January, 2021: Hey, Westminster! trustees Jason Stambaugh and Erin Benevento surprised Katie Kirby from Together We Own It in Westminster with a $1,000 grant, including a $100 gift card to Cultivated.
Hey Westminster! is excited to encourage Together We Own It to continue their incredible work with children and families to break the cycle of poverty, trauma and mental illness and move forward by providing a stable and supportive environment, full of opportunity.
Katie responded: I felt like I was on an episode of Ellen for a minute when these two showed up last night! But seriously, I am incredibly grateful to be selected as the first Hey, Westminster recipient.
You don’t answer your 5th grade teacher’s question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” with, I want to run a nonprofit! I grew up in Westminster. Graduated from Westminster High School in 2014. Contributed very minimally to my community for most of my life. Then I left. I moved to a new town and engaged in my new community through a lens of building hope in a neighborhood that felt stricken with trauma but was held together with resilience. I learned so much about the power of community while I was there. I felt like I had a voice for the very first time in my life. I was empowered to bring that voice home and influence my community in the way that the city of Salisbury influenced me.
This journey hasn’t been easy. I’ve burned and rebuilt bridges (yes, they can be rebuilt!). I’ve been called radical and scrappy (lol, I don’t think anyone that knew me from 0-18 would have called me either of those things). I’ve embraced radical and scrappy as driver of change and determined, though! I have stepped so far out of my comfort zone for so long now that I had to build an island out here.
All of this to say, I never imagined this. I don’t do any of what I do for this Ellen moment that I had yesterday, but I am incredibly grateful for this one because it gets at the real work we do. The strength finding that we do everyday. The resilience we find in everyday people that makes them so incredibly important to this community. I am honored to be recognized, but even more honored to use this $1,000 to continue building hope in our community.