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New faces at First Free: Meredith Domanico

First Free Rockford is pleased to welcome Meredith Domanico as its new Director of Student Ministries.

Meredith has worked in student ministries for nearly 13 years. She grew up in Libertyville and is looking to relocate to the Rock River Valley as she settles in at First Free. Meredith is married to her husband, Matt, and they have a 13-year-old son, Antonio.

She earned her marketing degree at DePaul University and worked in radio for several years. Additionally, she helped manage a hair salon owned by her sister.

In transitioning to church work, Meredith said, “The Lord just opened a door to ministry.” She started volunteering with students in junior high and high school through her former home church, The Chapel campus in McHenry. That work led to her becoming the student ministries pastor, and her love of working with church members in that younger age range has continued to develop.

“What I love about student ministries is it’s such a real environment. There’s such a desire to be known and in the community together, and to be vulnerable and authentic with each other,” she said. “They ask the hard questions. Once they’re comfortable, they take risks, worship without abandon and invite their friends. I love how we have the opportunity to be the place that looks different than the hallways at school.”

Her involvement with church intensified after college. She recalled attending a Saturday night service many years ago and hearing the voice of God say, “You’ve been coming (to church) – now it’s time to give.”

She was attracted to First Free through interactions with senior leadership, and she was looking for a new challenge.

“I was comfortable where I was at. But God doesn’t call us to be comfortable,” she said. “I met with the senior leadership team here, and we clicked really well. I’ve been letting God really direct me, and things kept getting more and more clear.”

She looks forward to helping build and create new directions for the youth program. “I love to mentor and disciple people, just do life together.”

In addition to regular Sunday and Wednesday student programming, you can find Meredith during her Around Town Tuesdays sessions at local coffee shops and restaurants. She’s doing them twice a month, and they’re a time for students to gather, do homework, and talk about life, school, Jesus – the format is wide open.

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