Joy Baldwin uses her many talents to help people make a better life, whether it is growing children’s appetites for garden-grown vegetables or growing a small local business.
Baldwin’s program in human services at Lansing Community College required an internship. She did hers at the Northwest Initiative, a nonprofit organization working to strengthen communities on Lansing’s northwest side. During the internship, she was offered a position and is now the food systems project coordinator.
Baldwin’s favorite of the many projects she oversees is School Garden Based Nutrition Education, where classes set up their own garden at the school in order to learn. The learning only begins with growing and eating the food. Math, science, art and social studies are also a focus of the gardens.
“The kids get hands-on learning with this program, and parents tell me things like, ‘Thanks for getting Jimmy to eat zucchini,’” Baldwin said, “I love to hear that.”
Since the gardens continue to grow after the school year ends, the projects turn into summertime learning as well, with many students tending to their work after school lets out.
Baldwin uses her graphic design talent to create posters, pamphlets and other material for her work at Northwest Initiative.
She also designs marketing materials for nonprofit agencies, as well as local individuals and small businesses, for little or no cost in her spare time.
Art is Baldwin’s first love. Growing up underprivileged, she took art classes to get free paint, canvases and clay to work with as an important creative outlet. The material was put to good use, and she finds that her art continues to pay personal dividends.
While seeing her work is a treat, Baldwin doesn’t stop there.
Baldwin also designs Web sites. She set up her own Web site to showcase her creative work, but she also creates sites for others, and does so at little cost.
Baldwin donates her time to set up and maintain sites for several nonprofit organizations in the area, reciting her knowledge of their need and the scarcity of resources.
“People are more important than profit … I almost hate money,” Baldwin said, “But I have to care for my family.”
A wife and mother of two children, Baldwin balances her work and parenting responsibilities while maintaining her ethics.
She knows she could make a lot more money working for a large corporation, but she wants to help people. And she does it in an artistic way.