Lanita Whitehurst on Thursday, 29 October 2015.

Misrak Zeleke

Network Voices is a new periodic Q&A series spotlighting members of the IMPACT Network.   

Misrak Zeleke is originally from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, but has lived in Takoma Park, Maryland since 1988.  She is married and has a teen-aged son.  Misrak spends her days working as an events coordinator in Washington, DC.  Her introduction to IMPACT Silver Spring was as a participant in an early program called the Parent Training Institute. 

 What was your first experience with IMPACT?  

One of your organizers, Winta, stopped me on the street and invited me to the Parent Training Institute at Piney Branch Elementary School.  My son was in 3rd grade and new to the school.  I was scared and wondered who I would go to if I had problems.  The Parent Training Institute gave me a platform for connecting to the principal, the teachers, and other parents.  I met so many people through the training.  I didn’t have to wonder anymore about who I would go to if I had problems.   

How have you been able to utilize the people and resources of the IMPACT Network? 

IMPACT has been great for networking.  If feels like just about anyone or anything I can think of, I can get connected to through the Network.  It’s unbelievable.  I’ve met people who have become long-time friends.   

Recently, I started attending IMPACT’s Network Nights and the Activating Micro-Entrepreneurs workshops.  I’ve met so many diverse and inspirational people at both.  Network Nights give me the chance to meet and learn from immigrants whose home countries are different from mine.  And the Micro-Entrepreneurs workshops have been just the boost I need. I’ve been inspired by meeting people just like me who have started their own businesses.  I’ve realized, “If they can do it, I can do it.”

What are your dreams for your life? 

I want to be my own boss. My one vision has been starting my own childcare business. I know that it will be hard work, but I’m ready for the challenge.  I’ve completed my certification.  Now I’m anxious to get my license and see what I can do.

What thoughts would you share with others about the value of connection in community? 

Connection enriches your life, whether it’s volunteering to help the homeless or attending an election forum.  I’m still friends with the parents I connected with at the Parent Training Institute years ago and on occasion we support each other with advice and ideas.  I’ve even stayed connected with a parent I met who moved back home to Germany.

My wish is for everybody to feel the sense of connection that I’ve come to feel.  It’s great!  

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