Leadership Team

Megan Zelinksy

Megan Zelinksy

Megan started volunteering with NSRC in 2011 as a way to connect to her local Grand Rapids community in a meaningful way. While she had coached youth sports for many years, she surprisingly was never a runner. This changed during her first year with NSRC. She quickly became so inspired by the growth she witnessed in our youth runners both individually and as a team as they exceeded even their own expectations. Working in partnership with our youth, she began to love running herself. In 2014, she jumped at the opportunity to use her Masters’ in Social Work and Public Administration from Grand Valley State University to contribute to the leadership team of NSRC. At present, she continues to serve the Board of Directors remotely from Boston, MA as she completes her Ph.D. in Public Health. With this experience, she assists in providing grant writing, program development, and nonprofit financial management experience to NSRC. Volunteering for NSRC is important to her as it demonstrates how simple resources—time, passion, energy—from a group of committed youth and adults can lead to amazing results in our community.

Liza Alvarez

Liza Alvarez

By God’s grace Liza has been able to serve our youth through NSRC since 2014.  She sees herself and her siblings in the kids we serve because they were them.  She came from this community and was considered an “at-risk youth” with similar challenges to those of the kids we serve.  It was because of programs like NSRC that she is a successful, independent, strong, woman who cares about her community.  Today she works in human resources and holds an MBA from Cornerstone University.  She firmly believes that her story is their story and it is such a privilege and honor to give back to the community she comes from through a program that instills values in community, health, family, as well as individual strength and confidence.  Each year she is amazed at how much she is positively impacted by seeing the hard work and success of the program participants; as a volunteer, she too get so much out of the program!

Sandy Talsma

Sandy Talsma

Sandy is a grandma who enjoys baking, working with numbers, reading, hiking, traveling with her husband and being able to volunteer for worthwhile causes.  The goal and mission of NSRC was the reason she wanted to volunteer. Her favorite part of being involved is the excitement of seeing a runner who didn’t think it was possible to run a mile, train for weeks and then cross the finish line of a race along with a running volunteer who encouraged him or her along the way.

Lisa Abramowski

Lisa Abramowski

Lisa is a kindergarten teacher by day and a distance runner by night. She loves helping her students at Belmont Elementary (in Rockford Public Schools) fall in love with learning for the first time. Lisa’s passion for working with people and for running overlap in many areas in her life. In addition to her role with No Surrender Running, Lisa also coordinates and coaches Girls on the Run teams and raises funds for clean drinking water with Team World Vision. Lisa loves running with and learning from the amazing kids of No Surrender. They inspire her to push her limits and work hard to reach her goals!

Jules Gilbert

Jules Gilbert

Jules first heard about No Surrender the winter of 2017, and started volunteering for her first season in April of that year. Fellow board member and friend, Liza, introduced her to the organization during a training run on Kent trails. 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 had 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 success.

Alec Gilbert

Alec Gilbert

A native Grand Rapidian, Alec was introduced to nonprofit work though his mother Susan Gilbert. He continued this passion through his church, Bethlehem Church, and through student organizations at Grand Valley State University where Alec completed his degree in 2012. Introduced to NSRC through his wife, Jules Gilbert, Alec joined the organization in 2017. Accompanied by his little brother through the Big Brother/Big Sister program, Alec participated in the 2017 spring and summer sessions of NSRC.

Alec brings two of his biggest passions to NSRC, heath/fitness and bettering the lives of youth. Although new to running Alec has always participated in various sports including soccer, flag football, snowboarding, ultimate Frisbee, rowing, and weightlifting. Alec knows that regular physical activity improves happiness, health, and confidence and he wants to share that with the youth of NSRC and make it a lifelong habit.

Laura Caprara