Rosy is a Senior at Hope Academy of Western Michigan. She started with NSRC in 2018 as a first time runner. She ran her first 10 mile race at the LMCU Bridge Run that year. Rosy started to enjoy running through NSRC and wanted to run longer races. Rosy has always had a passion for kids and wants to work with kids as an RN. Rosy knows how great it is to have someone by your side when running and wanted to be someone else’s support person. Rosy helps to lead practices, mentors young runners accomplish their goals, and assists with program evaluation efforts. She currently is training to run half marathons and 25K races.
Sofía Ramírez Hernández (she/they) is a local artist, educator, coach, mentor, jokester, and living room karaoke star. Sofía moved to Grand Rapids in 2008, got a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Art from Kendall College of Art and Design in 2014, won the 2D Juried Prize at ArtPrize Nine in 2017 for her (still growing) non-negotiable daily practice “Sofía Draws Every Day,” and has been developing youth and family programming for the last decade with a focus on joy, self-documentation, feats of endurance, and creativity as a birthright.
Sofía’s love for running was ignited as a teen, but it wasn’t until she was 25 that she started riding her bike long distances with her friends and diving head-first into sprint triathlons and long-distance foot races. Soon, Sofía found herself happiest during trail runs and long runs, training and racing mostly on her own for a handful of years. In 2021, Sofía joined No Surrender Running Club to accompany some friends and has returned every spring, enjoying getting to share one of her passions with her community and getting to run with people of all ages. Sofía dreams of having a part in changing the oftentimes exclusive and discriminatory landscape around running and other endurance sports in west Michigan, and plans to do so one practice meet-up at a time.
Luis first saw the impact of NSRN while volunteering to help out in a booth during the 2020 race. After noticing the importance and the impact NSRN was doing on the youths, he decided to start running with the group in 2021. Luis currently works at Steelcase as an Applications Engineer. He also enjoys building and enhancing software and website for non-profits who are mission-driven to make a change in the community.
Gladys is a Puerto Rican mother of two boys, a Registered Nurse, and an on-again-off-again runner. She especially loves trail running and obstacle course racing. Gladys’ 10+ year nursing career has been spent working in community health in the Roosevelt Park area of Grand Rapids. She is passionate about health equity, disease prevention, and healthy lifestyle coaching. Her motto is “Social Justice through Nursing.” Gladys looks forward to working with youth by encouraging healthy lifestyles from an early age. She believes that not only are individuals impacted by this, but also entire communities for generations to come.
Ashley graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in Communications, specializing in Public Relations and Journalism. In 2009, Ashley completed her non-profit management and leadership graduate certificate program at Lawrence Technological University and in 2012 her Master of Science Administration in Leadership at Central Michigan University.
Ashley Diersch started her career in the nonprofit sector with Special Olympics Michigan in fund development. She specialized in event management and marketing, volunteer recruitment and management, corporate sponsorship, donor relations, and peer to peer fundraising for her eight years there. Ashley joined Kids’ Food Basket in December of 2014 as the Senior Manager of Corporate and Foundation Relations. She brought much of her experience from Special Olympics Michigan to Kids’ Food Basket: focusing on growth and strategy with our corporate and foundation partners in West Michigan. In 2016, Ashley moved to Senior Development Manager to oversee the development team, and in January 2018, Ashley was promoted to Development Director focusing on the overall development strategies for Kids’ Food Basket. She led the Feeding our Future expansion campaign to launch the Urban Growing and Experiential Learning program as well as build a new headquarters in Kent County and through this campaign Kids’ Food Basket has raised about $8.5 million in three years in addition to continuing to strengthen their annual operating budget. Additionally, Ashley played a role in the Feeding Our Future expansion campaign in Ottawa + Allegan counties to expand our remodel a new facility in Ottawa County and expand our critical services to Allegan County. In July of 2020, Ashley moved into the Senior Development Director role and has been instrumental in the continued growth and scaling of our annual operating budget while navigating how to lead a team and fundraise successfully during the global pandemic. Ashley was promoted into the role of Vice President of Development in 2021 as she leads the teams fundraising efforts through Kids’ Food Basket’s 20 Year Anniversary celebration, future expansion campaigns and efforts to continue to amplify our fundraising growth to continue to nourish our local community to reach their full potential.
Ashley is an emeritus member of the D.A. Blodgett St. John’s – Emerging Leaders Council. She was also on the inaugural planning committee for the Inaugural Grand Rapids Asian Festival in 2017. In 2018, she joined the Grand Rapids Young Professional board of directors, as a development co-director and is responsible for planning their annual gala. Outside of these, Ashley is also on the board of directors for the Association of Fundraising Professionals and is currently serving as president elect. She is part of the AFP Mentorship program, sits on the National Philanthropy Day committee and is also the liaison to the AFP Student Chapter at Grand Valley State University. She is also on the board at the West Michigan Asian American Association, most recently serving as the treasurer and now a board member at large, and the planning committee for the Grand Rapids International Network (focused on international talent retention and recruitment to the Grand Rapids community). Ashley is also an active member of the national Women of Color organization, participating as both a mentor and a mentee through their mentorship program. She is also a part of an annual Amway Scholarship review committee through Williams Group. Ashley was a finalist for the 2018 Young Athena Award and was awarded the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network (YNPN) Professional of the Year Award in the fall of 2018.
Ashley still volunteers for Special Olympics Michigan when she can. She lives in Caledonia with her new husband, Carl, and two dogs Teddie and Colby Jackson.
Haley is a wife, mom of 3, and juvenile probation officer. Haley discovered her love of running in college and has since completed many distance races and triathlons. She works for Kent County and is always looking for new ways to engage youth on her caseload in community activities. NSRC has created a space for several court staff to connect with the youth that they work with in different ways as they physically run alongside each other and accomplish goals together. Haley has loved getting to know the volunteers and youth who participate in NSRC. They are so encouraging and keep Haley motivated to keep running distance races despite saying “This is the last one,” every time she crosses a finish line.
Jules started volunteering with NSRC in 2018. Inspired by how running had positively impacted her own life, Jules couldn’t wait to share the sport with Grand Rapids youth. That first year as a volunteer affirmed everything she has heard to be true about NSRC and motivated her to join the Board. Jules looks forward to utilizing her passion for running, attention to detail, and drive to succeed to contribute to NSRC’s impact and growth.
Megan has her Ph.D. in Population Health from Northeastern University and currently works at the Evaluation Center at Western Michigan University. She started volunteering with NSRC in 2011. While she had coached youth sports for many years, she was never a runner. This changed during her first year with NSRC. She quickly became motivated by the youth she ran with individually and as a team. Megan applies her background in Evaluation, Public administration, Social Work, and Health Equity to her position with NSRC. She is very passionate about sport-for-development, program development, evaluation and organizational capacity building.