Steve Johnsen first heard about Aliquippa Impact (AI) at Crestmont Alliance Church. He attends church there along with Joel Repic, founder of AI, and Steve Rossi, AI’s Executive Director. After learning about AI, Johnsen not only became a monthly donor, but also joined the organization’s board of directors.
After just one board meeting, Joel and Steve asked Johnsen to take the position of chair because the former chair was retiring. Johnsen believes that one of the gifts God has given him is that of administration. It is apparent that Joel and Steve also saw that he possessed this gift. They have had the opportunity to see Johnsen flourish in this area firsthand in their elder role together at Crestmont Alliance Church.
One of the aspects of AI that Johnsen values the most is the hope the organization instills in the lives of others. Johnsen says, “For us, our hope is in Christ and sharing that with the community is directly related to the mission of AI.”
Hope can be in short supply for youth and families in Aliquippa. Johnsen says, “I think it’s a big trap- losing hope- because you are told you can’t achieve anything.” He believes Aliquippa Impact’s programs, particularly the cohort program shows youth that they can achieve great things. He says, “Programmatically, I would say the cohort program is where we see the results most tangibly. Certainly mentoring and the city camp plays a big role, but I think the cohort program, because it builds on relationships and is based on establishing goals and helping the kids achieve those goals, helps to instill hope in kids. They see results as they work toward goals.”
Through his involvement with AI, Johnsen has personally seen kids thrive. He says, “Last year the kids from the very first cohort graduated from high school. Now, several of them are off to college, some of them are in a trade school setting, and others are into a profession. It’s so encouraging to see them doing well at this point in their lives.”
It is Aliquippa Impact’s hope that these young people continue to thrive in the future.