anything. Not to give in to negative situations, people, or thoughts. Also, they may fall or fail but the key is to get back up and keep trying each time. My goal in life is to give back, pay it forward, uplift, encourage and empower — and teach others to do the same.
Join Besa in celebrating Black History Month by volunteering in your community. Learn more here: https://impact.besa.org/explore?tag=34