In just a short amount of time, Mackenna Kispert has worked toward one thing: to help better the community around her, and she is well on her way to helping the ever-growing community of Valparaiso.
Originally from Illinois, Kispert has spent the last several years in Valpo, attending school while getting a degree in public relations and business along the way. Through school and beyond, she has always had a passion to help others. That passion has been able to come to life in her new position as Development Director of the Valparaiso Family YMCA. Kispert has been in the position for just a year and has already helped put several programs in place to help make the YMCA accessible for everyone. Her favorite part is getting to work with all of the people she meets on the job.
“There are so many different people and so many different stories you get to know,” Kispert said. "I love getting to see the people I get to see regularly, and it makes me happy knowing I have made a positive impact on them.”
Some of the programs Kispert has helped with include youth sports, personal training, and summer camp programs for kids.
“We want to make sure we open up everyone's eyes to everything we have to offer,” Kispert said. “There are so many programs that can help develop kids and help them become greater members of the community. It can make such an impact to everyone and we need to make sure everyone knows the opportunities are there.”
Despite so many events, programs, and fundraisers to choose from, Kispert has one memory that is by far her favorite.
“We held a modeling event and it was available for families and all members to attend,” Kispert said.“We had one member who has trouble moving and dedicated so much time to make sure she could by taking one of our strength classes. When the day came she was able to do it and I cried I was so happy for her.”
Kispert been a member of the New Song Church for more than six years and serves on Valpo Next and Rotary committees, and volunteers at United Way.
“I started going after I ran into a family friend who went one day and I haven't stopped since,” Kispert said. “My favorite thing is playing the piano in the worship band. Every time I am there it feels like we are all one big family.”
Kispert holds the City of Valparaiso in high regard, believing it is a great place that anyone would want to live.
“Every time I am downtown, it looks like something out of a TV show depicting a perfect little small town,” Kispert said. “Everyone cares here and they want to give back, it feels like it is thriving right now.”
In her spare time, she likes to go to concerts and spend time at the YMCA, not as a worker, but as a member. She is enrolled in yoga, Pilates, and other strength classes there. She is also an avid reader and spends a lot of time with her nose in a book. The only downside to that: she has read so many she can’t pick out a favorite one but is determined to keep reading to find it.