The Beginning of My Nonprofit Entrepreneurial Journey:

From Idea to Reality

Written by Marketing & Community Outreach Intern Justin Hayden

Most stories about an entrepreneur’s road to success usually start somewhere in the middle or near the end, when they have already overcome their greatest struggles. The story of my road to success is still very much at the beginning. Even though I have somewhat of an idea of where I want my business to go, I have yet to figure out where I am going.

Start-ups are not so easy to start up. Trying to find the time, the resources, and the motivation to bring this thought, this idea, to life and raise it from the ground up is a nerve-racking task. I started my internship here at greenCOW Coworking with the hopes of being able to pick the brains of numerous individuals who conduct their business here and learn how they started their journey to success.

Nearly a year ago, an idea was presented to me by one of my good friends that I and another comrade of ours should start a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing resources to Northwest Indiana youth who are within the foster care system.

Our mission is to provide courses on leadership as well as give youth first-hand experience with leadership and delegation. We will teach them the importance of strategic communication and how to utilize said communication to see that their voices are heard and understood. Our main goal is to show these individuals that they can take charge of their own lives and transition from resilient youth to resilient adults.

My co-founders and I are immensely passionate about starting this organization because the three of us have experienced the foster care system. We each have a different story, but our goal, however, is the same—to provide foster youth the resources they will need to become productive and successful human beings.

As of now, we are in the concept and research stage. We are still building our leadership team, and we have yet to construct our mission statement. We are members of the Indiana Youth Advisory Board, an organization of youth advocates representing over 22,000 foster youth throughout Indiana, and through that organization we have generated a substantial amount of support and potential sponsorship referrals.

My partner Rimeca Morris handles the business side. She is constantly researching everything we will need to become an official organization such as any certifications and qualifications that we may need in order to move forward as well as any restrictions or potential obstacles we may face in the future.

Our other partner Shania Mitchell studies the youth our nonprofit organization would be assisting, their behavior, and how to help them overcome past struggles. She believes that a child can heal from their past traumas and turn those traumas into life lessons so that they are better prepared for any negative experiences that they may face during difficult times.

My position revolves mostly around the public relations aspect of our business. I search for ways to increase our outreach in the Northwest Indiana community. I also develop strategic plans that allow us to stand out from other organizations. Together, we have made it our mission to show the public that the reality for foster children is much more than what the media portrays it to be.

For those who are considering creating a startup non-profit organization, there are three questions that I encourage you to ask yourself:

“Can I commit myself to the long and strenuous work that is to come from this?”

“Am I doing this because I actually want to make a difference or am I only in it for the rewards that may come from this?”

“Am I willing to fail in order to make a difference?”

If you find it difficult to answer these questions, then maybe now is not the time for you to start such a project. If you thought I was going to tell you that starting a nonprofit organization is not the profession for you, then you mistook my purpose of asking the questions I asked.

I will never, nor should anyone else ever, tell you not to pursue a goal that you have set for yourself. As long as your intentions are true and your morals are ethical, there is no reason that you should not go out and create something that may bring about an amazing change in this world.

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