Heather and I have been at this Lasting Impact! effort for almost four years now. Perhaps you knew us before and have been with us for the whole journey. Perhaps you are new to the Lasting Impact! family. Either way, we want to take a moment this year to welcome you and to remind you of who we are.
First and foremost, we are wives and mothers and followers of Christ. We are managing homes and growing, changing families and we are trying to live out a witness in a strange and changing culture. Despite how things seem to change almost daily around us, Heather and I consistently find that our calling has really not changed at all.
Heather Neumann lives in Wisconsin and is both the face of Lasting Impact! and the energy that keeps us supercharged. She and her husband Jim designed Lasting Impact! and own/operate the site. Heather is an exceptionally creative person, a constant idea generator, and an emotionally invested leader. You simply won’t find a bigger heart on the planet, and that heart is for kids. Heather works with four different speech leagues, Ted Talks, numerous support companies in the speech industry, speech club leaders, youth theater, youth soccer, and anyone else she happens to cross paths with. She travels widely across the country and is a much sought-after teacher, coach, and workshop/camp director. She and Jim are constantly utilizing their technology to open new doors and provide new opportunities. She’s indefatigable! And her whole goal is to infuse kids with courage and confidence in these dark times. She longs for them to know they have a voice and she is an expert at helping them use that voice in a large variety of formats.
I’m Kristi Eskelund, and I live on a farm in North Carolina now that my husband has retired from the military. I’ve always been the wind beneath Heather’s wings. I’m more in the background as a sounding board for ideas, a dose of encouragement, a teacher’s perspective. My experience goes back to my own youth when I began competing in Optimist Oratory as well as school league competitive forensics. I taught public high school English and Speech. I taught public speaking community college extension classes. I home-schooled for 21 years. I’ve also been an AWANA leader, done community theater, led a 4-H club, and currently volunteer in a small, rural, Title 1 public school. My goal has always been to equip kids. I want them to have good logical analysis and a winsome manner, so they are not taken captive by hollow and deceptive philosophies.
We see the trend of the culture to make fear a virtue, and we know that fear is not who we are – not as Christians, not as Americans, not as young people ready to take a place in the adult world. We understand the deceptions and distractions at work in our distribution of information and we know that it is only TRUTH that sets us free and keeps us free. We feel the weight of the current regulations to be distant from one another, and we know that this, too, is not how we impact lives or cultures. We need connections. We need perspective that comes with rational conversations and real relationships. While the culture changes around us, Heather and I long to find a way to thrive in new circumstances with our same gifts and talents and with tried and true values.
Heather and I talk often. We find consistently that our mission is to help kids – any kids – all kids. We also find consistently that this mission transcends any other affiliations we may have. We’ve just served in too many different scenarios to limit ourselves to any one of them. Again, and again, we find that we have outreach- impact even – regardless of where we live, who we coach, or where/how our kids compete. We believe that’s why we found each other. That’s why we created Lasting Impact! That’s why we labor to keep it low cost and practical. Heather and I both recognize that our gifts are not for us; they are for the Kingdom.
As we begin a new season that is anything but normal, we thank you for sharing all that we have to offer. You are always the reason we keep at this. We believe you – whether you are a student, parent, club leader, new or seasoned- You got this… cuz He’s Got You!
So much love,
Heather and Kristi
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