Director of Community Engagement wows everyone
By: Kirsten Handler, Community Relations Intern
Lately, I’ve been thinking about how weird friendships made in college are. You meet people and instantly become as close as, if not closer than, people you’ve known your entire life. Maybe it’s because the people who support you through inevitable change understand you as you are, and not as you were. Or maybe it’s because meeting new people feels like a nice break from the monotony of growing up in one town your whole life. I don’t really have some grand explanation for why this happens or why it’s even on my mind. All I know is Brittany Yelverton is that kind of friend.
The kind of friend who lets Sara and I have a dance party in the middle of the workday just because we want to. The kind of friend who checks in about my injured shoulder every single day I’m in the office. The kind of friend who shares my love for Harry Styles.
I met her at Intern Training, where she taught the Summer Interns (Class of 2019) about all things Girls Empowerment Network. I was struck by how welcoming she was toward me and the other interns. With one “Hi Kirsten, how was your morning?” she showed me I belonged at the nonprofit.
Brittany is, without a doubt, the kindest person I have ever met, always going the extra mile for anyone and everyone. I don’t like using absolutes, but it’s hard to not use the Kindness Absolute when talking about her. She constantly reminds me that I deserve warmth and care from those around me, which is something I need to hear from time to time. As a bonus, she has entertained my desire to write random pieces about my life during work hours.
When she talks about her work as Director of Community Engagement, it’s always in terms of helping others. If I connect with this person, it’ll help the girls by making our programs more sustainable and scalable. I found some articles about good role models that we should highlight on social media so others can be as inspired as I am. I want to create this event so girls can continue to find their voice and be as loud as they possibly can be. I haven’t ever heard Brittany make her work about herself. It’s always about others.
She is fully herself without hesitation, and it encourages me to be the same way. When she was a kid, she wanted to do everything. Break out of the small, quiet spaces girls are confined to by embracing her 6-foot tall, 7th grade self; discover organizations that valued justice and rights as much as she did; explore the world beyond her hometown of Magnolia, Texas.
Years later, not much has changed. Brittany still wants to do everything. Increase fundraising for Girls Empowerment Network so more girls can believe in themselves; indulge in gardening, her hobby; travel even more. She says she doesn’t want another dog, but I think she’s lying.
I’ve only known Brittany for two months, and yet, in true college fashion, I feel like I’ve known her for years. Our friendship is my favorite part of working at Girls Empowerment Network. It even beats the One Direction poster on display in her office.