Feature by Julie Vitto
Each year since 2015, Lancaster Young Professionals has recognized one male and one female young professional making a difference on a local level with its Young Influencer Award. Recipients live or work in Lancaster County and demonstrate a deep commitment to the community through volunteerism and success in the workplace. Votes are in and on September 8, winners will be announced at the third annual Red Rose Gala held at the Ware Center in downtown Lancaster.
Among this year’s nominees is the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s 2016 Woman of the Year, Christina Diehl. As the first LLS winner in Lancaster to ever reach the $50,000 level of fundraising in support of the organization, Diehl was able to apply this funding toward cancer research in the areas of leukemia and lymphoma.
Also known as Lancaster’s Homegirl, Diehl is passionate about helping others find the dream home or investment property that will offer future financial security. A licensed realtor since 2010, Diehl says she was interested in real estate from a young age when her father taught her the value of homeownership. After working a series of unfulfilling jobs, Diehl decided to go out on her own to find success as an independent real estate agent.
But she didn’t stop there. In addition to serving on the Executive Leadership Team with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, the Young Influencer nominee has volunteered regularly with many organizations over the years, including Schreiber Pediatric’s Young Adults Club and Big Brothers Big Sisters. She’s been appointed to several boards, including that of the Library System of Lancaster County, as well as Lancaster City’s Property Reinvestment Board, where she helps owners of distressed properties move forward with repairing their homes.
“I like being involved in the community,” says Diehl. “Both to know what’s going on and to try to make a positive impact on where things are headed.”
One of Diehl’s most recent projects includes the Share Your Cheese initiative, a crowdsourcing opportunity that helps pay off past due balances on student lunches across Lancaster County.
“When children aren’t able to pay for their school lunches, often they’ll be given a cheese sandwich or something a little less expensive that the school can give them rather than what everyone else is having,” explains Diehl. “It’s kind of a play on words – Share Your Cheese – meaning, share the extra money that you might have to help these kids.”
Diehl is hopeful that fundraising efforts can grow to meet other specific needs of local children in the future. Until then, people can start following Share Your Cheese on Facebook now. Starting in September, when the school year has begun, contributions can be made to balance accounts and make a positive difference in the lives of potential young influencers in the community.