As a company, we value community involvement, and we are proud to highlight the participation of our team members in their local communities. This quarter we’re featuring UI/UX Designer Michelle Kowalski.
For the past few years, Michelle has been an active board member for Village Project, an organization that provides nourishing meals and extended care to neighbors experiencing cancer.
Village Project has provided more than 20,000 meals for more than 200 families in suburbs on the west side of Cleveland. It is a multi-generational community program, and while the main offering is meals, they have expanded their services so that all of their volunteers can get involved. From younger kids working in the community garden and painting vases to send with meals, to older students and adults working in the kitchen and providing things like lawn work, there is a space for everyone to volunteer their time.
The main difference between Village Project and other meal services is that all meals are cooked by volunteer high school students.
“In my experience, the students get really involved with it, and a lot of them have gone on to study non-profit organizations in college or want to start their own similar project. It’s really interesting to see how the experience impacts them as well as the meal recipients,” Michelle said.
Now the Vice President of the Board of Directors of Village Project, Michelle first got involved in college when she did some volunteer design work for the organization. She started with a brochure project and helped develop the Village Project brand, but has since had a hand in a lot of their materials, including other brochures, business cards, and the website. She was asked to join the board so that she could have more oversight into the communications, design, and marketing efforts of the organization.
Village Project has two major fundraising events each year and everyone in the community is invited to participate. NOURISH is a fundraising evening and silent auction held each winter, and Project Pedal is a biking event in the summer. This year’s Project Pedal will take place on June 17, with routes for all ages, including special routes for the toddler and youth participants.
You can find out more about Project Pedal and register, sponsor, or donate to a team or rider here.
Between planning for those events, scheduling out the meal deliveries, and maintaining community outreach, the Village Project staff is busy, but Michelle says the effect their efforts have on those they are serving makes it all worth it.
“Past members have compared getting the meals to Christmas morning. Waiting for those meals to get delivered gives them something to look forward to and makes the recovery process just a little bit easier.”
If you are in the Cleveland area and are interested in getting involved with Village Project, you can learn more here.