A Year in Review: Top 10 Blogs of 20190
This year was a big one for KzooConnect. After four years of promoting all that our wonderful city has to offer, Welsh & Associates gifted the blog to The Kalamazoo Promise (The Promise). In their first year at the helm, The Promise introduced some interesting topics such as The Promise Team Spotlight series and features on former Promise Scholars. So, as 2019 comes to an end, let’s look back at which posts were most popular among readers!
What better way to start our list than with a Promise Team Spotlight on The Promise’s resident number cruncher? Whether she is processing invoices or updating databases, Janell Smith provides valuable support as an associate administrator. Smith’s familiarity with the community has allowed her to act as a helpful resource for families with questions about The Promise.
For entrepreneur and Vicksburg native, Chris Moore, there’s no place like home. In fact, it was his hometown pride that influenced him to purchase the town’s former paper mill with the intent of transforming it into a bustling business hub. With The Mill slated for a 2021 grand opening, we are excited to see Moore’s vision come to life!
Oftentimes, the journey can be just as valuable as the destination itself. In the case of Promise Scholar Erin Keller, that sentiment certainly holds true. Currently an academic advisor at Florida State University, Keller draws from her collegiate experiences to guide the students she works with.
January 2019 saw the end of an era as Welsh & Associates gifted KzooConnect to The Promise. Since the platform’s inception, Sheri Welsh’s goal was to make sure that KzooConnect attracted talent to Kalamazoo. We appreciate all that she has done to put KzooConnect in the position that it is currently in and look forward to the future!
Providing the adults of tomorrow with the tools to make healthy and safe decisions is crucial to a community’s success. That is exactly what Reverend Morris Brooks has done as the Youth Director at Mt. Zion Baptist Church, a mentor in the Kalamazoo Public Schools (KPS), and a father. His story encourages others to use the struggles they face as motivation to help others.
Since 2013, Von Washington Jr. has served as The Promise’s Executive Director of Community Relations. In this role, he facilitates media relations and cultivates relationships with stakeholders to ensure the growth of education throughout the community. For Washington, the best part about his job is making sure everyone has access to a great education!
With The Promise coming up on its 15th year of existence, we are seeing more Promise Scholars returning to Kalamazoo for their careers. Garrett Robinson, Ni’esha Wright, Tinashe Chaponda, and Fritz Klug are perfect examples of this homecoming. Each of these young professionals have taken what they learned while in school and have applied it to our community!
When The Promise was established in 2005, a pledge was made to ensure that Kalamazoo students who had been enrolled in all four years of high school would receive college tuition. Last January, we caught up with three KPS seniors and asked them how The Promise impacted them and what they planned to pursue after high school. Needless to say, Leasia Posey, Sean Salamun, and Jack Uekert are all thankful for the gifts they have been afforded.
For the number two spot, we have an entry in our MOM Series. In addition to raising two children, Britney Morales holds roles as an internal investigator for the State of Michigan, an aide provider at Kalamazoo Covenant Academy, and a part-time professor of social work at Western Michigan University. Nobody said being a mom was easy, but Morales has found a happy balance between her roles as a parent and professional.
Rounding out our top ten list of blog posts is a blast from the past! In October 2017, country songwriter and Kalamazoo native Ryan Hurd performed at the Kalamazoo State Theatre along with his wife, Maren Morris. The sold-out performance was a part of the first leg of Hurd’s Hero Tour and came on the heels of his self-titled EP.