Embracing—No… Celebrating Change

Change is a tricky thing. At this point in life, I am convinced that human nature fights against it. And yet it is essential to our growth as individuals, and to our survival as a society. While we may struggle with accepting change in general, the kind of change forced on us in 2020 is even harder. Without warning, we have had to change the way we teach our children, the way we travel, where and how we work, what it means to walk into a store for milk, even the basics of how we interact and communicate with one another. It has not been easy.

PGK Founder Molly Yuska with a young PGK volunteer at Create the Change Day LA 2019.

While so much change has been thrust upon all of us in 2020, admittedly most of which I have not been terribly excited about, there is one element of change in my world that has been “percolating” for a while and which I am thrilled to announce – the hiring of PGK’s first executive director. For those who have watched the growth of PGK over the years from a seedling of an idea in my mind until now, and for those of you who know me personally, PGK has been a labor of love for the past eight years. I started it from a place of deep belief that the future of our country and the joy of our children lies in the cultivation of empathy and service. I believe that now, more than ever, and my commitment to and for this work has never been stronger.

Yet in those same eight years, I have watched my kids grow up from the three little people who originally inspired this mission into teens and an all-too-soon-to-be tween, welcomed a fourth child, moved to another part of the country, all while trying to grow this movement, day by day, small step by small step. In many respects, I could not be prouder of where we are. And yet, I know it is time to welcome change. There is so much more for us to do, and I need help. (Sometimes admitting that is as hard as accepting change, just saying.) 

PGK’s new Executive Director, Cristin O’Leary Jones.

The PGK board of directors and I are excited that our new Executive Director Cristin O’Leary Jones will be assisting us as we make our way through this time of change and growth. Cristin comes to us with an extensive background in nonprofit development and consulting, having served most recently in the fundraising department at Kesem, a national nonprofit supporting children impacted by their parent’s cancer, where she oversaw fundraising training and resources for 5,000+ college student volunteers raising $10M+ at 130+ chapters nationwide.  Based in LA and the mother of two young children herself, she joins us at a moment when the world is looking for ways to find meaning and hope like never before, and for those of us who are parents, searching for reassurance that the future our kids will inherit can and will be one of promise. 

As global change has forced so many things to move online, PGK is poised to leverage its core value proposition as an online platform connecting youth and families with important nonprofit ecosystems and service-learning resources. We are ready to make our virtual offerings more widely accessible. We are ready to grow our movement to new regions of this country, because kids everywhere want to make a difference and grown-ups everywhere want to cling to the hope that represents.

I look forward to working alongside Cristin to build and grow this movement. Together, we will do more, faster. Together, with our team, we will bring about more change, the kind people are hungry for, and hopefully not afraid of. And I might even get to slow down for a short minute to catch my breath, which after eight years, might just be a good change too.