The Young Professionals of Parma (YPOP) held a public meeting at the Parma library branch on Powers Boulevard on February 22. The group invited the public to come and learn about its newly formed purpose and initiatives, including committees and becoming a non-profit.

YPOP president Jackie Baraona lead the event, while attendees enjoyed eating and learning about paczki. She and the rest of the leadership team, including vice president Bill Baraona, marketing director Kathie Zipp, marketing coordinator Matt Orehek, treasurer Dan Tylicki and membership director Christine Francisco, took turns introducing themselves and explaining why they love Parma.

“I grew up in Middlefield, which is a big Amish community. So I was exited to move to a large suburb like Parma where everything from shopping to movies is close by,” said Francisco.

Jackie Baraona also introduced the group’s new purpose statement, which was developed collectively between leadership and committee directors. The Young Professionals of Parma is a network of community-minded individuals striving toward the enhancement of the Greater Parma area. The group provides civic, philanthropic and social opportunities, while supporting and fostering local businesses. Its goal is to promote positivity and city pride.

In an effort to fulfill various aspects of its purpose, YPOP developed four new committees, which it announced at the meeting. Each committee chair, including Alex Jeffries (volunteering/philanthropy), Adam Corrao (business engagement & outreach), Ben Altemus (political advocacy) and Bill Baraona (social events), also presented.

“I grew up in Parma and said I would never settle down there, but I moved back after college and do not regret it,” said Altemus. “I love the diverse cultures and events with endless amounts of things to do. And I look forward to using my experience with political advocacy to create a strong, positive and transparent relationship with our cities and elected officials and departments.”

A big focus of the meeting was to get more volunteers to participate on each committee. Anyone who did not attend the meeting, but is interested in joining one of the following committees should contact YPOP at hello@parmayps.com.

The Volunteering/Philanthropy Committee is dedicated to supporting existing local service organizations to improve the quality of life for our residents and to build a stronger, more caring community. We accomplish this by engaging directly with several community service events throughout the year while at the same time, bring awareness to those and other community service opportunities.

The Business Engagement and Outreach Committee is dedicated to creating strong, long-lasting relationships between Parma businesses, the city, and the residents who reside here. We accomplish this by highlighting local business accomplishments and staying in constant communication with the businesses that make Parma great.

The Political Advocacy Committee is dedicated to creating a strong, positive and transparent relationship with our cities elected officials and Departments . We strive to make the political process accessible and fulfilling through efforts such as voter registration drives, town hall meetings, and city initiatives.

The Social Events Committee is dedicated to hosting events in the Parma area that highlight local businesses and attractions. It is our hope that through this committee we can improve the quality of life for Parma residents and visitors by showing off places that our amazing city has to offer while providing opportunities to meet new people and be engaged in the community.

YPOP reflects the reach of the Parma-area chamber, which serves Parma, Parma Heights and Seven Hills. At the meeting, Jackie Baraona reiterated that one does not need to live or work in one of those cities to be involved with the group. Anyone with passion for the Parma area is welcome.

Jackie Baraona also addressed another common misconception: that the term “young professional” implies a desk job or a college degree. However, the term is only meant to describe the group’s target audience of career-focused individuals in their 20s and 30s. Participants in the group come from a wide array of occupations including hair stylists, teachers, entrepreneurs, financial advisers and more.

The group is also in the process of becoming a non-profit organization, which Jackie Baraona said will give the group the ability to better function and fulfill its purpose.

YPOP welcomes any feedback on committee initiatives, and encourages anyone who is interested in getting involved to reach out.

View the presentation from the meeting below.

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