Making Your Life and Legacy Count; Guest Blog By David Howard

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David Howard is more than a Director of Gas Supply at Consumers Energy; he is a father, mentor and active volunteer in his community. For years, he has helped Big Brothers Big Sisters of Jackson County (BBBS) and the Jackson Interfaith Shelter (JIF) touch the lives of many.

In celebration of National Mentoring Month and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, we are honored to feature Dave’s service journey.

Tell us about your support of Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) and the Jackson Interfaith Shelter (JIF).

Going on seven years, I have been a Big Brother to Romy. BBBS resonated with me after I experienced as a dad how hard it is to raise kids even with a stable home, family and resources. There are many kids who are not provided a stable base and upbringing so I wanted to make a difference for at least one child. I am proud to say that Romy is growing up to be a great young man.

For six years, I have helped JIF put on their “Give Me Shelter” concert series. The monthly event features a pop-up coffee shop with free coffee, dessert and live music. JIF is a place where we have the opportunity to meet those who need a hand in getting a fresh start in life. Some may not have the capability or resources to turn things around, however, I’ve learned that they all need love. That is what I strive to provide each one of them.

Why should others get involved?

I strongly encourage others to consider how they are blessed and how they can use their talents to give back. In my experience as a BBBS mentor, being present to offer hope as a role model makes a world of a difference. The reward is priceless when you see a child progress in school, have hopes of a successful career and gain a chance at a better life.

In my own journey, two things have been most rewarding thus far. First is seeing my mentee Romy, who could hardly read or maintain interest in school when we initially met, blossom into a young man who is working hard for himself to be successful. Second is when Romy told me, “I hope we stay in touch forever.”

Your impact as a mentor extends beyond a week, month or year. These kids have the opportunity to turn around their lives forever with your help.

What are some words you can offer in honor of National Mentoring Month and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service?

I want to challenge everyone to participate in National Mentoring Month and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. Will your life and legacy count in such a manner that your community is better off because you were here? It’s your choice. I encourage you to take the first steps to make a difference.

We proudly support employees and retirees who work to strengthen their communities. Click to learn more about the Consumers Energy Foundation. Get involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters by visiting www.bbbs.org. Get involved in Jackson Interfaith Shelter by visiting www.fb.com/jackson.interfaith.