Ask Pekin REALTOR® Baylee Gambetti about why she’s involved with the Kiwanis Club of Pekin and her answer is straightforward. It also hints why her civic involvement doesn’t stop with the Kiwanis.
“I got involved in Kiwanis because I wanted an outlet to give back to my community,” said the broker for Coldwell Banker Honig Bell. ”The focus of Kiwanis is children, and I like to put a strong emphasis on how important it is that we raise the next generation to be strong leaders. I was also attracted to this group because it allowed me to meet new people and network with other area professionals.”
The 2012 graduate of the University of Illinois has a history of involvement with special causes, having once posed as a homeless person to better understand the experience.
“My absolute favorite experience in giving back was an ‘alternative winter break’ service trip I went on in college called the Urban Plunge. I traveled to Washington, D.C. to pose as a homeless person to get the full reality of what it is like to live on the streets without a home to sleep in at night. They took everything from us except the clothes on our back and threw us out on the streets of DC to survive for 48 hours . . . in January during a winter storm advisory!
“We were encouraged to not shower for four days prior so we could really look the part out on the streets and were advised to never break character. I panhandled for money, ate scraps and slept on bubble wrap I took out of a trash can,” she said. “When we completed the plunge . . . we spent the rest of the week volunteering at numerous food pantries and homeless shelters. I cannot put into words what valuable lessons I took away from that experience.
“But now, when I tell my clients that I won’t ever leave them homeless, I REALLY mean it!” she says.
In addition to volunteering with the Pekin Kiwanis Club, Gambetti also helps Pekin Main Street (Revitalizing and Preserving Downtown Pekin), the YWCA Board, the Pekin Area Chamber of Commerce Board, the Pekin Marigold Festival, the Miss Marigold Pageant, the Women’s Leadership Network, Emerging Leaders and the Union Mission Board.
“My volunteer work has helped me be more successful in my real estate business,” she says. “People appreciate the time I spend on community projects and know that I care about this town just as they do. They recognize me as a civic leader. Being involved has helped grow my name recognition and brand. I have developed so many relationships with people from all different walks of life through my service. Also, sellers trust that I will work diligently to move people into this area that I invest so much of my personal time to better. I’ve gone on listing appointments and been told that they called me because they wanted Pekin’s biggest cheerleader to sell their house.”
In addition to her work as a REALTOR, Gambetti has become involved in her local association, the Peoria Area Association of REALTORS, serving on several committees including the Contracts, the Young Professionals and the Governmental Affairs committees.
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