March 11, 2021
For most kids, summers are meant for fun with no school and no homework. It’s a time to break free and spend nights with your friends, making life-long memories.
For United Way of Central Indiana’s Strategic Information team’s Executive Assistant, LeRicia (Rese) Rogers, summers and weekends were spent babysitting her cousins. And she would not have changed it for the world.
While spending time with her family and taking care of those close to her Rese learned the importance of showing up for people you love – especially kids. She developed a true passion for writing for school-aged children, which ultimately spearheaded her nonprofit career journey.
Rese graduated from Ball State University with a degree in magazine journalism and began her career with the Saturday Evening Post in Indianapolis, where she was the editorial assistant for Jack and Jill, Humpty Dumpty, and Turtle.
“I felt like the entire time I was working and writing for children, it was foreshadowing me going into eventually working with children at nonprofits,” Rese said. Doubling as the Post’s photojournalist, Rese was sent on assignment to a summer camp to highlight health, nutrition and wellness for high-risk children.
“My job was to take photos,” Rese said. “Instead, I decided to engage with the children at their level. I loved working with kids directly, but I had no idea how to use this passion to break into the nonprofit sector.”
While it took a few years, Rese found a perfect fit when the opportunity presented itself with the Pathway Resource Center, a grassroots nonprofit, located down the street from her home.
“The Executive Director liked my corporate background and writing experience, so she hired me to be her administrative assistant, which eventually grew into a full-time position and finally connected me to serving youth,” Rese said.
At Pathway, Rese developed and led the Youth Council. The Youth Council recruited (5) teens as a pilot program, to share their insights and ideas for how to reach out to their generation as an audience for current and future programs.
In her role as Program Coordinator, she also coordinated the Summer Youth Program “Training Youth for Success” where she hired 25-30 youth with a focus on the Far East side community. During this program, she mentored youth on workforce development, facilitation, and simply listening to their concerns and issues they faced growing up in traumatizing environments.
“I put my all into that job. I came in early, I stayed late, almost every day, because I wanted to give that customer service experience that everyone deserves,” Rese said “No matter how low your income or how you are living – everyone deserves A+ customer service. It’s just human kindness.”
After spending three years with Pathway, Rese began her search for a new role. She wanted to expand on her experience and consider a position at a foundation or other larger nonprofit – something like United Way.
Rese was ready to make an impact.
Coming into her role at United Way, Rese knew about the community organizations and people served by United Way.
“I am honored to work with the team that brings all of the impact into perspective – numbers don’t lie. And because of that, Strategic Information has turned out to be a perfect fit for me.”
Rese also knew United Way was leaving footprints on Indianapolis. And she knew 2-1-1 as one of the best resources, as its a free and confidential service that helps Hoosiers across Indiana find the local resources they need.
“Some of these people are living in poverty and dealing with the violence and trauma of their community, and they will not always speak to you with their ‘office voice.’,” Rese said. “They are there because they know they need help. Sometimes it’s hard to be nice when the basic things you know you need are on your mind.”
Throughout her life, Rese has demonstrated selflessness numerous times — beginning at a young age with her family, and continuing through out her nonprofit career. She has a spark and talent for being able to communicate calmly and respectfully, something that so many admire. All of this has guided her in the direction of making a constant impact on those she interacts with.
“To this day, I still mentor four of the youths from my previous role!” Rese said. “They are now going to college, some with scholarships – and I am so proud of them.”