On our mission to be a positive change in the lives of the youth in Leelanau County, we have encountered an incredible number of unique humans. From volunteers to students to donors, we have received support and encouragement at each step of our journey.
Many of the activities we have provided for the teens, the experiences we’ve put together, or the events we have thrown would not have been possible without the generous support of our donors. We are exceedingly grateful to those who have joined our cause by supporting us financially.
No matter the size of the gift, it makes a difference and changes a life. We could not have achieved these milestones without our donors, so thank you to every person who has been a part of the LIFT mission.
We want to show our appreciation to our generous partners by writing a ‘Donor Spotlight’ blog post. The first donor is Tina Greene-Bevington. She owns Bay Books in Downtown Suttons Bay and is a dear friend of the program. We asked her a few questions, and the answers brought tears to our eyes. Thank you, Tina.
Were you involved with youth programs when you were young?
Yes, I was. I was in the Girl Scouts from 1st grade to 9th grade and I loved it. I learned so much about the outdoors and the environment, as well as teamwork. I was also involved in a theater group as well as a church group.
Was there a mentor that stood out to you from your childhood?
When I was in second grade, I was very anxious about going home. My second grade teacher noticed this and started to teach me how to care for the many plants in the classroom. This she would do after school and it made me feel so 'seen' as an individual and valued. She was patient, kind and had high expectations, always teaching me more and more about plant care.
What would you say to them if you could talk to them now?
I would love to tell Mrs. Votaw that her act of kindness and the act of noticing me meant a great deal. She spoke to me as a person, not as to a small child. She taught me how to feel rewarded in a comfortable setting and how good that felt.
If you could describe your personal mission, what would it be?
This is a toughie but a really good question. I've always wanted to be able to look back on my life and have some great stories to tell so I knew I had to live my life mindfully in order to be able to do that. I'm not sure I was successful in always being careful---I've made some huge mistakes!--but I hope that I am being a good example of Christ's love, recognizing people's worth, seeing the 'real' them, meaning the words that I say, being a helper and being kind.
What makes you hopeful and happy?
Being outdoors and working with youth. I also love teaching and was happy that I could make this part of my career in life. It makes me hopeful to see the youth of today---the things they know, have to struggle with, how they problem solve, the interest in the environment and fairness for all.
What would you like to pass on to future generations?
How important it is to be safe and what that might look like for them as well as being in the moment, rather than grasping at the next 10 things they have to do. Remember that making mistakes and having bad experiences don't define you. They are opportunities to learn and make your own decisions. Also, learn languages and read books! Communication is so important.
How would you describe LIFT to people who ask?
A safe place where you can be who you are, learn new things, feel supported when everything around you might be falling apart, a HUGE blanket of comfort for teens---no judgment. LIFT provides opportunities that might not always be available to some teens, and this is valuable. Opportunities can lead to a deeper understanding of those around us.
How do you feel when you give to LIFT?
I trust the folks at LIFT and feel excellent donating to this program, knowing that anything we donate will be used for good and create good will.
Why does LIFT matter to you?
LIFT matters as they are helping to support our teen citizens and negotiate some of the things they will face in the future, our future. Teens are getting more global experience, more understanding of individual needs that might be different from theirs, learning acceptance, and learning about who they are.
What are your dreams for the Leelanau Community?
This is a fantastic community of givers and doers but I do wish there were more affordable housing and more stewardship of our environment on an individual basis. I am a small business owner and can feel the kindness and appreciation that those who support us give out each time they visit us. We are so grateful for it.
Thank you to each person who has helped us along our way.
To join us in our journey to empower the youth of Leelanau County, click here.