“The feeling you get when showered with support is incredible… I just knew I wanted to give back.” – Janelle Barcelona
Janelle was teaching part-time at North Central College and caring for her three adolescent children. Her husband worked as a successful executive. In 1999, her world was disrupted as her husband suffered a major health crisis with long-term health implications and care. Everything changed. Janelle saw this as an opportunity to lead. She created full time work of her career with North Central by offering to teach more programs and classes. Shortly thereafter, she was recruited by a Nonprofit Consulting Agency, which ultimately led her to DuPage Pads.
“I live in REAL stories of REAL people. We have to work to improve, to give hope.” – Janelle Barcelona
She was drawn to DuPage Pads by the passion of the board and dynamic leadership. The mission and vision of the organization completely aligned with Janelle’s perseverance and positive attitude. Throughout her journey, she received support from neighbors, friends, colleagues, and family; she learned the importance of true advocacy. At DuPage Pads, she gets to advocate for individuals and families who are homeless as well as inspire others to join the mission.
In serving in that advocacy role for others, she has developed an opportunity mindset. Rather than seeing situations as challenges to overcome, she sees them as opportunities to achieve. This mindset took a lifetime of training to develop. However, according to Janelle – its roots are found in faith, kindness, and sincerity.
“You’ll get much further if you choose to look at the world through rose-colored lenses.” – Janelle Barcelona
Janelle prides herself on being “the biggest morning person”. She jokes that even her kids have stories of her upbeat morning attitude. Each day, she starts with gratitude, thanking God for everything. Even in the midst of past struggles, Janelle placed her focus on what she has versus what she does not have. It’s in this opportunity mindset where lives are changed, joy is found, avenues for growth are provided, and connection with others is inevitable.
“My journey has made me more compassionate for those we serve.” – Janelle Barcelona
It’s once moments of despair pass and how you respond to the journey ahead that dictates your course. Janelle chooses positivity. She chooses to not only overcome challenges, but to absolutely supersede the challenge altogether in order to find the opportunity. Choose your way and get going!
To learn more about DuPage Pads, visit www.dupagepads.org.
By: Erin D. Wikstrom, CFP®
Headshots courtesy of Megan Drane, Firefly Nights Photography.