Local woman  hopes to help her community, starts nonprofit

HERSEY— Robin Marvel refuses to be a statistic. Marvel’s childhood wasn’t something others would envy. Filled with physical abuse, drugs, alcohol, homelessness and kidnapping – Marvel had seen it all. But the Hersey resident’s experiences are in the past and she is ready to make an I.M.P.A.C.T. on her community. With the help of her husband and daughters, Marvel started her own nonprofit, United Hands of Change (UHC), in October of 2012. “My goal for this nonprofit is to help people in unfortunate situations make a positive change in their life,” Marvel said. “I know what it is like to be scared and not stable. I want to give them a hand to reach out for when they need help.” “After my mom was physically abused and could no longer fight back, my dad would kidnap me. We would hide so my mom couldn’t find us,” Marvel said. “At age 5, I knew this was not the norm and this was not who I wanted to be.” Marvel was without a home multiple times as a child. “The first time I remember being homeless we lived on a riverbank in Sacramento,” she said. “Sometimes we would have to miss multiple months of school, since we didn’t have a stable home.” When Marvel turned 16, she battled with her personal self-worth and self-love. As a result, she was the victim of sexual assault. Later that year, not as a result of the assault, she was pregnant. “This was a wake-up call, I was headed down the same path that my parents went down and I did not want that for myself or my future daughter,” she said. Now Marvel is married to her high school sweetheart, Keith, and has five daughters, Emillie, Annabella, Carly, Kamden and Rorie. Marvel’s latest undertaking is the I.M.P.A.C.T. kit campaign, which began Tuesday. I.M.P.A.C.T. stands for Inspire, Motivate, Potential, Action, Courage and Transformation – six words Marvel hopes men, women and children will use to make a change in their lives. “I want these kits to be a turning point for people,” she said. “These tools can impact them to reevaluate themselves.” Kits will include blankets, socks, travel-size toiletries, resource list, empowerment brochure, games and snacks Before UHC began, Marvel would hold a yearly food drive to fill up local food pantries before winter. “I just have always wanted to give back,” she said. “We used to utilize food pantries when I was a child and I want to make sure people are able to get what I had been given.” When Marvel felt like the pantry was not enough, she began her first UHC project. “We started collecting gloves and hats,” she said. “This was so no adult or child would be without during the cold months.” Marvel is willing to do whatever it takes to help the poverty in the community. “We are hoping to provide them with enough to help them get back on their feet,” she said. “I am even willing to spend my own money to help whoever I can.” Marvel is asking the public for donations to help make the kits. “We cannot survive without local help,” she said. “Anything that is given will be put to use.” The Reed City branch of West Michigan Credit Union is accepting donations for the kits. “I want this to be a continual cycle of helping each other and giving to those who need a helping hand,” Marvel said. To make a donation, visit
www.unitedhandsofchange.webs.com for more information.