MEDINA — Michelle Powell could barely contain her excitement Monday afternoon.
Even under her mask, it was clear to see that the founding director of Let’s Make a Difference (LMAD), a nonprofit organization that “provides children with positive social growth through educational, spiritual and creative experiences,” was all smiles.
That excitement stemmed from a $1,020 check she and the organization received from the Kent Area Chapter of The Links Incorporated, a group dedicated to “enriching, sustaining and ensuring the culture and economic survival of African Americans and other persons of African ancestry.”
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Powell said day-to-day operations have become even more challenging and that support like this will help her get closer to providing the level of care and support that she knows she can.
“It means a lot because we can help out in so many areas,” Powell said. “School clothes, Chromebooks, food for the children; just having this, it’s going to make a difference. This is truly a huge blessing and we’re able to help more kids.
“Having this, I’m able to give not a snack, but a meal. I can give a meal now. It’s just a seed for what’s getting ready to come. They’re such a great organization to even want to partner with us. This is something I’ve been looking for for a long time.”
Among the services that LMAD offers include summer programs, lawn mowing programs and “step up,” which is an initiative aimed at helping with school work, nourishment and encouragement to Clagget Middle School students.
Prior to Monday, The Links and LMAD had never worked together on any kind of project or event. The group, which covers Portage, Stark, Summit, Geauga and Medina counties, said they wanted to help an organization in Medina County but struggled to find one that met their core tenets and was dealing with hardships due to COVID-19.
Then, Powell’s name was given to one of the chapter members. From that moment, they knew LMAD was the right place to donate.
“We looked at a couple of organizations but we have the five focuses for our organization nationally and Let’s Make a Difference hit a couple of them,” Gabrielle Whittaker of The Links said. “National and international trends because we’re dealing with COVID. Service to youth is another because she’s doing it for the kids. I talked to Michelle for the first time and the energy, the passion (she had), we didn’t realize there was a need out here in Medina.”
Now that there is a plan in place between LMAD and The Links to continue working together, Powell believes this is only the beginning of what the two organizations will be able to do together.
“(This lets people know) that there is a big need,” Powell said. “People look at Medina, you come here and they were talking about how beautiful it was here. If you can look around, this doesn’t look like poverty, so people don’t know. Poverty is here. I’m just so excited that they found us and we can start filling in those gaps where those needs are.”
Contact reporter Jack Kopanski at (330) 721-4063 or firstname.lastname@example.org.