Education and community are the common threads in Lauren Bajda’s background. Lauren currently works at Lexington-Bell Community Center in Cleveland’s Hough neighborhood, where she coordinates afterschool and summer programs for high school students. Now, she also serves on YNPN Cleveland’s Board of Directors as the chair of our Ambassador Program. In this role, she coordinates highly-motivated volunteers to meet our organization’s operational needs.
A Cleveland native, Lauren received her B.A. from John Carroll University, where she majored in Communication and minored in Business Administration. Though she has always been interested in nonprofits, it was a year of volunteer service at Covenant House Alaska that defined her career path. During that year, she worked with at-risk youth between ages 13 and 20 and absolutely loved it. With that experience and lots of networking, she was able to find her current position. As Lexington-Bell’s High School Program Coordinator, she enjoys both the planning stages of her programs and then the hands-on work with students to implement the lessons, activities, and field trips that she designs.
For Lauren, the feeling that Cleveland is “home” is very important. In addition to the fun of attending community events, learning to ballroom dance, and hanging out with friends, she spends much of her spare time with her three sisters and the rest of her family. When asked what people might be surprised to learn about her, she said that she visits her grandparents every Sunday, unless she’s out of town.
Besides her day job, Lauren gives back to the area by mentoring a college student through College Now Greater Cleveland. Hearing people’s stories and thinking about spirituality are important to her, and for that reason, she’d pick Oprah Winfrey as a mentor. She says that the 21-Day Meditation Challenges that Oprah organizes with Deepak Chopra are perfect examples of this combination.
After her years of involvement with YNPN Cleveland, Lauren says her favorite thing about it is “meeting some wonderful people who have similar interests.” She originally sought out our organization because her career coach at John Carroll recommended using a young professional network as a way to get involved and find opportunities. Through her involvement with the Ambassador Program, Lauren pays this advice forward to many members of our community. If you’d like to get in touch with Lauren to talk more about her work with area teens, you can email her at email@example.com or find her on LinkedIn.