32, Director of Development & Communication, Lighthouse Ministries
• Organized seven years of consecutive annual banquets for Lighthouse Ministries
• Showcased 40-plus students’ artwork at a hosted art gala, 2018
• Organized an annual affordable Christmas store for Lighthouse families
• Created harmonious indoor and outdoor spaces in a neglected section of Canton
• Spearheaded a new annual rappelling fundraiser
• Trained in the enneagram framework
• Advocate for southeast Canton
• Helped students become first-generation high school graduates and college students
• Foster mom
• Unofficial mama bear to hundreds of southeast Canton kids—providing snacks, rides and a listening ear
• First Mennonite Church youth group sponsor
• First Mennonite Church member
• Canton City Schools confidant
• Stark Soup past committee member
• Bachelor of Arts in Communication Arts, with a concentration in Public Relations, Malone University
What motivates or inspires you to better the community?
I live in the neighborhood where the Lighthouse is located, so for me, creating safe places for children to play, learn and grow is more than just “work.” This is my neighborhood. These children and families are my family. And it’s in this place that I have found Home. Any motivation to make the community better comes from seeing day in and day out how lives are being impacted at the Lighthouse, mine included.
What advice would you give the younger generation when it comes to advancing in their careers or strengthening Stark County?
Surround yourself with people you admire, people you trust and people who will nudge you to think differently and to dream bigger. Honestly, I hit the jackpot with having Darin Nissley (Executive Director) as a boss for eight years. He does all of those things and constantly helps to make me a better person by his leadership and vision.
What is your favorite thing about Stark County?
There is so much about Stark County to love. I’ve spent my whole life here. And as good as it is to see other states and to travel out of the country, there is something special about coming home to Stark County that I don’t think will ever be lost on me. The people, the seasons, the energy and the heart… it’s truly a wonderful place to live.
Nominated by: Elizabeth Hand
Nominator says: “Kelly is wholly committed to creating authentic relationships that showcase the worth and strength of children and families in southeast Canton.”