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Laurie Strauss Baumer

Marrying her passion for volunteerism and being the creator of your own opportunity, Ele’s Place President and CEO Laurie Strauss Baumer shares how her organization uses relationships as pavers in the road to success. 

Dara Munson

After working in the juvenile justice field and the United Way, Dara Munson became President and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Detroit in 2007. Munson is passionate about the mentoring organization that opens doors for Detroit youth and helps them to achieve greatness.

Kari Pardoe

Kari Pardoe believes that children can accomplish whatever they want and that drive, direction, and leadership can start with service learning. As director of The LEAGUE Michigan, a program for service, service learning, and philanthropy education, Pardoe sees amazing results with youth, who though they have little themselves, find ways to give to back. 

Carlo Sweeney

In 2005 at the age of 32, Carlo Sweeney used his life savings to start the Downtown Boxing Gym with the aim of helping Detroit kids avoid the pitfalls that befell him as an inner city teen. The program combines the discipline of boxing with a strong focus on academics, community, and family bonds.

Penny Bailer

City Year Detroit’s Executive Director, Penny Bailer, is a 37-year resident of Detroit with a firm grasp on the vital need for education improvement in Detroit. With a zest that is rare and unmistakable, Bailer oversees the many mentoring, educational, and enrichment programs that City Year offers to the city’s underserved youth.

Kolmarge Harris

As someone who grew up on the streets of Chicago, Kolmarge Harris knows first hand the challenges urban kids face. After retiring from a 20-year career as a professional boxer, Harris started Lansing Spartans Youth Organization to combine his love for boxing with his desire to mentor at-risk youth in his community.

Marsialle D. Arbuckle

It’s rare for an agency founder and leader to have real-life familiarity with the problems facing vulnerable youth. But Marsialle Arbuckle grew up in the foster care system -- making him the most valuable asset to Detroit’s Center for Urban Youth and Family Development. His agency helps those transitioning from foster care secure safe places to live. 

Dick Bulkowski

Dick Bulkowski directs Steepletown Neighborhood Services in Grand Rapids with a great interest in the lives of the young clients served through GED and career programs. But unlike many nonprofit executives, Bulkowski brings real-life experience to the table having gone through a family crisis that he candidly shares with others to illustrate his vigorous resolve.

Deborah Buchholtz

With a passion for business and organizational operations, Deb Buchholtz brings effectiveness, efficiency, and results to Big Brothers Big Sisters, A Community of Caring. Buchholtz puts her unique approach to work improving the operations of the mentoring organization that serves five counties in southwest Michigan.

Carrie Wilson

Carrie Wilson, Council Director for Girls on the Run of Calhoun County, believes one person with one voice can influence the lives of young girls. Wilson says planting the seeds of confidence in vulnerable children does not always yield instant gratification but requires time and dedication to pay off.

Denise Fase

Denise Fase recognizes that we often instinctively look at the weaknesses in others. As Executive Director of the Grand Rapids Initiative for Leaders, Fase makes it her job to fight that impulse and view troubled urban teens as prospective leaders with unique gifts and skills to offer their community. 
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