Congratulations to our Founder and CEO, Jennie Lobato, for winning an award from Sylviana and the Be The Light Campaign for being someone who shines her light daily. What a great honor it is to have someone that shines so much light lead an organization that aims to bring children out of darkness and help them find their own light. Jennie is a constant light to drawchange. As Justin Oulton points out in the nomination, “Jennie Lobato is the candle used to light others’ candles.” On a daily basis, Jennie shines her light to her family and friends, colleagues, volunteers, and most importantly, the drawchange children. Any individual that works with Jennie can see the passion she has for bringing empowering art experiences to homeless children.
Jennie Lobato’s nomination from Justin Oulton:
“Jennie Lobato has been “the light” to hundreds of children in Atlanta, Georgia, and hundreds more abroad. I began as a volunteer for drawchange, her small nonprofit, in 2013 on her 4th trip to an elementary school in Cartago, Costa Rica. The children, the people, and especially Jennie’s “light” saw me return for year 5 and 6. I was also swept into volunteering locally at various homeless shelters with her and helping to produce the inaugural drawchange 5k and two subsequent 5k’s thereafter. I learned that she left a very well paying job to pursue her dream of serving. Jennie’s daily life revolves around the children and families she shines upon. In the several years I’ve known her, scarcely a single conversation has been had without it coming back around to the people she so tirelessly works to help in whatever way she can. She has weekly commitments with two homeless shelters, where she brings art, color and light into otherwise dark circumstances. Helping close to home is not enough for this amazing woman however and she is currently on her second international project, in Ethiopia, after the successful completion of a 6-year program with Escuela Fatima, an elementary school and it’s surrounding community in Costa Rica. Even her weekly “standard” commitments to shine are not enough for Ms. Lobato. Beyond the art classes and therapy she and her organization provide, she routinely goes above and beyond for those who need it most. Children at her local volunteer site are treated to activities beyond the shelter, including traveling to art shows where the children’s art is showcased and sometimes auctioned to help the families. Trick-or-treating is another would-be-forgotten activity if not for her. I have known her to track down artists and community leaders to provide special instruction or insight to particular children and everything she does is done with a smile. She has inspired dozens of volunteers to blaze their own trails and find ways to help the people around them. She has garnered the loyalty of donors and volunteers alike to help her continue her mission. Jennie Lobato is the candle used to light others’ candles. Her positivity, through good times and bad, her fierce commitment to those she serves, her ability to do so much with so little and her unwillingness to ever believe she has done “enough” are just some of what make her light shine so brightly. There may be others who shine as much, but there are none who shine more.”