From a young age, I always knew I wanted to work within the nonprofit world and never changed my mind during my college years. I wanted so badly to help people and work in a job where I felt like I was making a difference. Fast forward to May of 2014─ I graduated from Texas A&M University-Texarkana with my bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication. Throughout the last couple of semesters of college, my favorite Mass Comm professor was strongly advocating to get TAMUT to offer a master’s program in Communications. Long story short, right before I graduated, we were told we could officially sign up to begin the master’s program in the fall. Everything was not 100% finalized on TAMUT’s part, but they let a group of us start the program knowing that it would most likely all be finalized sometime during our first semester. Well, life doesn’t always workout like you hope. Close to the end of the fall semester our professor arrived a tour night class crying and had to break the news to us that the ball was dropped and the Communications program was no longer going to be finalized. We would all have to either transfer to another university that offered that degree or stay at TAMUT and choose a different program to start in January. After much thought, I decided to switch to a master’s degree in Business Administration, because it was honestly the only degree that was even slightly related to Communications. Oh man, was I in a run for my money! Let me just say that I.DO.NOT.DO.MATH. I HATE it! Props to all my fellow people that love it, teach it, or work in a field related to math, but it is not my cup of tea. Little did I know that the entire first year of classes was math related. I was miserable, to be honest, and all the classes were online, so I was basically trying to teach the subject that I despise to myself.
After my first semester was completed in May of 2015, a lot changed in my life. I moved out of the dorm for good, moved in with one of my best friends from college and left my job as a Resident Assistant and a Graduate Teaching Assistant for Speech. My Air Force boyfriend (now hubby) left for his deployment to South Korea for 2 years that ended up turning into 2.5 years, so I got the cutest puppy to be my emotional support animal while he was gone (she is still my dog-child to this day). Lastly, I started my first big-girl job at the Texarkana Chamber of Commerce as the Events and Marketing Coordinator.
After 3.5 years of working at the Chamber of Commerce, I wasn’t being fulfilled anymore and felt like I needed to start a new path with new adventures. After much thought and prayer and realizing I was double insured, I ended up leaving my job without another job lined up. Never in my life did I think I would do that! It’s so funny how God works sometimes.
After Christmas, I began my job search, and I ran across a job posting on Facebook one day for a newer, local nonprofit−For the Sake of One. I had met Angela, the Director, previously at a nonprofit council meeting that I facilitated while I worked at the Chamber of Commerce. I started following For the Sake of One on Facebook after I met her, so that is how I saw the job posting. She was hiring the very first employee for a part-time position as an Office Manager/Volunteer Coordinator. I was very interested in the mission of her nonprofit. Helping families and the entire foster care community sounded so fulfilling. I pulled up the application to fill out on my computer and stared at it. I needed a full-time job, so I was not sure I wanted to apply since it was only apart-time job. My mom kept telling me that a part-time job was better than no job and I know my husband was thinking the same thing. About 2 weeks went by and I had applied for a full-time job at a company in Texarkana, but the job opening at For the Sake of One was still in the back of my mind.
At the last minute, I messaged Angela on Facebook to ask if I could still fill the application out and she said, “Yes”, so I did. I ended up having an interview at both jobs I applied for on the same exact day. On that very day, my precious dog-child decided to throw up all over my house right before I had to leave for BOTH interviews. This is not a joke. I interviewed at For the Sake of One that morning. I left feeling great and was extremely interested in the job. I felt peace about the fact that it was only part-time because the organization’s mission was amazing and touched my heart. Maybe God led me here for a reason. I had my other interview that afternoon and realized it was not a job I was interested in. I was driving home from that interview when Angela called me. She had a couple of more questions for me and then, shortly after our conversation, she called me again once I was home and offered me the job. I was beyond excited and overjoyed with the peace I felt. I knew that God put all of this in place for a reason and somehow leaving a full-time, decent-salaried job with benefits to take a part-time hourly position with no benefits was all meant to be.
My first official day working at FSO was February 4, 2019. Today as I am writing this, I am smiling at God because it is no coincidence that exactly 3 years later my blog is due on February 4th. In the past 3 years, I have seen this organization grow in leaps and bounds. It honestly blows my mind! I went from apart-time hourly Office Manager to a full-time salaried Assistant Director. Angela is not only my boss, but she is also a friend, a mentor, and a big sister. We have endured the crazy COVID times and had to adjust a lot of our programs to be “COVID-friendly”. We have gone from offering a handful of programs and services to having to take a break from adding additional programs and take time to perfect the ones we currently offer because we are growing so fast. Our donor base and church partners have grown exponentially! In March of 2021, we were able to hire an additional full-time employee for our new Building Healthy Families program who has become the long-lost bestie I never knew I needed. She fits right into our small FSO family perfectly.
I never knew how much my heart and mind would be opened while working here. I went from thinking in the past, “Those poor children are better off not being with their parents. How could they mess up and do that to their kids?!” to now understanding that “those poor children” do not understand and still love THEIR parents and want to be with them. Not all situations are the same where parents neglect their kids out of pure evil. Now my thoughts go to, “Why is no one reaching out to these parents and helping them get back on their feet and helping them overcome their addiction or poverty?” and “Where is the Church? Isn’t the Church called to help the underprivileged and those struggling and hurting?”. People need help, y’all.
They need love, grace, and forgiveness, just like God gives us.
Hurt people hurt people and I have never seen that phrase more truly than now after working at For the Sake of One.
I have learned so much about what all the foster families go through and the difficult behaviors they learn to work through with their foster children who come from hard places. I have learned about trauma and how it affects everyone─ how in utero trauma can affect a person throughout their entire life. I look at people differently now; I am not so quick to judge, because I do not know everyone’s story and what they have been through or what they are currently working through. You can choose to be the light or the darkness in someone’s day and I hope we can all strive to be the light.
When people ask me how I quit my job without knowing what would happen next, I tell them I did because I had a strange peace about it ─ an unexplainable peace. If you find yourself not having your cup filled or feeling like you just need more, pray about it and trust God if He gives you that unexplainable peace. You never know; He maybe leading you to right where you are meant to be.