Homeport ‘Young Professionals’ Set Major Expansion Goals For 2015

Homeport is making a major bid to attract community support among “Millennials,” seeking to grow its Young Professionals organization from 30 to 80 members in 2015. And activists in the group say they are eager to reach the goal.

The increased membership will mean more support of residents of Homeport communities, and more social activities for the Young Professionals group.

“I think the group is really excited for 2015,” said Josh Barkan, an attorney with the Kayne Law Group. “We were able to put together some fun events and build some momentum in 2014 which will allow us to grow and do more for Homeport in 2015. Our hope is to grow membership, raise awareness of Homeport and give back to the communities as much as possible.”

YP steering committee member Michael Kelley, vice president of real estate development company Donald W. Kelley & Associates, said the “fun factor” definitely helped grow the affinity group in 2014.

“The current members of our young professionals group are some of the funniest and nicest people I’ve met since moving back to Columbus,” said Kelley. “The ‘fun factor’ is what has helped our group grow so much in the first year.”

Programs will vary, from food pantry distributions to face painting and gardening with residents, to fund-raising and social events among YP members, said Susan Earp, an architect with Shremshock in New Albany.

Members say they enjoy the role they are playing in helping their community. 

“By working together, the Young Professionals strive to further Homeport’s mission to provide assistance to families in need around Columbus,” said Sam Marcellino, an attorney with the law firm of Barkan Meizlish.

“It’s hard to understate the importance of having safe, affordable, quality housing for those who are especially vulnerable – seniors and families with young children,” said YP member Michael Schottenstein, an attorney with Kegler Brown Hill.

“Homeport has done a really impressive job combating one of the biggest problems in our community: the lack of decent and affordable housing,” said Kelley. “It ought to be possible for every kid in Columbus to be able to come home from school to a house that’s not moldy or bug-ridden, falling apart, freezing cold or in a dangerous neighborhood.  Unfortunately that’s not a reality today.”

The next special event for the Homeport Young Professionals is a bowling fund-raiser at 12:30 p.m. on March 8 at the Columbus Square Bowling Palace, 5707 Forest Hills Boulevard in Columbus.

To participate or learn more about the Homeport Young Professionals, contact Tonya Young at 614 545-4884 or tonya.young@homeportohio.org.