Executive directors don't grow on trees. When Ms. Sarah, our founder and first executive director, decided to retire, the task of finding a new executive director seemed too large and overwhelming to accomplish. As you will read below, Lesley Doan was available at just the right time for this big and exciting job. Want to witness first hand someone's journey of growing to love this program? You're in luck! This read is one that will help you see just why we ALL can not resist being connected at Tiqvah.
How did you get started with Tiqvah?
I heard about Tiqvah through RiverTree Jackson Church and a good friend of mine, Julie Gonzalez. My family was in a Go Community with Julie’s family and we were invited to serve at Tiqvah. I heard more about Tiqvah in October 2016 when Julie approached me about the possibility of Executive Director position opening up. I was 8 months pregnant at the time with my 4th child and I had no idea what God was calling me to do. To me it didn’t appear to be the correct time but He opened doors and tore down my barriers. I then attended the Celebration of Hope shortly after my son was born and I had some tears sitting there, God was moving in my heart. My first volunteer experience was at the Christmas Family Dinner that following month. My whole family (3 older kids and husband) helped serve food to all the Tiqvah kids and families. We had a great experience and God continued to pull on my heartstrings. I then interviewed for the Executive Director position and in February of 2017 the Board hired me as the new ED.
What do you do now for Tiqvah?
My current role at Tiqvah is Executive Director. As the Executive Director I am responsible for overseeing the administration, programs and strategic plan of Tiqvah. My other duties include fundraising, marketing, community outreach, and collaborating with the Board of Directors.
What is your favorite part of the Tiqvah day and why?
Everything about Tiqvah excites me! I really enjoy spending time at Tiqvah. My favorite time is when a student wants to just sit and chat. I try to get into the classrooms and so helping with homework makes my "teacher heart” happy. I also love seeing kids interact and have fun in chapel and dinner time is the best! At dinner we hang out and talk about our days. Kids are so fun to just sit and talk with. There are often times when their stories break my heart but it allows me to personally pray for them. It’s clearly hard for me to narrow it down to just one thing. The better question for me is, what’s the favorite part of your Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday? My answer would be TIQVAH ;-)
What motivates you to keep going on tough days?
My motivation to be at Tiqvah is the kids! As the Executive Director there are times when I get frustrated and hear the word “no” too many times but I walk into Tiqvah during programing and I’m reminded why I do what I do…the kids! God uses the kids to show me that he has a plan and it’s our job at Tiqvah to be a light to these kids.
What is one thing you wish people knew about Tiqvah?
I wish that everyone knew that Tiqvah was more than an after school program or a babysitter. We are so much more!! We are a second family to most of our kids. We get to show them love, we get to share God with them, we get to be their safe place, we get to help them with their school work, we get to expose them to enrichment opportunities, we get to fill their bellies, we get to show them that they have meaning and that they can have hope for a brighter tomorrow.
What is one thing the kids would say if we asked them to tell us about you?
To be honest I wasn’t really sure so I asked a few girls who were taking a break/deescalating in my office today. They said that I’m kind, loving, funny and that I give them joy. Hey, I’ll take it! My number one goal is to show our Tiqvah kids God’s love through my actions and words. For them to say that I’m kind, loving and joyful makes me feel like God is truly using me.