RAWK Spotlight: Marissa Harrington

For the month of May, we are shining the RAWK Spotlight on

Marissa Harrington

The RAWK Spotlight is a monthly series that celebrates folx who embody and serve the mission of empowering youth voices. Folx in the RAWK Spotlight can be anyone from staff, to volunteers, to Board Members, to community partners. They are chosen by the RAWK staff team by merit of their passion, dedication, and enthusiasm for serving local youth and their community!

Keep reading to hear from Marissa about her time at RAWK, and hear from RAWK’s staff and Board team about her impact at RAWK and in the community: 

“Serving RAWK the past five years, since the beginning, has been a surreal experience. To be at the beginning of the process with an organization that has such a strong and important mission is humbling. I’ve been able to see the organization evolve from one that values the voice of youth to one that is really inclusive of the voices of allyouth, and really digs deep into what it looks like to value diversity, equity, and inclusion in practice and not just in say. That is such an empowering experience.

The kind of growth that RAWK wanted to have at the very beginning, with being in the schools and reaching as many students as possible—that only became a reality when, as an organization, we decided to fully commit to access. It’s so great to see where we are now as an organization: making more impact in the schools, with the students, with the parents. That is because of our commitment to access and voice for ALL youth—not just the youth that can afford it, not just the youth that already know about RAWK, but also the youth and parents that are not familiar with us yet, and going to them.

It’s been the best experience. Serving as a Board member of an organization and being able to be an integral part of the growth and evolution of the organization is ideal when you’re a part of a nonprofit. There’s not enough that I can say about RAWK, the leadership, the staff, the Board, our partners… it’s kind of a dream come true watching RAWK evolve to where it is today.”

Marissa Harrington (President, Board of Directors)


Hear what our Board and staff team members have to say about Marissa: 

Marissa is a powerhouse in this community. She is a person that genuinely loves to see others WIN. She is a RAWKstar because she uses every platform to amplify the stories and experiences of those often silenced in the margins. Kalamazoo is truly blessed by her presence, her power, and her gifts.

Kandace Lavender (Executive Director)

I have known Marissa since 2015 and our relationship has evolved from her being my musical director to her being my colleague, boss, and most importantly, dear friend. She is the definition of a RAWKstar because of how fiercely she uplifts and advocates for her community, and especially for marginalized folks, including youth. She has taught me so much about what it means to be an advocate, leader, and community-based practitioner. She is also deeply gracious, extremely funny, and a true visionary. I love her dearly! We are lucky to know her and be in community with her.

Ynika Yuag (Engagement Coordinator)

Marissa is a strong community advocate and tenacious leader. She has a big heart and extends her compassion to uplift others.

Bri (Board member)

Marissa’s leadership as a RAWK board member and as board chair has been absolutely vital to the growth and focus of our organization. She has been both anchor and compass for me personally and for RAWK as a whole. I am continuously filled with awe and appreciation for all of the ways she shows up for community, for her family, and for herself. I know that Marissa has strong convictions and high expectations for the places she chooses to place her energy, so the fact that she shares herself with RAWK is constant encouragement that we are moving with intention and integrity. Thank you, Marissa, for helping us create hope and shape change.

Victoria (Director of Programs)

Marisa is a undeniable leader and one of the coolest humans on the planet. Her creativity and tenacity are evident in her work. She advocates for equity, inclusivity, and access for all within our organization and other community agencies. We are grateful for her!

Dionna Roberts
I believe Marissa deserves the spotlight, because of her enthusiasm about what RAWK is doing for the youth! The support she brings at every board meeting is unmatchable.
Amy Hall (Program Coordinator at Northeastern)
Marissa has a joyful exuberance that lifts others up! She is committed to her own artistic craft and creates space for us all to explore and discover! Her leadership on RAWK’s board continually centers on representation from and uplifting of marginalized voices in concrete, actionable ways!
Caitlin DeLano (Program Facilitator at Northeastern)
Marissa has served the Board since day one. She regularly bridges RAWK’s founders’ vision while passionately energizing the RAWK staff and board though significant growth in our community. She believes in youth and the power their voices hold.
Bridget Timmeney (Vice President, Board of Directors)
JaMeelah Williams (Program Coordinator at Lincoln)