Interview by Derek Grosso
Name: Jared Buerger
Profession: Outreach Specialist at A Kid Again
Neighborhood: Olde Towne East
Education: Bachelor’s degree for Middle Childhood Studies from The Ohio State University
Community Involvement: Member of Harmony Project, Ohio Citizen Review, Panel on Child Welfare
Quote: “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
Give us a snapshot of your path
While studying to be a teacher at The Ohio State University, I accepted an internship at Ethiopian Tewahedo Social Services (ETSS). It was in my time at ETSS that developed a passion for serving historically underserved communities and realized that the non-profit sector was the most effective place to do that work. After my time at ETSS, I served as Director of Afterschool and Summer Food Service at Children’s Hunger Alliance (CHA). At CHA, I oversaw statewide afterschool and summer feeding efforts to Ohio’s most vulnerable youth. Currently, I am serving as the Outreach Specialist for the A Kid Again – Central Ohio Chapter. In this role, I lead the A Kid Again community outreach efforts, local and state level government affairs strategy, and have a fundraising portfolio.
What gets you up in the morning? And what gets you through the workweek?
Creating opportunities for kids across our region to access the tools and resources to enjoy their childhood to the fullest possible extent gets me up in the morning. An incredible support network of my friends, amazing co workers, family and of course my girlfriend, Tamaliyapo, keeps me going!
What advice or mentors have helped guide you along the way?
Malik Moore, currently the Branch Manager at the Barnett Columbus Metropolitan Library has been my closest professional mentor for many years. Malik has taught me to speak out when I see people or groups of people treated unfairly and how to do the work to make our community a more equitable and fair place for all who call this wonderful city home.
What do you do or where do you go to unwind?
Relaxing with Tamaliyapo on Sunday mornings with a cup of coffee on our patio is a sacred time for us. Additionally, I enjoy listening to WOSU while cooking after a busy work day.
What are a few of your favorite local spots in Columbus?
Upper Cup Coffee on Parsons Ave., Parsons North Brewery, and The Oracle.
When you were a kid, what did you say you wanted to be when you grew up?
When I was a kid I told people I wanted to be “A Helper” when I grew up.
What books or podcasts are you reading/listening to right now?
The 1619 Project by Nikole Hannah-Jones, The Slate Political Gabfest, Revisionist History, True Story with Tig & Cheryl.
What does it mean to you to be chosen for the Next Up Columbus award?
It is a tremendous honor to receive this award. There are so many people in our city doing important work everyday- it is truly humbling to receive this recognition.
If someone were to ask you what the “pulse” of Columbus is, what would you tell them?
Our immigrant and refugee communities. Columbus is privileged to have such a diverse population of people from all over the world. People who enrich our local culture in so many ways and contribute to making Columbus the dynamic city it is today.
The Next Up Columbus Awards highlight emerging leaders who are connectors and ambassadors in central Ohio and who are making a positive impact on the future of Columbus. The Columbus Young Professionals Club would like to offer special thanks to our 2023 co-presenters, Discover Financial, Ohio Dominican University and Quantum Health for their support of this year’s awards program. Meet the entire “Class of 2023” »