Grad uses education to give back

Woman entered the non-profit field after experience working in Ottawa with AIDS group

By Andrea Iseman
Life Reporter
Published: March 27, 2008

Humber grads are doing great things for the community through food and fundraising.

Melissa Dedic works for Second Harvest and picks up excess food and delivers it to those is need in the Toronto area.  Photo by Melissa Dedic.

Melissa Dedic works for Second Harvest and picks up excess food and delivers it to those is need in the Toronto area. Photo by Melissa Dedic.

Melissa Dedic, a graduate of the fundraising and volunteer management program, has been working with Second Harvest for a few months, and has raised more food than ever for the organization.

“Since she has been here, food donations have literally gone up every month,” said Kate Ledgley, manager of operations at Second Harvest. “We don’t know what she’s doing, but whatever it is, it’s great.”

Ledgley, 29, herself a graduate of the public relations certificate program in 2001, said Dedic applies the skills she learned at Humber to foodraising.

“She translates what she learned about financial soliciting into foods,” she said. “And food is the centre to what we do.”

Dedic, 26, said one of the reasons she chose Humber was because of the selective acceptance process and the reputation it holds.

“One of the most valuable things I learned from Humber was confidence,” she said. “When I am speaking and networking, it reminds me a lot of what I learned in the program about stewardship.”

Dedic said her experience in university working for the AIDS Community of Ottawa was a huge part of what drew her to the non-profit sector.

“It was the first experience where when I left, I felt a sense of joy and fulfillment I never experienced before,” she said.

Ken Wyman, the fundraising and volunteer management program coordinator, said Dedic’s future success was evident from the start. She went above and beyond what was expected of her, something not all students did.

“For one project, Melissa took it further than any student before,” said Wyman. “She not only did the research, but made contacts and got a response, particularly about the problem; it was a remarkable initiative to take forward.”

Wyman also said on a fundraising assignment Dedic raised the highest amount of money where the students were responsible for running the project on their own: $20,000.

“She was certainly a great student,” he said. “It was obvious that she was going to be doing wonderful things in the non-profit world. It is so satisfying to know that people can go within a year or so of graduating to truly doing things to make the world a safe, better, happier place.”

Second Harvest continues to be grateful for what Dedic is doing for the organization, which most recently included picking up more than 18,000 pounds of food from the Canadian Food and Beverage Show this month.

As well, work in the non-profit industry can sometimes go unnoticed, but Second Harvest maintains it could not succeed without Dedic’s help, which has resulted in a total increase in donations of more than 20 per cent.

“I can see her being a bit humble about that,” said Ledgley, “but our success is due in large part to her efforts.”

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