When Kristin Bartley heard Highfields was looking for new board members, she was intrigued. She knew of Highfields, but didn’t know much. So, she set up a lunch meeting with CEO and President, Brian Philson. When she heard what Brian had to say, she was hooked.
"He explained what Highfields did and why he was so passionate about it,” she said. “The passion he had for the organization, the staff and the people they help – that’s what got me interested.”
Kristin decided to join the board of directors in 2011 as a part of the Personnel and Finance Committee. There, she is able to lend her own set of expertise to help Highfields make sound financial decisions and make her own recommendations.
She said she is amazed at the work Highfields' staff puts in and their commitment to the families that they help. Kristin is not a counselor, but she wants to do what she can to help these families, too. That’s why she likes serving on the board: she is able to indirectly help families by making sure Highfields is operating the best it can.
She said board members help the organizations in two ways: first, by educating the community about what Highfields does and why it’s important; second, by offering a variety of skills and valuable knowledge to help Highfields grow.
"There's that need; there are kids and there are families that don’t have a support system,” she said. “They’re good people but they need a little guidance. Too often there are families or kids who are just a little lost and Highfields fills that need and makes a big difference.”
Aside from being a member of the board of directors, Kristin always makes sure to help out in other ways. She particularly likes to help out around Christmas. She works for Two Men and a Truck and the whole company puts an emphasis on giving back to the community, especially around the holidays.
"One of our core values at Two Men and a Truck is giving back,” she said. “At Christmastime, you’re more aware of the needs around you.”
Kristin and Sara Bennet, Highfields’ Board Chairperson this year, organize people at their office to sponsor some of Highfields’ residential students at Christmas time. Then, they buy the students Christmas presents.
"When [Sara and I] first became board members, we learned about how board members will “adopt” a student,” she said. “It meshed well that we are such big Christmas fans and to learn of that need, it just took off from there."
As a parent, she knows the value of having a strong support system. She also knows that not everyone has a strong support system – that’s why Highfields is so important, she said.
"I feel very lucky for the family that I have,” Kristin said. “When I hear stories of the people who don’t have that support group, I put myself in their shoes. I don’t know where I’d be without my support group and I’m happy that Highfields can be there for those people.”