When Frankie Roskam was 9 years old, she had an inkling of what she wanted to do in her adult life, and it involved helping others.
Shortly after graduating from Miami University, she founded a nonprofit that made her vision come true.
Justification of Youth (JOY) forms relationships with international groups and communities to send college students to serve children in developing countries.
The 501(c)(3) organization was founded by Roskam while she attended Miami University, and now the 2015 graduate is the CEO of JOY.
Roskam majored in Latin American studies, and before that, her mother accompanied her to the Dominican Republic when she was 9. In 2013, Roskam returned to the country on an internship through a program called Kids Alive, which allowed her to teach first-grade students and work with orphaned children.
She also served as a teaching assistant with St. Mary’s College of California, directing service-learning programs and sports clinics for orphans and at-risk children in the Dominican Republic.
Andy Saultz, assistant professor of educational leadership at Miami, helped Roskam develop JOY. He said her work ethic and passion for helping others helped her succeed in creating the nonprofit.
“In rare cases, you will find a student who is confident about the direction they have in life and their calling,” Saultz said in a provided statement. “In even rarer circumstances, particularly with Frankie, you have a student that not only identifies their passion but moves forward with it.”
Roskam, with assistance from Saultz, came up with the idea to co-teach a class called Community-Based Leadership in the Dominican Republic. It was a success, and that prompted her to have students in that class help and tutors others.
Now JOY has emerged as a nonprofit with a big mission.
“We are an international nonprofit organization that facilitates purposeful travel to reach at-risk and orphaned children abroad,” Roskam said. “JOY brings international programs and leadership opportunities to college students. We provide at-risk and orphaned children with a meaningful connection to these students in-country.”
JOY partners with Kids Alive International, a ministry that provides safe shelter, nutritious meals, medicine and education through residential homes and care centers. They operate multiple schools and orphanages across the country according to Roskam.
She added that JOY has organized five student mission trips in the past year to the Dominican Republic, generating over $30,000 in Kids Alive charitable contributions.
Roskam has also been successful in getting her agency to form partnerships with three universities and two international organizations. There are collegiate chapters of JOY at Miami University, Taylor University and Notre Dame University.
Retiring Miami University President David Hodge tweeted his support for Roskam and her nonprofit organization.
“The initiative and commitment of Miami students is incredible as Frankie Roskam’s founding of JOY exemplifies,” his Twitter post stated.
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