A volunteer’s voice. Her passion for purpose. 

on 15 December 2017

Meredith Z. Avakian can directly relate to many of the children who come through the foster care program at Turning Points for Children. When she was kicked out of her home at age 14, she found herself living on her aunt’s front porch, hopeful for a new start after a childhood of emotional, verbal and sexual abuse. She saw that moment as a pivotal opportunity to get out of an abusive home and change her life forever – and she has done just that. 

“I was fortunate enough to have a family member who took me in during this difficult time, but I recognize that so many children, especially in a city like Philadelphia -- with the deepest poverty levels in the country -- do not,” said Meredith. “These children become a part of the system. But through Turning Points for Children, so many kids with stories like mine are given the second chance they deserve.”

Meredith excelled in school and became an honors student, started working full-time, graduated high school, then moved to Philadelphia to attend Temple University.

After graduation, Meredith started working at DuPont, where she spent nearly eight years in the corporate world before she became the director of communications and marketing at the Philadelphia Bar Association. Throughout her journey, Meredith also found writing as an outlet in her life and has since published two books of her own poetry. A now very well decorated professional, Meredith has not forgotten her roots and brings this passion for purpose to everything she does. 

Meredith came across Turning Points for Children a few years ago at work when she was introduced to a Bar Association program by Former Chancellor Albert S. Dandridge III called Boots on the Ground.  She quickly felt compelled to be better connected to the organization and started serving as a volunteer. 

Meredith serves as the communications chair for the annual Kids at Heart Gala and supports Turning Points year after year. “Community service is not an extra-curricular activity for me, but rather a duty and way of life. Paying it forward is a responsibility that I take very seriously.”

Most people get involved with a cause and an organization because they feel passionate about it. And that’s no different for Meredith. “My passion comes from my experiences and faith. I believe it is important to show our youth that their childhood does not determine their adulthood. It’s imperative to share our stories to help break the cycles of neglect and abuse.  These kids deserve a chance and need to know there are successful adults who can relate to their struggles and can show them how to rise and be resilient in the face of adversity. Just because you may have been dealt a bad hand does not mean you are not capable of winning.”  

Turning Points for Children is grateful to have volunteers like Meredith and the 400 others who are committed to the mission. It is through the dedication of our volunteers that lives are truly changed. Meredith’s outcome is the vision we have for all of the children who we serve; so that they, too, will have the opportunity to find their voice in this world and use the power of their story to inspire others.