Shea Politte, Founder & President at The FOUND Mission
About eight years ago, I reluctantly showed up to a PTO meeting. After much discussion about all the activities and opportunities for the coming year, someone mentioned a food pantry and clothes closet inside the school to serve children in need. My heart started beating out of my chest. The PTO president said they were looking for someone to sign up to be the main liaison for each grade level. I did the math in my head and realized I would have at least one child in that school for the next seven years. My hand went up.
My heart said out loud:
“Put me down for the next seven years.”
After now eight years of serving inside schools, I realized how powerful it can be to provide a space like this. So I started FOUND Mission, a non-profit to help support local schools, teachers, administrators, and school site coordinators. I am making this my full time job.
I want to see a resource room similar to our “Pirate Pantry” in schools across the nation, and even the globe. I want to step into the lives of people who want to help and connect them with students who need it.
Public schools are the perfect place to make the connection.
The teachers, administrators, counselors, and support staff can all use some encouragement too.
Now more than ever.
Ashley Gregory: “The first time I met her was basically, the PTO meeting. When I was on the website, I saw the campaign and she was the first person that popped into my head."
"“Shea is a spiritual, caring, honest, and compassionate person who selflessly serves others in need.
Shea’s just honest and raw, someone we can all relate to, but she also dares to face challenges and say how it impacts so many people.”
What is the purpose of FOUND...
FOUND Mission supports Communities in Schools by establishing ourselves as dispatchers to meet the needs they face on a weekly basis. They need a refrigerator for a family We find one. A family loses their home to a fire? We gather items from around the city to refurnish their new home and help them rebuild. Students show up unequipped to learn? We bring in snacks, warm clothing, hygiene items, grief blankets, water bottles … anything they ask for.
Our goal is for this relationship to grow. As we put tools into the hands of CIS site coordinators, they are freed up to love on students, listen to them, and continue to meet their needs so they can learn.
What motivated me to start FOUND...
I’m very passionate about finding needs in the community and connecting people who would like to meet those needs with the people who have them. I’m the person who will stand in between and connect the needs in the community to the people who either have the gifts and/or talents that can empower people.
As somebody who struggles with depression, the number one thing is getting out of bed every day. That’s my superpower, that’s my ritual. Just being able to find the strength that gives me the motivation to move toward places that are dark and bring the light.
My greatest challenge...
A lot of the kids that we love to serve don’t fit into the systems that are in place. I'm really passionate about equity and education and making sure everybody has the tools that they need to be showing up with the same opportunities every day.
How do I overcome that challenge...
I have learned to welcome them. I didn't early on, that's why I have counselors, therapists, and good friends.
If I had a magic wand, I would...
Love to see equality.
I love people. I love reading. I love traveling.
I believe ritual is important because...
My faith is in Christ and if I forget that he is infusing me with all the energy and all the strength, the air in my lungs... I trip over my own self. I get prideful, I get distracted. And I miss out, I miss out on people and things.
Getting out of bed and connecting with my creator just sets me up to remember the big picture in life, that it's not about me, but that there is so much more to be found when I walk with him.
I am mindful about...
Where people come from when I'm with them... their stories. My dad raised me to know and understand that life isn't about what you accomplish - it's about how you treat people in the process.
Every interaction, every question, every opportunity to serve them is going to meet them where they are, not necessarily where I am.
How can members of the BuDhaGirl tribe help your non-profit?
Just sharing our story. We want to create pathways for people to jump in and join us. You can learn more by visiting https://www.thefoundmission.com/.