The following story appeared in the June 25 Idaho Catholic Register.
by Ariana Watson
and the Idaho Catholic Register
In the few weeks left before he sets off to hike the John Muir Trail in northern California’s Sierra Nevada mountain range, Grant Breidenbach, 22, has been reflecting on the past four years of his time spent with St. Vincent de Paul of Southwest Idaho.
Breidenbach began his time with St. Vincent de Paul Southwest Idaho as a volunteer, helping at the Broadway Thrift Store, sorting through donations and doing his charitable part to serve his community. During his time as a volunteer, he learned more about the mission of the organization, and how the non-profit helps prevents homelessness in the Treasure Valley.
‘Working here allowed me to meet amazing people from all sorts of challenging situations from addiction to crippling poverty. It changed my heart. I have so much more empathy for the people in our community who are working through hard times.’
St. Vincent de Paul of Southwest Idaho
After Breidenbach told managers at the thrift store that he was pursuing his marketing degree at Boise State University, the managers decided to introduce him to the organization’s executive director, Ralph May. Impressed by Breidenbach’s drive and dedication, May asked Breidenbach to move his volunteer time to the administrative office and flex his marketing skills for the organization.
That was now three years ago and that volunteer position transitioned into a full-time paid position as marketing director. Juggling full-time school and full-time work, Breidenbach was able to fully realize his education through his work with St. Vincent de Paul of Southwest Idaho.
At the same time St. Vincent de Paul was growing, I was growing,” Breidenbach said. “I was able to illuminate my studies from Boise State, and, at the same time, was able to bring my education from BSU into this organization. There was this unmatchable synergy,” he said.
As marketing director, Breidenbach built a brand identity for SVdP, creating a social media presence, a thorough and intuitive website, and the slogan of “Preventing Homelessness.”
“Working for St. Vincent de Paul has allowed me to be the hands and feet of Jesus,” Breidenbach said. “It has let me tell the stories of people who have never shared their stories before. Working here allowed me to meet amazing people from all sorts of challenging situations from addiction to crippling poverty. It changed my heart. I have so much more empathy for the people in our community who are working through hard times.”
Breidenbach graduated this year summa cum laude from Boise State with two bachelor’s degrees, one in Marketing Management and one in Entrepreneurship Management.
In late June, Breidenbach will leave St. Vincent de Paul for a 23-day hike on the John Muir Trail, a 250-mile trek in Yosemite Valley that traverses through the Sierra Mountains. Breidenbach says he’s looking forward to the chance to reflect about his last four years at St. Vincent de Paul and what lies ahead in his future career as marketing manager for a company that makes products for backpackers in Boulder, Colo. “I feel the greatest connection to the Lord when I’m in wilderness spaces and am amongst His creation,” he said.
“It’s been wonderful to work for an organization where I can put my faith to work every day and can work in an environment where I can put my faith into action,” says Breidenbach.
“Grant brought his tremendous intellect, creativity and passion to this organization for a miraculous result,” said Ralph May, SVdP’s executive director. “He is beloved and will be sorely missed,” May said.
“Our older volunteers have come to love and appreciate Grant, marveling at this abilities and thoughtfulness despite his youth,” he said. “We are excited to see what God has in store for him next.”
Ariana Watson does volunteer coordination for St. Vincent de Paul of Southwest Idaho.
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