My experience with the UVC Board

Grant Swanson

Over the past two years, it has been an honor and a privilege to serve on the United Voices for Children board. I am a Deacon in the United Methodist Church who serves as the Recruitment Coordinator at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary for my primary appointment and at Urban Village Church, Chicago, for my secondary appointment. As a Deacon, I understand my vocational call under the broad umbrella of educational ministry. United Voices for Children has enabled me to uniquely live into that call through social media community organizing, partnership building with a new advocacy organization, and deepening relationships with our child-serving agencies.

When I joined the board, there was a desire for an increased and consistent presence on social media. As someone who generates social media posts for work, this was a natural fit for me. Through our brainstorming sessions together as a board, we decided that building a community of advocates for the mission and work of UVC through social media platforms would have a greater impact than just producing more content. As a result, I formulated a proposal for a ‘Social Media Ambassador’ program that was unanimously approved by the board. After two intentional recruitment campaigns, we now have over two dozen Social Media Ambassadors who are committed to sharing UVC-generated social media posts twice a week through their networks. Not only has this been a great way to disperse relevant information regarding childhood advocacy and ways to be involved with UVC, but it has been a great way to connect with folks who are passionate about the flourishing of our children, their families, and our communities. If this excites you, please reach out to to volunteer as a Social Media Ambassador today!

Another wonderful pursuit of the board has been building a new relationship with Voices for Illinois Children, an independent organization that utilizes data and research to intentionally advocate for particular policies and resources for Illinois children and their families. This partnership has enabled UVC to be more aware of the raw numbers, data, and tangible challenges facing our children and families in Illinois, as well as to know what policies, legislation, and other initiatives to champion in order to address those challenges. Through our work with Voices for Illinois Children, we recognized the need for a designated staff member on the board to intentionally focus our policy/legislative advocacy work. As a result, the brilliant Rev. Beverly Dukes joined us as the UVC Public Policy Coordinator. Rev. Dukes’ work has been shaping how UVC puts our mission into practice both in the present and future. It is so exciting to see our board move evermore in this direction under Rev. Dukes leadership.

The greatest joy of my time on the UVC board has been building a deeper relationship with our three partner child-serving agencies: Kids Above All, MYSI, and Rosecrance. These incredible organizations are doing invaluable work in our communities to ensure the flourishing of our children and their families. Each partner agency has an amazing representative on the board who reports about their agency’s business at each meeting. Being able to learn about the vital ministry work going on in our city through these agencies and discover the ways in which we, as individuals, as a board, and as a Church, can support the agencies in this work, is life-giving and inspiring. Furthermore, connecting the work, initiatives, and information coming from our agencies with our Social Media Ambassadors’ networks has been a great way to disseminate information and ways to participate even more widely. Kids Above All, MYSI, and Rosecrance are a blessing to Illinois children and their families. It has been a joy witnessing and participating in their work first hand through the UVC board.

Finally, being a part of the UVC board community of colleagues has been a pure delight. Each of my colleagues is involved in the ministry of child-advocacy in unique and vital ways. My time on the board has not only enabled me to live into my vocational call of educational ministry, but it has established deep and long lasting friendships, challenged me to grow as a person and child advocate, and connected me with a network of holy troublemakers with whom I plan to serve long into the future.

Are you passionate about child advocacy and the flourishing of Illinois children and their families? Please inquire about the board nomination process today by emailing We are always on the lookout for new change agents and child advocates to join our mission and vision at UVC!

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