In 2003, at twenty-something, Jen Gash signed up for a trip to the former Soviet Republic of Moldova to work in a summer camp for orphans living in the country’s largest orphanage.
That week, surrounded by children who had had no families, no hope for the future, and filthy, broken beds to sleep on, Jen’s heart was opened to the plight of the orphan. Feeling led to bring change to a child’s life through the provision of a bed, Jen returned home and founded a successful nonprofit organization, Sweet Sleep. After 11 years as its President, where she raised more than $5 million, created a team of global staff and programming, and took thousands of volunteers and donors on journeys to love, and be loved by, orphans, Jen passed the reigns of Sweet Sleep on so that she could take her next steps into the orphan care world.
Joining the staff of Cross Point Church as its first Director of Local Good, Jen used her heart for the orphan to weave the multi-site church into an understanding of how they could serve its schools, the widow and the orphan. Jen helped to implement a “Safe Room”, a designated, non-triggering space, for children and teens to wait while their social workers secure their placements. During this season, Jen was invited into conversations with leaders from the state and DCS, which eventually led to her role as the Executive Director of Tennessee Alliance for Kids.
Her tireless pursuit to advocate for the orphan has been recognized all over the world. She has appeared as a resource and expert on various stages around the world and on global TV, radio and news programs, including NBC’s Today Show and Uganda’s “Daily Monitor” as well as numerous magazines and books, including Bob Buford’s Halftime leadership series Success to Significance, and The Gospel of Yes by Dr. Mike Glenn.
Jen speaks to a wide range of groups with audiences as small as 20 to as large as 5,000. Speaking engagements have included Belmont University Convocation; Lipscomb University; Samford University and Kairos; Lifeway’s “National Youth Workers Conference and “Kids Ministry Conference”; Brentwood Baptist Church; Fellowship Bible’s “Global Summit”; Christian Alliance for Orphans national “Summit”; WMU’s National Mission Conference (BLUME) and State Mission Conference (TN).
Jen is a Board Director for the Middle Tennessee Orphan Alliance (MTOA). In February 2010, she served as the Logistics Chief for the Haiti Orphan Relief Team (HORT) an emergency response initiative of the Christian Alliance for Orphans (CAFO), where a team of 11 disaster relief experts and orphan care professionals worked in Haiti to determine long-term sustainable relief options for the church to respond to the orphan crisis, post quake.
Jen is a graduate of Middle Tennessee State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in Political Science with a major in Journalism, and minors in Political Science and Entrepreneurship.