25 Under 35 Honorees Pay It Forward as Volunteers

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – For many 25 Under 35 nominees, both last year and years before, how they spend their after hours is just as important as the time they spend in the office.

The causes to which this year’s class dedicates time are as varied as the professional fields they’ve entered. Some work for animal charities or mentoring programs while others spend time as coaches or on political causes.

While the work in their careers helps the Mahoning Valley’s business and nonprofit communities, their volunteer efforts are helping to improve the region’s quality of life.

The honorees will be recognized Feb. 11 during a dinner event at Stambaugh Auditorium.

Here’s what some of this year’s honorees have to say about their favorite volunteer projects.

Mollie Hartup – Mentoring students is one of the most rewarding activities for me. Whether it is a casual conversation or a more structured encounter, I’m always happy to sit down with a young person and offer advice or simply listen. It’s always exciting to imagine with them a future full of endless possibilities!

John Rossi – Lecturing on the law to community groups is probably my most meaningful volunteer experience.

I have spoken to groups about oil and gas, probate law, domestic relations and startup businesses. People seem to appreciate [me] taking complex situations and reducing them to simple terms through the logic of law, especially when the discussion is free.

Kristen Olmi – No matter what charity or volunteer work I’m doing, as long as it’s making an impact on someone’s life it’s meaningful to me, whether as a board member of the YWCA that’s helping women find affordable housing, or volunteering my time at the Oak Hill Collaborative to get small businesses off the ground. If I know what I’m doing has a positive impact, I’m happy to be doing it.

Tiffany Sokol – I love working with kids in the community. It is such a blessing to watch them experience new things that I often take for granted, such as seeing a play or going to a baseball game for the first time. They remind me daily to be grateful for every opportunity I’ve been given and allow me to give back in a really fulfilling way.

David Redig – Through years of being involved I have personally grown in understanding the mission of Habitat for Humanity and becoming more involved. It is something special to spend a day or two building a house alongside the future homeowner. In the end, you get to see the work you did end with that family getting keys to a place they can now call home.

R.J. Thompson – I am a fairly healthy person despite having cystic fibrosis. CF is a disease that worsens over time and I feel an obligation to my family to stay healthy and to my fellow patients to do what I can to help find a cure. Be it fundraising, charity walks, providing my graphic design services pro bono to advertise fundraising events or, most importantly, participating in medical research that can be painful at times, I do it.

Kristen Taylor – The help I have given to the seniors over the past six years is something I am very proud of. Knowing that I have saved them tens of thousands of dollars and made their lives, while living on a fixed income, a little less stressful, is very gratifying. Having repeat clients and referrals from those I’ve helped and now trust me to help a family member or close friend is most rewarding.

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