By Kate Atwood

November means its election time. With the future of our nation on our minds, it’s a good time to remember how fortunate we are to have the freedom to vote for our leaders. For kids who aren’t old enough to vote, their voice becomes their primary tool as citizens of our community and our nation. Jeff Romig’s passion is around developing this voice and through his non-profit, Involvement through News and Civics (Inc), he is providing a platform for kids in Atlanta to tell stories that impact their lives.

Tell us a more about the non-profit you founded, Inc.

Inc champions young citizen journalists who tell the stories that impact their world. Our Storytelling through Social Media Awards is an opportunity for young adults, 14 to 22, to earn recognition and modest financial rewards by telling these stories and sharing them through social media. I believe each of us, regardless of educational background, professional affiliation or socioeconomic status, deserves to be able to effectively share positive civic experiences to inspire others and create change. My vision is to instill storytelling skills, an ability to navigate one’s community and the confidence in young adults that encourages them to find their voice in their community.

You are involved in a lot of civic and charitable programs around Atlanta. Why is giving back to the community so important to you?

I genuinely want to make a difference in our world. I use my own experiences as a storyteller and as a child who lost a parent as the groundwork for making a difference through Inc and Kate’s Club, my two non-profit passions. The rewards I’ve received through my work with both organizations are fulfillment from making a difference for young adults and continued personal growth as a leader in Atlanta.

What made you decide to start this organization and really have an impact in our community?

Inc was born in June 2005 when I was a journalist covering Habitat for Humanity’s Jimmy Carter Work Project in Benton Harbor, Michigan.  My initial idea was to provide lower income families with free newspaper subscriptions. This idea grew into Inc’s Family Reading Initiative, which we operated through 2010. Unfortunately, the growth model wasn’t sustainable, so we stepped back in 2011, reorganized and recreated Inc around its current model. Our Storytelling through Social Media Awards program empowers, recognizes and rewards young citizen journalists who will ultimately impact their communities as active citizens and perhaps even as professional journalists later in life.

I know starting-up a non-profit business is tough stuff; what is the most challenging part?

The most challenging part is the ability to be patient. Building a foundation for Inc is the goal for this year, but infrastructure isn’t very sexy or exciting. I find myself taking deep breaths and being challenged in situations to not put the cart before the horse, no matter how many great ideas you might have for this vision. The rewards, however, far outweigh the challenges!

How you can learn more and get involved:

  • Visit the website: newsandcivics.org
  • Follow Inc on Twitter @newsandcivics and “like” the Involvement through News and Civics Facebook page
  • Spread the word by telling your friends about Inc

For more about Kate Atwood, visit kateatwood.com

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.