Interviews with purpose-driven leaders who are dedicated to helping others and making a positive impact in the world.
September 18, 2023
Dayna Scott | Broomfield FISH Food & Family Resource Center
TELL US, WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT DO YOU DO?
My name is Dayna Scott and I am the executive director of Community Services of Broomfield, dba Broomfield FISH Food and Family Resource Center. Our mission is to meet our neighbors’ basic human needs and help them thrive!
HOW DID YOU GET HERE?
I have spent the last three decades of my life in the nonprofit sector. For the past eight years, I have served as the Executive Director with Broomfield FISH (Fellowship In Serving Humanity), the local food and family resource center serving low-income Broomfield County, Colorado residents. I chose this field for many reasons, but first and foremost so that I could work directly with our community to find creative and equitable solutions to hunger and homelessness. When I was five years old, my parents divorced and I moved in with my single mom. She had to use her grit and determination to keep us alive, despite her lack of formal education and struggle with bipolar disorder. We moved 17 times during my childhood, facing eviction after eviction. In high school, I went to live with a friend while my mom spent time recovering from a particularly severe depressive episode. I know what it is like to go hungry and feel like the ground under your feet may swallow you at any minute. I love my job because I help bring nourishment, stability, and hope to families and children every day.
WHAT DO YOU STAND FOR? WHY IS THIS WORK IMPORTANT TO YOU?
As a woman who grew up knowing financial hardship, I stand for opportunity, equity, and systems change. When you are poor, you are less likely to go to doctors or take part in preventative screenings–whether it’s because you cannot afford to take time from work or you are afraid of incurring debt. People often look at this as a personal choice–why don’t people just go to a doctor– but it is absolutely the result of inequitable systems. Growing up, I watched my mom struggle with many health issues–high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, and the more challenging to treat, bipolar disorder. As a child, I saw everything we did as “normal” because it was just how we did things. Moving from apartment to apartment, eating steak when mom got paid but then cheese wiz on crackers when she ran out of money, taking care of my mom when she couldn’t get out of bed for weeks, all of this was just our life. But as I got older, I realized that much of this was the result of unfair systems–employment systems where it was difficult for women with only a high school degree to secure a living wage; economic systems that penalized poor people with excessive fines and interest rates; housing systems that prevented poor people and people of color from owning homes and charged high fees as part of the rental market; and medical systems that stigmatized mental health issues, particularly when it came to women. As an adult, I gained a better understanding of inequity issues through books, discussions, and my professional experience working with others who have lived through it.
WHAT IMPACT ARE YOU MAKING?
Working at FISH, I help feed families and fuel hope in our community. I have worked in the nonprofit world since 1993 and have been the Executive Director at Broomfield FISH since 2015. When I first started at Broomfield FISH, we were a small organization with just three full-time paid staff and an annual budget of $1.3 million. In the past eight years, we have grown significantly to meet the rising need for services in our community. We now have 17 paid staff, more than 200 regular volunteers, and an annual budget of nearly $5 million. FISH serves as a beacon of hope for low-income residents who have been marginalized and excluded from community prosperity. As a food bank and family resource center, the organization works in partnership with residents to meet their basic human needs and empower them to thrive. In 2022, FISH worked with more than 12,500 unduplicated residents, provided 1.4 million pounds of food, and stabilized 1,228 residents in housing.
WHAT (OR WHO) INSPIRES YOU TO DO THIS WORK?
I see inspiration everywhere. As an eternal optimist, I am always looking for the good. When I am going through a challenging time, I love to be outdoors and in nature. I also like to hang out in our Marketplace at FISH and see the bright smiles on children’s faces when they learn that we have strawberries, or a birthday cake, or their favorite cereal. The people in our community who give countless hours as volunteers are also incredibly inspiring.
WHAT’S YOUR VISION, YOUR BIG DREAM FOR THE IMPACT YOU WANT TO MAKE?
Can I say peace on earth? That is the big dream. A world where everyone has enough, where everyone feels they ARE enough, where nobody has to wonder when their next meal will come or whether they will have a roof over their head at night.
WHAT CHALLENGES ARE YOU FACING?
I feel challenged by our priorities as a society. Personal income and corporate profits seem to be more important than our community’s health, well-being, and happiness. It is heartbreaking to see families living in their cars, children going hungry, and seniors worrying if they can pay for their medicines when there is enough collective wealth to ensure everyone’s basic needs are met. I don’t think it is a radical notion to want everyone to have a minimum level of safety, security, and prosperity.
WHAT’S ONE THING YOU WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR CAUSE AND/OR THE WORK YOU’RE DOING?
Every act of caring matters. I’m a systems change thinker, but every dollar donated, every volunteer hour given, and every can of soup shared makes a difference. Even in Broomfield, which seems like an affluent, upper middle class county, there is tremendous need. So we all need to do something to help lift up those who are struggling.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE QUOTE OR WORDS OF INSPIRATION TO SHARE?
I’m sure so many people will also say this, but “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
HOW CAN OTHERS SUPPORT YOU OR YOUR CAUSE?
Listen. Learn. Get to know people who are different from you. Help your neighbors in need in whatever way makes the most sense for you–whether that’s sharing time, talents, money, etc. Don’t look away from those who are suffering.
At Orapin, we believe those who are working for the greater good should be known, supported, and celebrated. We help purpose-driven organizations transform their random acts of PR into a strategic, consistent approach that generates greater awareness and impact. If would like to be featured in INSPIRED IMPACT™, reach out to email@example.com.