Blending Passions of Creativity and Social Justice

I was 19 when that second line appeared on my pregnancy test. I took multiple after that just to make sure I wasn’t seeing things. I still remember sitting across the table from my partner at Steak N’ Shake when I gave him the news. While the majority of my friends were enjoying college, I was starting a family. I became a mom before I was ready. I became a mom when most people would recommend seeking other options. I became a mom before I really understood what adulthood and responsibility look like. 

My priorities shifted from having fun, figuring out what I wanted to be when I “grew up,” and getting a college education to figuring out how I was going to be able to afford housing costs, food, child care, diapers, and other necessities that go along with raising a child. As a result, I buckled down and found a stable 9-5 job in the mortgage industry that afforded me the opportunity to take care of my family as well as grow professionally. I spent almost eight years with that company and to be honest I wasn’t happy most days—not because it was a bad place to work or because the people weren’t kind. I wasn’t happy because I felt like I wasn’t impacting change in my community and I was denying myself the chance to do work that I was actually passionate about.

Being a young mom and having to focus strictly on economic stability, I began forgetting what it felt like to just live and enjoy life. We only have one, right? A few years ago, I made the decision to start doing things that I love. Even if I could only spare a couple hours a week, I understood the value of finding myself and growing as a person. Some of those things included starting a podcast to chat with women in Michigan, participating in Lansing’s Citizens Academy to learn how the city actually operates and how I can get involved as a citizen who wants to facilitate change, joining the board of a local community center, and using my creativity as much as possible. 

When a Graphic Designer position became available at the League, I honestly brushed it off. I don’t have a college degree, I don’t have any formal training in graphic design—I just have passion and creativity. My friend encouraged me to apply and while I dragged my feet, I did some research and learned more about what the Michigan League for Public Policy actually does. 

I learned how they supported programs like Michigan Reconnect, which provides free tuition to earn an associate degree for people 25 and up. This program has inspired many, including myself, to start the journey to obtain a college degree. They also advocate for young adult parents and for affordable, high-quality child care in Michigan. These are some of the things that confirmed that the Michigan League for Public Policy was somewhere I wanted to be.

I couldn’t imagine a better opportunity for me to combine my desire to facilitate change within my community while also using my creativity. I’m so excited to create digital art and graphics, at the League, that communicate data in a way that is tangible and accessible to all Michigan residents. 


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