Kelli Ellsworth Etchison—an East Lansing resident dedicated to serving her community—has been recognized by the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce with this year’s Community Service Award.
When she spoke with ELi, Ellsworth Etchison gave advice for those who, like her, want to give back to their communities: “Find something that speaks to your heart.”
Doing work that you find valuable will keep you committed, Ellsworth Etchison says, speaking from her own experience.
There is now much need in our area and many gaps to be filled, according to Ellsworth Etchison. For those who are unsure where to begin, she recommends reaching out to the Capital Area United Way, which keeps detailed information about local organizations’ volunteer needs.
Ellsworth Etchison is currently an active volunteer with the YMCA of Metropolitan Lansing and is the first African American woman to serve as their Board of Directors’ Chair.
At the Chamber of Commerce award ceremony, LAFCU’s CEO Patrick Spyke remarked on how Ellsworth Etchison also works behind-the-scenes to help people, helping out at her church on Saturdays and assisting women transitioning in careers to further their education.
Ellsworth Etchison’s personal mission is centered on making people feel like they belong. She recalled how she received her first job at age 19 through a diversity-hiring program. She stated in video shown at the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce’s awards ceremony that, “after receiving the job, it was up to me to show that I belong.”
That has inspired her since.
That said, her track record of volunteering dates back to at least her teenage years. She shared with ELi that her first memory of participating in community service was through a summer program helping clean up parks. She later volunteered as a candy striper at the Pontiac Osteopathic Hospital.
In her adult life, Ellsworth Etchison has continued her dedication to community service through her work with many groups, and many of these organizations have also recognized her with honors.