For Alanná Gibson ’14, pursuing a passion isn’t something that’s scheduled, a box to check off once a month. It’s woven into the
everyday fabric of her life.
It’s the jewelry business, La Bia Rose, she began with a friend, dedicated to creating pieces that promote body positivity, celebrate multiculturalism and give back to local women.
It’s in the way she volunteers with the Rosella French Porterfield Foundation, an organization focused on literacy that’s currently on a mission to give away thousands of free books to children, youth groups and schools.
And it’s in the way Gibson, who received a master’s in English from UD, has tutored children for Youth on a Mission Ministry for the past five years.
What does she have to say about her array of community involvement?
“I’ve just been living life and helping people,” Gibson said.
But her commitment to service hasn’t gone unnoticed: On March 22, Columbus, Ohio, print and media design company RWHC awarded Gibson its 2017 Social Change and Community Philanthropy Honoree award. The accolade also came with an unexpected recognition from the Ohio House of Representatives commending Gibson for her work. Chandra Reeder ’87, RWHC’s owner, nominated Gibson for the award after a more than 10-year professional relationship; fittingly, they met when Gibson, then just 10 years old, was selling handmade dolls at a local event.
Reeder notes Gibson’s impressive family resume as well: R.E. Shurney, Gibson’s great-grandfather, worked at NASA during the mid-20th century. Among his contributions was the invention of tires used on the space buggy for the Apollo 15 mission in 1972.
“Alanná has selflessly demonstrated her commitment and dedication and used her creative energy to make an impact in the community in which she lives by taking a stand to raise awareness, fight for and create solutions to address social injustices in her community,” said Reeder, also noting Gibson’s tireless work ethic and Christ-centered focus.
For Gibson, the award was something she hadn’t anticipated: “Winning was a complete surprise. I never do anything for recognition … I’m very much a behind-the-scenes person,” she said. “I’m not used to getting attention for the work that I do. I just felt gratitude — that someone is paying attention.”
When she’s not busy with other projects, Gibson performs with MadLab, a theater group in Columbus, and Aharen Honryu Keisen Wa No Kai, an organization dedicated to preserving the culture and dance of Okinawa, Japan.
It’s also clear that Columbus itself, the town where she grew up and now resides, is another of her passions: “I always call it my headquarters. It has a lot going on, but people are still very friendly. It’s very diverse; it’s amazing that I can do all these things here,”
Doing all these things, indeed. For Gibson, it’s exactly how she wants to live and inspire others.
“I do this because it’s part of me and I love doing it. You never know how your passion will affect someone else,” she said.