Community engagement has always been a big factor in Laura Angst-Gartin’s life. She’s dedicated a sizable portion of her life to giving back to others through mission trips around the world, fostering children and establishing a charitable organization of her own. Her experiences in marketing and entrepreneurship have not only helped her achieve success in these efforts, but it has changed the lives of others in her community and around the globe.
Laura Angst-Gartin was born and raised in Lebanon, Missouri, just northeast of Missouri State. After graduating from high school, Angst-Gartin moved to Springfield to pursue her Bachelor of Science in Marketing with a minor in Economics at then-Southwest Missouri State University. During her time here, she was President of the MSU American Marketing Association chapter and an active member of Logistics Club. Once she finished her bachelor’s degree in 2006, she then worked towards her MBA with an emphasis in Logistics which she completed in 2007.
Following her graduation and subsequent employment, Angst-Gartin found herself looking for something more. In 2012, she applied to The World Race, a mission trip that took her to 11 countries over the span of 11 months. Angst-Gartin says that this experience was “the most difficult and wonderful year of my life.” Along her journey, her work in countries like India, Kenya and Malaysia helped her understand who she was and developed a deep passion for helping others.
When her travels concluded, Angst-Gartin returned home to Lebanon to help manage her family’s business. Entrepreneurship runs in Angst-Gartin’s blood: her father, mother, sister and grandmother are just a few of her family members who have started their own businesses. After working a few years with her family, she decided to start her own venture in 2014. She also continued to search for ways to give back to her community, and, in May of 2017, Angst-Gartin started fostering. Her first placement experience showed her just some of the challenges foster families face.
At 10 p.m., a case worker brought a 3-month old child to her door with just a diaper bag full of socks and the ill-fitting clothes on the baby’s back. Angst-Gartin quickly went to the store to purchase diapers, formula and clothing among other items for the child. Eighteen hours later, the baby was picked up and taken to a family member’s home for permanent placement. After this experience, Angst-Gartin realized that foster families essentially needed “a room full of every size diaper and clothing, bottles, formulas and cribs,” in order to be prepared for a potential placement. This experience helped inspire her to start an organization to help other foster families.
In the years since it opened, Angst-Gartin’s for-profit business had taken off, giving her access to funds that would allow her and her family to start giving back to their community. In November 2017, Laura Angst-Gartin, her parents John and Laquita and sister Sarah founded Live 2 Give Hope.
Live 2 Give Hope is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing hope to current and future foster families in the Lebanon area through a number of programs, including:
- Fostering Hope Closet: provides free resources to foster families including clothing, car seats, diapers, beds and more.
- Lebanon Reunited: helps families navigate through the child welfare system so that children can be placed in the homes of relatives and biological family members.
- PUSH Lebanon (People United Sharing Hope): connects volunteer-minded community members in Lebanon to programs where they can contribute their time and talents to assisting their community.
- Paving the Way: teaches foster children who are 15 years and older skills such as home management, financial fundamentals and driver’s education.
- Kids Night Out: a free monthly event that gives foster families an opportunity to drop off their children for childcare so they can get time to run errands, enjoy a night out or just relax at home.
Since its launch in November 2017, Live 2 Give Hope has provided assistance to more than 500 foster children among all of their programs, accounting for a total of 250 families helped, whether they are biological, foster, adoptive or otherwise. The Fostering Hope Closet, which is managed by Angst-Gartin, has helped over 300-plus foster children alone. Angst-Gartin was recently featured on KOLR 10’s “Remarkable Women” segment for her work with Live 2 Give Hope and the Fostering Hope Closet. Through her fostering efforts, she has also met her soon to be adopted daughter.
When asked about her hopes for the future of Live 2 Give Hope, Angst-Gartin says that she would like to move the organization into a facility where all of the programs they run can be managed under one roof. Live 2 Give Hope has developed five programs in its three-year history, and Angst-Gartin says she “doesn’t see that slowing down anytime soon!”
Laura Angst-Gartin says that students should “focus on [their] passions and the money will come in due time.” Her drive to help others has led her around the globe, and she has brought her experiences back to her hometown so that she can continue to give back. Angst-Gartin phrases it best when she says, “truly we come alive and receive the most joy by helping others and giving of ourselves.”