Anna Quinn, The Girl Gives Back

Anna Quinn
The Girl Gives Back

My career and my passion have merged multiple times in my life, more times than one person deserves. Most recently, starting in 2013 when I found myself blessed to be working for the HOPE Center as the Executive Director. The HOPE Center is a faith and relationship based drop-in day center for individuals and families living in poverty and without homes. As the only day center of its kind in the region, we provide unique and critical services, a majority of them unduplicated. Currently, we serve an average of 151 guests per day and provide not only classes, groups, basic services, and multiple programs but we also provide a safe haven for our guests to avoid risky or vulnerable situations. A primary objective of the HOPE Center is to establish relationships so we may be recognized as a trusted source of support for our guests and the community. We offer lifestyle alternatives, advocacy, community resource referrals, and build bridges out of poverty through everything we do and every interaction we have.

In addition, I am a member of the Zonta Club of the Black Hills and the American Association of University Women-Rapid City; I am on the Board of Directors for the Alliance for Substance Abuse Prevention and Community Services Connections; and I am involved in Rapid City Collective Impact, the Suicide Prevention Taskforce, the Black Hills Regional Homeless Coalition and Youth Taskforce, Psi Chi (national psychology honor society), and multiple collaborations.

Tell us something about the journey that led you to the organization.

I have always been called to servant leadership and feel by serving the needs of others first, before anything else, we can help people grow and achieve to the highest extent, hopefully leading others by example. We must advocate for those who are vulnerable while they find their own voices and have their hope and dignity restored. I have been fortunate enough to work with the elderly, those with intellectual and physical disabilities, people of all ages with behavioral disorders and mental illness, children, teenagers, and people living in poverty in all of the previous categories. In every experience, I noticed that poverty doesn’t discriminate and those living in poverty are open to vulnerable situations, often times stigmatized because of unfair stereotypes. Identifying this has led me to want to make sure that people in any situation, including those in poverty, aren’t discriminated against because of circumstances that are all too often outside of their control.

What motivates you to stay involved?

The people who we are called to serve, the reason we do what we do, is my motivation.

Describe one of your favorite moments you’ve experienced while volunteering.

Every individual success is a favorite. Each and every one, no matter how big or small. When a teenager gets their first ever “A” on a report card because they are no longer sleeping outside, when a parent can provide a bedroom for their child because they finally got into housing, when a guest smiles because they have been connected to the support they need, when anyone realizes that someone truly cares about them and isn’t going to give up; they are all my favorite moments.

Why do you believe it is important to volunteer?

Volunteering is one of the purest ways to have a positive and important impact on those around you and your community. Service to others is a valuable and priceless way to make a difference.

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