ClassCast Podcast Episode 007 features Donna Fortier, the founder and CEO of Mobile Hope. Donna is engaging, intelligent, and inimitably compassionate -- her story of leaving a six-figure salary to start the only non-profit focused on youth homelessness and crisis care in Loudoun County, VA, one of the wealthiest places in the world but with a surprising youth homelessness problem, well, this story is not to be missed.
Ryan Tibbens, our host, has a personal introduction for this episode:
I've been teaching in Loudoun County for 14 years, and I first heard about Mobile Hope just last spring. One of my favorite former students let me know that his mother had kicked him out of his house -- for no real reason aside from her own substance abuse issues -- and that he would be moving back to [another state] to live with an old friend and be closer to his semi-estranged father. This young man was two months from graduation, worked over 40 hours per week after school and on weekends, had good grades, and was clearly the kind of person who should be attending college or starting his own business; yet at that moment, he was homeless. He didn't ask for help; he just told me he was leaving. I immediately began asking around the school and the community to see what we could do. One of the assistant principals at the school, Chad Runfola, suggested that I contact Mobile Hope. He said that he worked with them some times and that they could probably help. (I learned last week that Chad Runfola, in addition to being an excellent school administrator and a champion for both students and teachers, is actually a board member along with a handful of other people I've met throughout my career. Somehow, I still hadn't heard about Mobile Hope, though.)
Fast forward -- that student graduated and is doing fine, in part because members of his community were willing to help him. After I was named to the Loudoun 40 Under 40 this year, Donna Fortier sent me a small congratulatory note with a Mobile Hope business card inside. I'm sure she sends one to all the winners because she's smart. She knows that operations like Mobile Hope depend on wide-reaching and diverse supporters throughout the community. Donna has been named to the Loudoun 100 in 2019, and though she denies seeing it as a networking opportunity, all event attendees should make a point to speak with her and find out how to get involved. We ALL should speak with her and find out how to get involved. No matter who you are, no matter what you do, you can serve in your community, and Mobile Hope offers an incredible opportunity for you and for those in need. Check them out. And now, enjoy ClassCast Episode 007 with Donna Fortier!
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