Good Life

10 questions with Interfaith Human Services director Wendy Vinhage

Director of Interfaith Human Services Wendy Vinhage poses in the organization’s office on Easterly Parkway.
Director of Interfaith Human Services Wendy Vinhage poses in the organization’s office on Easterly Parkway. adrey@centredaily.com

What goes around comes around — and in the case of Wendy Vinhage that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Vinhage was recently appointed the director of Interfaith Human Services, a nonprofit organization that supplies services for veterans, programs for displaced residents and offers heating assistance and money management help.

Before arriving at IHS, Vinhage already had a broad resume filled with nonprofits. She has worked with Skills of Central Pennsylvania, the Juniata Valley Council and the Boy Scouts of America in Reedsville.

Below, Vinhage talks more about her approach to nonprofit work and her goals for IHS.

Q: What time does your alarm clock go off in the morning?

A: 6 a.m.

Q: What did you want to be when you grew up?

A: I wanted to join the FBI and solve the X-Files. Then I found out that FBI agents don’t actually chase paranormal activity.

Q: Can you remember where and when you first volunteered with a charity or nonprofit?

A: I volunteered at a few nursing homes and picked up trash in high school, but the first time I really got involved with nonprofits was when I volunteered with the State College Young Professionals a few years go. I had the opportunity to volunteer with and meet extraordinary nonprofit leaders in the community.

Q: What did you take away from that experience?

A: Before I joined the State College Young Professionals, I didn’t realize how great of a need there is in our county. I was suddenly introduced to dozens of nonprofits. Even with the limited resources they often have, nothing seems to stop the staff and volunteers in this county, simply because they want to help our neighbors. That amazed me.

Q: Interfaith Human Services has been around since 1968. Is it intimidating to be stepping into the lead of such a long-standing nonprofit?

A: I think you’ll find that a number of nonprofits in the area have been around for a very long time. It’s more of a matter of finding ways to help more people and stick to the mission of the organization.

Q: Where would you like to see the organization go from here?

A: I would like us to help more low-income families in Centre County, especially those who are struggling with their personal finances. With money management help, we could help more families achieve financial stability.

Q: If you could pre-plan your version of a perfect day, what would it look like?

A: First of all, it would be warm and sunny. I would plan a long hike with friends, then spend the evening with a book that I’ve been meaning to read.

Q: Can you remember the best advice you’ve ever received?

A: A boss at one of my first jobs told me it’s best to surround yourself with people who are smarter than you. That way, you never stop learning.

Q: What keeps you inspired?

A: I stay inspired by knowing that we’re helping so many people. I’m incredibly fortunate to be in a position where I work with staff and volunteers who are so devoted to our mission.

Q: How can people get involved with Interfaith Human Services?

A: We welcome volunteers and we can match passion and skills to a volunteer opportunity that interests the person. Give us a call at 234-7731 or email interfaith @ihs-centrecounty.org.

Frank Ready: 814-231-4620, @fjready

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