Volunteer Spotlight
The GOAL Foundation encourages you to "Get Out And Live!"™ at local and world class athletic events!
home of the ogden marathon!
Instagram Get Out And Live Facebook Get Out And Live Twitter Pinterest Youtube

Sign up for email updates from GOAL Foundation

Home > Volunteer > Volunteer Spotlight

Volunteer Spotlight

DANIELLE COLLIER - WRITTEN BY STACY BERNAL

On a somber morning in early November, I sat in a local coffee shop waiting for a young woman named Danielle Collier. I had been tasked with writing a piece about her for the GOAL Foundation and, while I was grateful for the opportunity to grease up my rusty writing gears, I was also feeling bogged down by the heaviness of life in a pandemic, dizzy from having to make pivot after pivot. I had even toyed with the idea of rescheduling our meeting but instead, I did my hair, put on a little mascara, and made my way to the coffee shop.

When Danielle arrived, I knew immediately our conversation would lift my spirits. Danielle exudes an energetic kindness (even before she had her coffee) that is palpable and contagious. We ordered our food and beverages and settled into our spot by the window. I was feeling really glad I hadn’t backed out of our appointment as we made chit chat and she started telling me her story.

Danielle is what some would call an “overachiever.” In high school, she wrote for the teen section of the local newspaper, The Standard-Examiner. One of her most memorable articles was about how teenagers should consider becoming organ donors. She realized that no one had talked about this option when she was getting her driver’s license, and she was deeply passionate about it as her father had been the recipient of a life-saving organ transplant. Her father was delighted when he saw the story in print, followed immediately by embarrassment when he saw the accompanying picture showed him wearing a pink shirt. Danielle continued writing for the paper her senior year and even considered becoming a journalist, but she craved more creativity so she went in search of new adventures.


She started working at Texas Roadhouse and was interested in the marketing side of things. She asked her manager if she could shadow the marketing coordinator and then, when that person abruptly left the company, she stepped into the role. She had been working in the position for a few months when she celebrated her 18th birthday and her shocked manager, not knowing how young she was, informed her that’s how old someone in that position needed to be. See what I told you? Overachiever.

After that job she got hired as a manager of Buckle and was simultaneously volunteering for Boys and Girls Club. She was spending so much time volunteering (and she didn’t love Buckle) that when B&GC asked if she wanted to work there, she enthusiastically said yes. In this role she realized how much she loved working with kids and nonprofits. Her kindhearted, benevolent beast was unleashed.


If there’s a nonprofit in Ogden, chances are that at some point in time, Danielle has directly or indirectly worked with them. While attending Weber State University, she worked in the office of Student Affairs where she learned about a lot of opportunities to get involved. She ended up serving on the Service Team through the Center for Community Engaged Learning where she racked up some tremendous good karma. A few of the projects she headed included:

  • Two blood drives in collaboration with the American Red Cross
  • An Angel Tree with the Salvation Army
  • Meal packaging with Stop Hunger Now
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Week of Service
  • President of the Food Recovery Network

Somewhere in between all these endeavors, Danielle worked for the Christmas Box House as an assistant case worker for the Department of Child and Family Services and was a substitute teacher for Ogden School District. As she shared some gut-wrenching stories about her experiences with DCFS, I couldn’t help but imagine how blessed those kids were who ever had the chance to be embraced by her kindness.

As she neared her graduation from WSU, Danielle went on a school-sanctioned Alternative Spring Break to San Francisco where she serendipitously rode shotgun to the trip advisor, who just so happened to be Clairesse Miljour. Danielle recounted their conversation as a pivotal moment in her life and that she “kinda fell in love” with Clairesse as she told her about organizations like the Jr. League of Ogden and GOAL Foundation. Upon returning from California, Danielle immediately signed up for JLo and got involved with GOAL.

At GOAL, she interned for a while and was later hired to help with the annual Ogden Marathon. The money she earned helped fund a monthlong service trip to Mozambique. Her time serving with JLo connected her to many other amazing Ogden women who would leave a lasting mark in Danielle’s journey and help propel her to become the person she is today.

One of those women was Kimberly Bowsher, director of the Ogden Downtown Alliance. Danielle knew they were hiring for a new position there but felt like she was underqualified, especially since she hadn’t graduated yet. But because of her involvement with JLo, and with encouragement from other members, she felt empowered enough to apply and (no big surprise) she got the job. Her life was awesome and she was totally killing it and then… she felt drawn to do more. She felt an overwhelming calling to join the Peace Corps.


At one point in our conversation Danielle said, “I always feel more productive when I’m working for a purpose over a profit.” She believes that, in order to impact real changes in the world, service needs to be sustainable. That driving passion pushed her to apply for the community development sector of the Peace Corps and ultimately landed her in Macedonia. (Not to be confused with macadamia. Just ask Danielle about that one.) She was just getting started on leaving her mark (which may or may not have included a romantic connection) when the COVID-19 pandemic ravaged the world and she had to be evacuated back to the United States.

While her Peace Corps stint currently hangs in limbo, her desire to make the world a better place still burns bright. Her future plans include international travel, working toward a master’s degree, and always serving others. Danielle is a sterling example of the importance and impact of volunteering. Her advice to anyone interested in serving is:

“Find something you’re passionate about. If you’re not sure what that is, volunteering with nonprofits is such a good way to learn what that is.”

With an air hug we parted ways and I left feeling inspired and hopeful. And, if I’m being really honest, I kinda fell in love with Danielle Collier.

***

Back to
Top
Register Now!