Yawntreshia Coleman is the kind of volunteer that you all dream about.
I could use a whole slew of GRE words and resume adjectives to describe her – reliable, consistent, punctual, effervescent – and they would all be true. But at the end of a school year during which we have engaged over 400 individual volunteers in our work, the thing that has meant the most to us is that Tresh is always hungry for more.
Hungry for more time with students, for more knowledge, for more opportunities to help. In the middle of flu season and snow delays and rainy days, Tresh became the person we could call on in a pinch. And for us and for our students, it has meant the world.
Yawntreshia ‘Treshia’ Coleman is best known for community organizing and relationship building. She has served as Managing Director and Principal of Coleman & Company, LLC, an association management company that she founded in 2005, and in this capacity trains nonprofit boards, grassroots organizers, business owners, and political organizations in networking, fundraising, and movement building. A 2014 graduate of Alabama Organizing Project’s Grassroots Leadership Development Program and of the Congressional Black Caucus Institute’s Political Boot Camp, Coleman earned her Bachelors in Business Administration Accounting in 2004 with a minor in Human Services Counseling from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA.
In addition to her work as Managing Director of Coleman & Company, Coleman has done contract work as Birmingham Public Policy Coordinator for the SmokeFree Birmingham campaign with the American Lung Association in 2010-2011 and in 2014, joined the staff of Project Hopewell as a contracted Resource Development Manager. Never, one to stop an inch shy of doing anything she can to make a difference, Coleman also ran for Birmingham City Council in 2009 as an advocate for small business & jobs, community policing, and sustainable neighborhoods.
In her role with the Project Hopewell, Coleman is responsible for grants management, marketing, fundraising/donor management, and building collaborative partnerships. “I have always enjoyed working with nonprofits,” she says, “and especially when I can help them to fulfill their mission, build capacity, and become sustainable.”
Which is, frankly, exactly what she has done for Ed.
We met Coleman through her membership with the Birmingham Urban League Young Professionals as part of our campaign to recruit volunteers for the Career Development Conference. And while it is most definitely true that an individual spending even one hour with students is immeasurably valuable, it is worth noting that in three short months, Coleman made herself available for ten different CDC sessions, leading presentations, sitting for mock-interviews, and giving students individual feedback on their resumes during the March Conference itself.
My experience with the Ed Foundation has been fulfilling,” Coleman says. “I invest my time into our Birmingham City students because I want employers to be blown away when they receive their resumes or invite them for interviews. I want them to be thoroughly impressed with the skills our students have learned from the Career Development Conference and subsequently apply in their job searches.”
The investment that Coleman has shown is why we do what we do – why we wrestle with logistics and recruitment and scheduling volunteers in schools every hour of the day: because our volunteers are hungry for it, because our students deserve it, and because the future of Birmingham will be built on the nature of the relationships and opportunities that are born of all of those moments.
Thank you, Tresh, for all you have one and will (no doubt) continue to do in our community.