Long before she became a mother herself, Lauren Kiesling had a heart for, and a love of children. "I had done volunteer work when we lived in New York City and in DC. I've always loved kids, especially kids in need. So when we moved here, I researched the different organizations helping children. Crisis Nursery appealed to me, and I became a shelter volunteer working directly with the kids. I would go in at 6:30 am and help them get ready for school, so I called it my "morning mom role". Then I also did an evening shift where I would read the children a story, brush their teeth, and get them into bed, so I called that my "nighttime mom role! Her generosity and kindness were appreciated by those being sheltered.
Kiesling grew up in Wichita, Kansas, then went to university in Columbia, MO. "After college and eight years on the East coast, my husband got a job in Arizona, and we made the move to the Southwest. It just feels like home here. So many people are from the Midwest, and for such a large city, it is extremely friendly! It's also easy to get around the area, and our parks and outdoor activities are very accessible."
In 2015, Child Crisis Center and Crisis Nursery combined to form one of the largest agencies of its kind in Arizona. Putting these two agencies together created a stronger organization that is better able to meet the needs of vulnerable children and their families. They do this through educational programming and support services, also providing emergency shelter for children in need at their campuses in Mesa and Phoenix.
Lauren was initially involved with Crisis Nursery, and now that they've merged, is thrilled to be able help even more children. “The Friends of Child Crisis Arizona is an amazing group of dedicated volunteer women who have a common love of, and desire to help children. We work to plan an annual gala in addition to working directly with the kids at shelter visits.
Being creative and organized, Lauren has a unique gala planned for this year: "I have a background in event planning, and this is my second year chairing the Child Crisis Arizona Gala. It's going to be a wonderful event! We have huge silent and live auctions with some amazing items- we will be offering vacation packages, a piece of jewelry valued at $20,000 and even a Cadillac that was donated! There will be a live band to provide music for our evening of "Glitz and Glamour", featuring a sort of Gatsby, Roaring 20's inspired theme. The people that attend our galas love having a good time, and it's a notable event of the season!"
Lauren's daughter was born just a year ago, but this young mom has already trained for, and has competed in a triathlon. "It was motivating for me to have to prepare for this event, and it helped me get back into shape!"
Kiesling concludes "I feel so strongly that, especially at this time of year, we need to think of those less fortunate. Children truly are our future, and we should all work to ensure that every child has a childhood worth celebrating!
What are your local volunteer activities? Benefit co-chair for the Friends of Child Crisis Arizona gala, and a Child Crisis Arizona board member.
Who inspired you to give back to your community? My mom. She instilled in me a desire to give back at an early age & I’m grateful!
Which fund raising event is your favorite? Ours, of course!
Favorite restaurant? The Henry, or Chelsea’s Kitchen (nothing beats that back patio!)
Favorite movie? When Harry Met Sally.
Favorite play? “42nd Street”. It holds a special place in my heart as it’s the first one I performed in!
Favorite TV show: Scandal!
Whom do you most admire, and why? My dad for always being 100% himself and being a friend to everyone no matter what.
If your life were a movie, who would you want playing your part? Julia Roberts.
Do you have any pets? A rescue dog, Penny.
When you move, what will your house tell its next owner about you? Hopefully, that I had great taste renovating the kitchen.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learned through the years? Be yourself, trust yourself, love yourself, and everything else will fall into place.
What was your first job? Babysitter- I’ve always loved kids!
What is your greatest indulgence? Nice wine (and the occasional bag of Twizzlers!)
What do you consider to be your greatest achievement? Giving birth to my amazing daughter, Eleanor, just over a year ago.
What is your most treasured possession? My great-grandmother’s pearls- I will pass them on to my daughter someday.
What is the quality you like most in people? Authenticity.
Favorite books/writers? Anything by Jodi Picoult sucks me right in!
What is the trait you most deplore in others? People with a lack of awareness, both generally and specifically.
What do you do in your spare time? With a one year old, I don’t have much, but exercise is very important to me. I completed my first triathlon last September.
What would we be most surprised to learn about you? That I sang the National Anthem for a president.
What is the best advice you’ve ever received? Trust your gut.
What are some challenges facing nonprofits? Fundraising. People have so many choices of where to give, so keeping your brand at the forefront is essential.