Iliff Student Finds Passion in Helping Others

By Brianne McCoy

(DENVER) – For 12 years, Lindsey Hodel has made it her mission to fight for “economic justice, racial justice, gay and lesbian rights and raise awareness about social issues through voter engagement.”

Having grown up in a city where acts of racially motivated violence occurred, Hodel knew at a young age that she desired to help others and bring justice to underrepresented groups.

Following her passion, Hodel founded the Colorado Participation Project in 2010, which is a proclaimed “grassroots nonprofit [that] helps engage low-income communities in the political process.” The organization was designed as a means of “filling gaps in terms of who was being reached and who wasn’t,” said Hodel.

The Colorado Participation Project is best known for providing nonprofit organizations that serve politically marginalized communities with resources and tools on civic engagement and voter information.

Hodel admits “the issue facing nonprofits is advocacy for continued funding…if nonprofits are not at the table, they are on the table. Sitting on the sidelines ensures that your organization won’t be represented. Our mission is to engage clients politically.”

In recent years, Hodel’s desire to help others has manifested itself into a greater spiritual calling that incorporates her faith.

“The calling to ministry came during a dark time in my life when I was feeling burnt out and unhopeful. I was searching for new meaning and trying to find ways to shed some old ways of being and was trying to find the next chapter of life,” Hodel explained.

During a phone conversation with a friend, it was recommended that Hodel look into the Iliff School of Theology as a way of seeking out what her future might hold.

“At that moment, the world fell away and through that, I felt a connection with God and I knew I would end up at Iliff. I had no idea what degree programs they offered, but I knew I needed to pivot into being a faith leader,” said Hodel.

Ever since then, Hodel has been attending classes at Iliff and working towards a Masters of Divinity degree, which she hopes to someday use as a way to continue doing the work she has been doing through a “faith-based lens.”

Hodel believes “voices of faith are critical in policy debates.”

“I want to help transform churches to be more embracing of social change. Iliff gives me the tools, credibility and knowledge to talk about the issues I care about,” Hodel remarked.

Through her journey, Hodel has felt “proud to be a part of Iliff. We are helping to graduate generations of people who are more self-aware and more committed to achieving justice.”

“It’s one of the few institutions of education that offer not just learning, but a new way of being and moving through the world.”

Hodel’s long-term goals are to “revive Christian movements, make the world a better place, achieve fairness and justice, and to help people.”

As of right now, Hodel has found comfort in her current chapter of life. “Everything fell into place and I am blessed to be here,” Hodel said.