SALT Spotlight – Jillian Kubiak
This week, we’re focusing on Jillian Kubiak, SALT’s volunteer director. We recently sat down with her to talk about her experience in Schoharie County and the work she’s done, as well as what’s on tap for 2015.
What brought you to SALT?
I was living in Buffalo working as a community organizer for a nonprofit on the west side. I moved out here to be with my partner. I saw SALT’s job posting online, and being an AmeriCorps veteran, I applied and interviewed. I knew that this would be a great fit; I like SALT’s mission, and it seems like a positive work environment. I wanted to be part of something that was just forming, because you then get to be have a role in how it evolves.
Given your past as a community organizer, what is unique about SALT’s approach?
SALT doesn’t limit itself, they continue to look outside the box for projects and sources of funding. They don’t just tackle the visceral, on the surface problems, but try to get to the root of situations such as economic decline, a lack of development, and community engagement. They attack that in a holistic way.
What are some of the challenges you’ve encountered?
The AmeriCorps program is an exciting program to work with, but it does have its challenges, including member turnaround, which causes us to lose people that we’ve come to rely on, even though we keep getting so many new and wonderful folks. Schoharie County has a unique sense of pride and history, and as a recent transplant, it’s taken time to become acquainted with centers of influence and get caught up to speed with all the work that’s been going on in the county.
What are you excited for in 2015?
I really think SALT is at a turning point. We’ve been shifting from recovery to renewal, and I think that the trail project is a way to get a foothold on that. I think that in 2015 SALT will be exploring more avenues to facilitate community and economic development. I’m excited to be a part of that process, and bring my experience from my work in Buffalo around community-led campaigns, particularly neighborhood-backed projects, for revitalizing the county.