We’re excited to introduce you to the always interesting and insightful Virginia Hinkle. We hope you’ll enjoy our conversation with Virginia below.
Hi Virginia, really happy you were able to join us today and we’re looking forward to sharing your story and insights with our readers. Let’s start with the heart of it all – purpose. How did you find your purpose?
I didn’t just wake up one day and decide to become the president of a nonprofit supporting staff in public education. My journey started at a very young age, observing my mother’s servant heart and generosity, as well as my father’s work ethic and extravagant giving. I knew I wanted to work in the nonprofit sector from a very young age, inspired by the examples set by my parents.
Before my mother became a stay-at-home mom to her four children, she was an exceptional teacher who dedicated herself to her job. My older sister, Katie, pursued her education and earned a master’s degree in education, teaching in both public and private schools. My uncle John devoted his entire life to teaching, going above and beyond to serve the school in many ways. My sister Jeanne taught acting and dance, displaying incredible work ethic and even starting her own nonprofit several years ago. My eldest brother Stephen excels in everything he takes on, demonstrating a tremendous work ethic and dedication to his clients, all while generously giving back to causes he believes in. Needless to say, I have numerous examples in my life from immediate family members who possess servant hearts, work diligently, and are extremely generous with their time and resources. They played a significant role in shaping the person I am today.
One of the pivotal moments in my life was when I volunteered on a service project with my father at a Habitat for Humanity house. I fell in love with the organization, and after graduating from college, I began working for them full-time. It was then that I realized my calling: to help people and make a direct impact in their lives. However, it wasn’t until 2008, when I fully committed my heart and life to Christ, that I found my purpose in Him. Since that day, I have embarked on a journey of prayer and reflection, living my life for God, serving in the church, and eagerly awaiting God’s calling.
I started feeling a sense that I was being called out of my roles at the church and into a new season of serving my local community in the city and school district. I genuinely followed the opportunities that God placed before me, striving to live my life as a reflection of His love wherever I went. I am far from perfect, but every day, I strive to live and serve the Lord.
In 2020, when someone from my child’s local school contracted Covid-19 and became seriously ill, I reached out to them and organized a group of people to assist them on their challenging journey. Fortunately, they recovered, though there were moments of uncertainty. I turned to my wonderful husband, Roth, and expressed my desire to continue helping anyone else in need, regardless of the challenges ahead. He responded, “Let’s do it until we can’t do it anymore.” This marked the beginning of a significant movement that evolved into an outreach program focused on spreading love in the community, eventually leading to the creation of Dragons Care—a nonprofit supporting teachers, staff, and School Resource Officers (SROs) in the Carroll Independent School District (CISD) during times of personal hardship, whether due to illness, injury, or family tragedy.
Our mission is to serve, support, and show love to our staff as they care for our children on a daily basis. We hope that by strengthening parent-staff relations, we can foster greater unity within our school district and demonstrate to CISD staff how much our community values them. Additionally, we aim to increase retention and recruitment of excellent staff for the school district, which is essential for providing a high-quality educational experience for our students. I am deeply grateful that God has placed me in this position, enabling me to bring the community together to help others. However, I couldn’t do it alone. Running Dragons Care requires a village of parent volunteers who dedicate countless hours each day to make it happen. This is my calling, and this is my purpose—to love my neighbor every day, to serve and to be a reflection of God’s love.
Thanks for sharing that. So, before we get any further into our conversation, can you tell our readers a bit about yourself and what you’re working on?
I work on Dragons Care as if it were a full-time job, collaborating with my team on everything from planning to operations, marketing, social media, public relations, website development, fundraising, events, and more. I have an amazing Executive Team, Board of Directors, and 14 Parent Volunteers who oversee all 11 campuses and 3 additional buildings/departments at our public school. Every single person on this team is a parent volunteer with at least one child in the school district, and many of them dedicate countless hours each week to help run Dragons Care’s operations. One of the most rewarding aspects of being a part of this organization is collaborating and working alongside them to trail blaze a path for an innovative non-profit. One thing we are all particularly proud of is that we have very minimal operating costs because of our generous sponsors, and we handle all the work ourselves. While other non-profits may have a higher operating percentage, our goal is to keep ours incredibly low so that the funds can directly benefit the people who need it most: the staff.
This incredible team has recently developed a new sponsorship packet for the 2023/24 year. If the goals in this packet are met, it will provide us with the opportunity to increase our ability to provide more financial assistance to the staff in the future. To explore these opportunities, please visit our website and get involved today: https://www.dragons-care.org/sponsors
If you had to pick three qualities that are most important to develop, which three would you say matter most?
Stay positive: I used to believe that my success solely depended on my efforts, but now I place my full trust in God, knowing that if I am doing what He has called me to do, it will lead to success. This doesn’t mean that I don’t work incredibly hard; it simply means I don’t burden myself with the pressure of achieving perfection. I find joy in the moments and embrace the journey.
Be Teachable: There is always someone who has been in your shoes before. Seek out leaders around you who can offer guidance and point you in the right direction. And don’t limit yourself to just one mentor. Seeking advice and counsel from multiple respected individuals is crucial in navigating the world of business and non-profit work. Even as you gain traction, continue to meet with people, keep evolving, and work diligently. Invest in building strong relationships, and when the time comes, share your wisdom with others who seek your advice.
Always think about how you can improve: After every event, marketing campaign, or fundraiser, I sit down with my team and ask for their opinions on how it went and how we can make it better in the future. Sometimes this occurs during a large group meeting, but most often, it happens during the day-to-day operations of running a non-profit corporation. I encourage people not to dwell on past missteps but to view each experience as an opportunity for growth.
Okay, so before we go we always love to ask if you are looking for folks to partner or collaborate with?
Absolutely! We are actively seeking businesses and individuals who share our passion for making a positive impact in the community to partner with us as sponsors for Dragons Care. Our mission is to further unite the community and provide essential support to our staff, teachers, and School Resource Officers (SROs) as they navigate personal hardships caused by illness, injury, or family tragedies.
Who We’re Looking to Collaborate With:
We welcome collaboration with businesses and individuals who are driven by the desire to give back and create a brighter future for those in need. If you are committed to making a difference in the lives of our public school educators and staff, then you are precisely the kind of partner we’re looking for.
How You Can Get Involved:
By joining us as a sponsor, you’ll play a vital role in achieving our goals for the upcoming year:
Covering Event Costs: We aim to have all event costs covered through in-kind donations or event sponsors, allowing us to eliminate operational expenses for Dragons Care. This ensures that every dollar raised goes directly toward supporting those in need.
Raising $100K for Staff Support: Our second goal is to raise $100,000 to provide crucial financial support to our dedicated staff, teachers, and School Resource Officers facing challenging circumstances. From coping with family losses to battling serious illnesses like cancer, our public school workers require our assistance more than ever. Our overall goal is to increase the amount we can fundraise to truly make a difference in their lives.
How to Connect With Us:
If you are ready to collaborate and make a meaningful impact, we invite you to take the next step:
Visit Our Sponsorship Page: To explore sponsorship opportunities and learn more about our initiatives, please visit our sponsorship page at https://www.dragons-care.org/sponsors.
Reach Out to Us: For any inquiries or to discuss how you can contribute, please don’t hesitate to contact us. You can connect with our Vice President of Communications at email@example.com.
Join us today in making a positive change within our community. Together, we can provide hope and assistance to those who need it most. Your collaboration can be the driving force for positive transformation.
Morgan Brown Photography and amwz photography