During his freshman year at Western Michigan University in 2013, Tinashe Chaponda started FOCUS Kalamazoo after being inspired while participating in Derek Jeter’s, "Jeter’s Leaders" program in high school. While being in the Jeter’s Leaders, Tinashe had the opportunity of volunteering and helping direct leadership workshops throughout Kalamazoo and around the United States. When he came to Western Michigan University, he wanted to create an organization that brought together students who desired to continue to make a change in their community after graduating from high school.
The name “FOCUS” is symbolic of what Tinashe and his friends wanted to get others to do. He wanted others to FOCUS on what the core purpose of volunteering is all about. Tinashe not only wanted students to be to volunteer, but also to develop as individuals and leaders in their community. Tinashe realized that the only way students would be able to have opportunities to give back was to be able to build and maintain various relationships with nonprofit organizations around Kalamazoo. This would allow for the increase in quality of volunteer experiences for every individual who volunteered with FOCUS Kalamazoo.
Creating and providing sustainable volunteerism, to empower individuals through education, development, and connections.
FOCUS Kalamazoo was created with the following purposes:
To empower individuals to make a positive impact within their community; provide opportunities for resources, self-developmental programs, support; develop a developmental mentor program; and training for volunteers.
To collaborate with other charitable organizations, through grants and otherwise, which are working to develop a community-oriented culture.
FOCUS Kalamazoo will engage youth and adults within the Kalamazoo County and surrounding areas with volunteer opportunities. We will unite individuals to FOCUS on common core goals within our communities.
Empowering and encouraging individuals to display and utilize personal skills.
Deep awareness for the suffering of others coupled with the wish to relieve it, alongside the appreciations for the value it brings, all while being non-judgemental
Obtaining knowledge and skills through a learning process to better one's self and others.
Unifying individuals persons and their changing set of relationships, attitudes, and behaviors.