Young professionals group rebrands as Dowagiac Connected

Published 1:02 pm Wednesday, January 10, 2024

DOWAGIAC — A local organization has rebranded itself to better engage and support the Dowagiac community.

The Young Professionals of Greater Dowagiac recently announced a new name and logo for the organization, now known as Dowagiac Connected. According to leadership, the change reflects the organization’s evolving mission and values, emphasizing inclusivity, community engagement and the spirit of service.

The decision to adopt the new name Dowagiac Connected stems from the organization’s desire to better align with its true essence. While many young professional groups focus on networking and career development, Dowagiac Connected stands out by prioritizing community service, community engagement events and a welcoming atmosphere for all ages and professions.

“Over the years, our organization has evolved significantly. We’ve come to realize that our former name might have unintentionally created misconceptions about who we are and what we do,” stated Dowagiac Connected member Stefany Holland. “We’re not just about youth or professional networking. We are a diverse group of enthusiastic community members dedicated to making a meaningful impact on Dowagiac.”

Dowagiac Connected has been instrumental in several community-driven initiatives, including the revival of the annual fireworks show in Dowagiac and the successful construction of the new pavilion at Russom Field. The organization hosts a variety of family-oriented events, such as its annual daddy-daughter dance and the Second Hand-Second Chance Prom, fostering a sense of togetherness and celebration within the community.

“We pride ourselves on being more than just a group of young professionals. In fact, we like to joke that we’re neither that young nor that professional,” added fellow Dowagiac Connected member Rebecca Steenbeke with a chuckle. “Ultimately, we are a diverse collective of individuals passionate about serving our community and having fun while doing so. We welcome everyone, regardless of age or profession, who shares our enthusiasm for making a positive impact on Dowagiac.”

The organization’s rebranding to Dowagiac Connected aims to convey its true essence, encouraging more individuals to join and participate in community-driven initiatives. The group remains committed to creating opportunities for engagement, fostering connections and leaving a lasting positive impact on Dowagiac.

According to Steenbeke, the community’s response to the rebrand has been positive.

“We’ve actually had some people say ‘oh is there no longer an age requirement,; which they’re never was, but that really points to how people perceived the group before,” she said. “I think it’s a good change. We’ve been reaching people who maybe wanted to join the group but felt they were too old or not professional. Whatever their barrier was, hopefully we have removed it.”

Dowagiac Connected is gearing up for its annual Adult Prom, its first event of the year. The prom will take place from 7 to 11 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 24 at the Dowagiac Elks Lodge, 300 Riverside Dr., Dowagiac. The event for ages 21-and-up will feature dancing, music by DJ Tru, food, a cash bar and a photo booth by Blueprint Photography.

Tickets cost $30 per person and $50 per couple, with proceeds going toward the Dowagiac Connected Fireworks fund. After the success of last year’s adult prom, Steenbeke is looking forward to the event.

“It was awesome,” she said. “It was well-attended and had positive feedback from the community. People liked dressing up and dancing. We received a lot of inquiries from community members about having another one so we’re hoping for another great turnout.”

For more information about Dowagiac Connected and how to get involved, please visit DowagiacConnected.com or follow them on Facebook at facebook.com/dowagiacconnected.