If you would like to recommend someone that should be featured, please email me at Kimberleybuenoschonig@gmail.com

A new series I’m doing is featuring people who are making positive impacts in our community. We are the ones living and breathing in our community, and of course it makes sense for everyone to work towards improving our our shared lives!

For my very first feature, I’m excited to share my interview with Kirsten Corley – a local Hoboken resident who has been focused on her service work since 2015! Read more to learn about how she is impacting our community!

About Kirsten Corley

Kirsten Corley {will be noted as ‘KC’ later in the interview} is 27. She lives in Hoboken and work as a Development Associate for Covenant House New Jersey, helping with our Young Professional volunteer efforts. I reached out to her because I wanted to learn more about what she does, how she helps the community, and raise awareness for the organization she is passionate about.

How are you helping our community?

KC: My job is to seek out Young Professionals within our community who might be a good fit for volunteering at the shelter, mentoring some of our kids and finding those who might be interested in joining our Young Professional Board. That is a year commitment, that includes coming to the shelter, fundraising money through our biggest event called Sleep Out..Sleep Out is a night where individuals come together to raise both money and awareness for our youth, sleeping outside of our parking lot with a box and a sleeping bag for a night. It isn’t about pretending to be homeless but rather showing our youth someone is in their corner. We do social events with one another and lots of networking. Right now we have a board of 65 Young Professionals throughout the state! 

Please share more about Covenant House New Jersey and why it is so important for our community.

KC: Covenant House, New Jersey helps homeless and trafficked youth transition into a life of independent living through jobs and education. We have a team that has roles from lawyers, social workers, former teachers, who really just want to see these kids succeed and are there to support them in reaching their goals of attaining a job or furthering their education. It is such important work because meeting these young adults who are between the ages of 18-21 and providing them with resources to help them, change the trajectory of their life so they don’t become the adult homeless population. So many of our kids haven’t seen love, support or guidance and are merely trying to survive and make it day by day. Covenant House allows them to see a future they didn’t think would be possible while giving them a safe place to live while getting there.  

What made you decide to do this kind of work? How did you get involved?

KC: I had first participated in Sleep Out in March of 2015. I became a volunteer while living in New York and fell in love with the work. For four years I was a volunteer then in August of 2018 I was hired full time and moved back to New Jersey to help with our Young Professional Board and Sleep Out: Young Professional Edition

How can one be more involved? 

KC: If someone is interested in joining our Sleep Out: Young Professional Edition they can sign up here. If someone wants to get involved on our board you can contact me at kcorley@covenanthouse.org. Or if you wanted to come in as a frequent volunteer working one on one with our kids, it would require orientation and a background check but we can set that up too! 

What upcoming events are there related to Covenant House?

KC: We have service events every month. Among the board, we have monthly social events. And the best way to learn about our work first hand is through Sleep Out!  

Who inspires you?

KC: I would say the person that inspires me most is the late Princess Diana. During her time, she was authentic in a position in which she was criticized for being that way. To be genuine and have good intentions and treat people with kindness and love has been how I’ve always wanted to live my life. She made a point to talk about the things that really mattered and things everyone struggled from mental health to pressure when it came to appearance at a time when people were very quiet about those things. Although her life was cut short in her time here she made a difference. 

Share a favorite quote

“Because I do things differently. I don’t go by the rule book. I lead from the heart, not the head, and albeit that’s gotten me into trouble in my work. I understand that. But someone has got to go out there and love people and show it.”  -Princess Diana

To learn more about the Covenant House of New Jersey, click here. To contact Kirsten, you can follow her on social media [@kirstencorleyofficial] or email her at kcorley@covenanthouse.org


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