When Brooke Limanen’s kids started getting older and there was more time for volunteering, she set out to find a place to make a mark. Her first stop turned out to be her last.
“I was hooked very quickly,” Brooke said, remembering her early days at HOPE 4 Youth. “I thought, ‘This is exactly what I need.’”
One big reason? Brooke could see herself in the young people who were visiting the HOPE 4 Youth Drop-In Center.
“I had rough high school years,” she explained. “I know I could have very easily been in their shoes.”
So Brooke rolled up her sleeves to make difference. Her first contribution was as a volunteer in the HOPE 4 Youth Donations Center, and then as a HOPE 4 Youth mentor. That’s when her connection to the young people and the organization deepened.
“One wrong turn and life could be awful for any one of the kids I met,” Brooke explained. “I didn’t want that for any of them.”
In 2016, Brooke joined the staff at HOPE Place, our transitional housing center in Coon Rapids. She worked the evening shift at the front desk. Brooke says it put her in the right place at the right time.
“I was working at night when the residents were home,” she explained. “We had regular conversations. I enjoyed listening and helping them work through their issues — like getting a GED or a driver’s license. I feel like I supported them on their paths to a better life.”
In 2017, Brooke’s path led to a program associate job at HOPE 4 Youth. In 2020, she was promoted to development associate. The new position is a chance for Brooke, a self-described “math nerd,” to dive into the data on the young people and the supporters who are coming together to help them.
“Now I have the best of both worlds,” Brooke said. “I still interact with youth, and I get to do the nerdy numbers stuff.”
Brooke says she loves crunching those numbers to find patterns in giving and to figure out what HOPE 4 Youth can do to inspire more of it.
“We need to connect with more donors who believe in our cause,” Brooke said. “My goal now is getting more people to be dedicated to the mission of helping these kids.”
You can help Brooke with her goal. Become a donor now.
|This story is part of a series profiling people who’ve come together to support HOPE 4 Youth’s mission to offer young people pathways out of homelessness. Read more profiles.|