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Steele shows dedication through event planning, gift

After graduating from FC, many alumni feel the need to give back to the school in some way as a way of thanking the school. Dawn Steele, ’03, who after graduating from FC proceeded to graduate from Fresno Pacific University (FPU) with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management, is now using the skills she has learned to plan a fundraiser that will benefit both Fresno Christian Schools and Break the Barriers.

The fundraiser is scheduled to take place at the Fresno Convention Center in the Exhibit Hall from 6 to 9 p.m., April 5. Tickets are $150 each, but sponsor tables are also available. There will be presentations by both FC and Break the Barriers, along with a presentation of FC alumnus awards. The main focus of the event, however, is on the keynote speaker, National Football League (NFL) player Tim Tebow.

Alumni Director Gary Schultz is proud of Steele for her work ethic, positive influence on others and success in her job.

“She has blossomed into one of the most outstanding young ladies around in terms of work ethic,” Schultz said. “She can get things done. Sometimes they talk about movers and shakers who can get other people to climb mountains and swim oceans; she’s definitely one of those people. I’m so impressed when I talk to her. She’s able to accomplish things that you would think are not possible. I guess I saw glimpses of that in high school, but I didn’t envision that she would be as outstanding and successful as she is today.”

Schultz is amazed by Steele’s ability to take on a fundraiser as large as this with a speaker as well-known as Tim Tebow.

“To me the Tim Tebow dinner is an unbelievable undertaking,” Schultz said. “When she came to me with the idea I said that it’s too big of an event for me at my age, but if she could pull it off I’d be here to help. Right now I’m calling hundreds of alumni and inviting them and encouraging them to come. She’s the one who’s running it all and making things happen. We’re all excited about it, but she’s the one who will make it go.”

English teacher Molly Sargent remembers Steele as a very hardworking student with a lot of potential.

“As I remember Dawn was a very sweet girl,” Sargent said. “She was very kind, had lots of energy, was outgoing without being obnoxious and was certainly capable academically. It doesn’t surprise me to learn that she’s doing public relations; it sounds like something she would be very good at and has a lot of natural ability for.”

Steele notes that planning this fundraising event is her way of thanking the school for her years at FC. She wanted to find a way to give back to the school and show her appreciation for FC.

“I knew that Papa Schultz had started the Alumni Association a few years ago and I decided I wanted to work on a project that would not only help the school financially but would also allow students who are graduating to connect to a network of alumni,” Steele said.

Steele decided that because of her talent in event planning, she could help FC by planning an annual event, hosting different speakers, to raise money for the school.

“I thought the best way to help the school was to create an annual gala that would be hosted by the Alumni Association,” Steele said. “My next thought was ‘go big or go home’ and what better way to kick off an inaugural event and really make an impact than to get a big keynote speaker that would appeal to many in the community; Tim Tebow was my first choice. I pitched the idea to Papa [Schultz] and then Supervisor [Debbie] Siebert, who have been so supportive of the project. The rest is history.”

During her time at FPU she studied in Washington D.C. and participated in the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) American Studies Program. While there she interned with the National Republican Senatorial Committee as well as an International Marketing and Consulting Firm.

Now the Government Affairs Manager for the Greater Fresno Area Chamber of Commerce, Steele represents and advocates on behalf of businesses and works closely with elected representatives and staff for the City of Fresno and County of Fresno on issues impacting the local economy and business in general. She reviews legislation locally, at the state and federal levels and recommends positions to the Governmental Affairs Council of the Chamber among other tasks.

Steele is often in charge of fundraisers and enjoys the challenge of planning events when they are for something she feels strongly toward. Steele has experience in taking part in the planning of non profit events and shares the passion she feels toward planning events.

“I love challenges; when an idea is presented to me that I really believe in and feel passionately about, I go after it,” Steele said. “This will be the biggest event that I have helped plan to date, but what I have learned through my experiences is that the key to all successful events is a great planning committee. I can confidently say that the Inspire Gala Committee is filled with some of the best and hardest working committee members I have ever worked with.”

Steele decided to choose Tebow as the speaker for this event because of the example he sets of what living for Christ should look like.

“Tim Tebow has had an incredible platform as a professional athlete to spread the gospel of Christ,” Steele said. “He has used his influence to not only vocalize his faith but act it out on a daily basis. Tebow once said, ‘Success comes in a lot of ways, but it doesn?t come with money and it doesn?t come with fame ? When you have the ability to do what you love, love what you do and have the ability to impact people. That?s having a life of success. That?s what having a life of meaning is.’ This is the message we want students at Fresno Christian to hear.”

FC high school students in the 7th period Bible and Choir classes have already been taking part in a mentoring program with Break the Barriers. Steele thinks this program will help the students at FC expand their views and learn to help others.

“We believe that the mentoring program between Fresno Christian Schools and Break the Barriers will be a catalyst for students, inspiring them to live lives of significance ? lives committed to impacting others,” Steele said. “By fostering relationships between able-bodied and disabled youth, we believe we can also instill respect for every life and a sense of unique purpose. Tim Tebow exemplifies this; he’s the role model that we want the youth of our community to emulate.”

Steele notes that her faith in Christ drives her life, remaining the most important part of her life. Steele expresses Gods ability to make everyone unique by blessing them with different gifts, abilities, passions and desires.

“My relationship with the Lord is the most important thing in my life and has influenced every aspect of what I have done as a young professional,” Steele said. “As a young professional I know that time is limited and the next 35 years of my life will be spent in the workforce. It is important to me that I am making a difference in my daily life and am apart of something bigger than myself, something that will leave a lasting legacy on my community.”

Steele recognizes that attending a Christian school definetly helped her grow in her faith. Steele tells of her decision to follow Christ in the 8th grade and reflects on stories from her freshman year that have played a turning point in her life.

“My freshman year was a critical point in my life not only because I was new in my faith but because we had just moved to Fresno.” Steele said. “My parents immediately enrolled my twin brother and I into Fresno Christian High School, and I have to say it was one of the best decisions my family has ever made. Fresno Christian not only prepared me academically for my future but more importantly gave me a Christ-centered foundation that has shaped who I am today.”

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