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Board Member Spotlight - Steve Backers, Chair

1. How long have you been participating with Hands4Hope?

I joined the board in July 2017 and that was my first involvement with H4H.

2. How did you hear about Hands4Hope?

I worked with Jen's husband Mike, and with the previous board chair, Doug and primarily heard through them what the organization was doing. Then at some point, Doug approached me about joining the board because he thought I had the right mix of skills, experience, and motivation to help the organization.

3. We know you could dedicate your time to many other boards/non profits in the community. What is your position on our Board and why did you choose Hands4Hope?

I'm the board chair and that's how I started - there's nothing like, jumping right in! I chose Hands4Hope for a few reasons - honestly the first is quite simply that I was asked. The second reason is that I believe we all have a commitment to re-investing some of our time, talent, and treasure back into the community. Third, I have seen first hand how working with young people while they are at the critical ages of middle and high school students, can literally change the trajectory of their life for the better. I've see young people who said they didn't feel they belonged with the "athletes" or the "popular kids" or any other group for that matter, come to Hands4Hope and not only feel they belonged, but found self-confidence, discovered new skills, and more importantly discovered the joy that comes from helping others. For some, they discovered that they really mattered and could make a difference in a stranger's life - whether they wrote a letter to a veteran who was deployed, talked to a person experiencing homelessness who felt invisible, shared a meal with a senior who just wanted someone to talk to, or played a game with a foster child who just wanted someone to play with.

4. What is your impression/experience with Hands4Hope youth?

I've had the opportunity to work with youth at various community outreach events, on committees, with the Youth Board members who take part in our board meetings, and at other events and I can tell you it is not only fun and entertaining, but for me, it inspires hope at a time when our nation and the world seem more and more divided every day. It doesn't matter what school they go to, where they live, what their family situation is - what matters is they are all there to serve. In some ways, many of these young people could be role models for some of us adults.

5. Overall, what has your experience been like since being involved with Hands4Hope?

Simply put, I love it! I've learned, I've given, I've laughed, and honestly maybe even shed a tear as I've heard the stories from some of our youth about challenges they have faced in life already, and how Hands4Hope made them stronger. As adults, we all have certain experiences that we have learned from whether it was formal education, work experience, life experience, mentors, etc, and we all have things we probably wish we could go back in time and do differently. Since we can't turn back time, maybe we should use that experience to help young people.

6. Anything else you'd like to share?

I encourage anybody reading this to get involved, either as an adult volunteer, an individual donor, a company sponsor, or a parent who talks to their child about joining a club or going on an outreach event. Get involved, get a sense of belonging, and feel the joy that comes from giving back.

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