Fostering a young professional workforce between the ages of 21 and 39, the Ashland Association Young Professionals Association was formed to strengthen the vitality of Ashland and surrounding areas by providing a network of professional development, social opportunity, economic development and community service programs.
Under the direction of the Ashland Association, Paul Craft and Shaun Kiser founded the organization in 2003 to provide young business professionals an outlet to network while fostering social interactions among members. Today YPA has a membership of over 75 members.
From monthly board meetings to member committees, YPA also provides a quarterly luncheon and frequent social events to unite young professionals throughout Boyd and Greenup Counties and a host of other social events to unite Ashland’s young workforce.
One of the highlight’s of YPA is the annual Backpack program, in which Backpacks with school supplies and new school clothes are provided to area children in need. In addition, the group fosters professional development and conducts workshops while focusing more on economic issues that directly impact Ashland and surrounding areas.
Each year YPA coordinates an annual backpack program for children in Boyd and Greenup counties. The primary goal of the program is to ensure that each elementary school student starts the school year with the necessary school supplies and at least one new outfit. Through the involvement of our membership and many other members of the community, each year has been extremely successful.
In the YPA’s first year, it was decided that this would be the association’s primary community service project. Throughout each new annual campaign, YPA has been able to increase the number of backpacks delivered to children in the community.
Instead of relying heavily on corporate donations, this program is designed to get individual employees involved. The YPA begins each year by meeting with counselors and youth service center directors at the elementary schools within Boyd and Greenup counties. After being supplied with a list of school supplies and clothing sizes, YPA members are responsible for finding individuals to sponsor the children. Backpacks are returned to the Ashland Alliance office prior to the first week of school.
How to Get Involved
- Participation in the backpack program can be achieved in one of the following four ways:
- Sponsor a child on your own. Pick one child and purchase all of the needed supplies.
- Sponsor with a group. Instead of taking on the responsibility for all of a child’s supplies, join with a coworker to sponsor a single child.
- Become a Business Coordinator. As a business coordinator you are our primary contact for your group or business. While this does carry some added responsibility, the most important part of the job is to help generate interest within the workplace. Ideally, you would generate a list of interested participants, and facilitate the sponsorship of children within the organization.
- Many organizations in the area provide excellent examples of the results that can be achieved by having a business coordinator within the organization. Employees at Marathon Petroleum have taken on the responsibility of providing all of the requested backpacks at two elementary schools. Peoples Bank employees have been a vital part of the programs success over the past three years by setting goals and encouraging the involvement of associates and customers. The bank’s management has participated by sponsoring a contest in which teams are formed with the goal of finding sponsorship for the most backpacks. The employees at Kings Daughters Medical Center and Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital were also actively involved in the 2006 program due to excellent coordinators within the organization.
- Provide a monetary contribution to the Ashland Alliance Foundation for the benefit of the program. All contributions to the foundation are tax deductible.
- Wurtland baseball field cleanup
- Ashland Repair Fair
- First Steps to Financial Literacy: 2nd Grade Savings Education Project (Berenstain Bear Book “Dollars and Sense”)
- Contributions to the ACTC Emergency Scholarship Fund
- Greenup Habitat for Humanity
- Kentucky Kids Count
Christy Hajjar, President
Christina D. Hajjar is an associate in the Ashland, Kentucky, office of VanAntwerp Attorneys, LLP where she focuses her practice on real estate, workers’ compensation defense, labor and employment, and oil and gas litigation. Christina serves on the Kentucky Defense Counsel’s Young Lawyers Committee and is a member of the Boyd County, Kentucky, and American Bar Associations. She is a graduate or Russell High School, the University of Kentucky, and the University of Kentucky College of Law. She and her husband are board members of River Cities Harvest, a nonprofit food rescue agency whose mission is to alleviate hunger in the community. She enjoys spending time with her family, especially her two children, Brady (6) and Anna (4), practicing power yoga, and baking desserts.
Geoff Griffith, Treasurer
Geoff Griffith is a tax director with the firm of Kelley Galloway Smith Goolsby, PSC. He currently reside in Russell, KY with my wife of 14 years Katie, and three sons Landon (9), Tyson (5), and Roman (2). Geoff is a graduate of Greenup County High School and the University of Kentucky. He is a member of the American Society of CPAs and the Kentucky Society of CPAs. He has 15-plus years of experience in public accounting and holds four professional certifications. Geoff is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Accredited in Business Valuation (ABV), Certified in Financial Forensics (CFF), and Charted Global Management Accountant (CGMA).
Ryan Reames, Vice President Events
Ashley Adkins, Vice President Membership
Amanda Clark, Vice President Communications
Amanda Clark is the Adult Program Supervisor at Boyd County Public Library. She is also an Ashland City Commissioner. Amanda serves on the board for Ashland in Motion. She is a member of the Boyd County Extension Council, Ashland Family Resource Centers Advisory Council, Friends of the Children and the Ashland Lions Club. Amanda and her husband Brian have been married for 20 years. They have two sons, Casey and Drew, that keep them busy. Amanda spends much of free time at a soccer or baseball field. She is an avid reader and also makes jewelry and other accessories when time allows.
Mandy Medinger is the Director of Human Resources at Community Hospice in Ashland. Mandy has worked for Community Hospice for 12 years. She resides in Ironton with her husband Nick and two sons, Brady and Blake.