The story of Firelight as told by Alison Kern.

Like many small businesses, this one started in a tiny basement office with a dog at my feet and a baby playing happily in the playroom next door. You should know, though, that neither the office, the dog, or the baby was actually mine.

It was the spring of 2007, and I was spending the day with my coworker Rachel Mills, who worked from her home office (complete with dog and baby) doing fundraising and communications for International Child Care (ICC) in Columbus, Ohio. My role as ICC's Development Coordinator often intersected with Rachelís, and we collaborated on many projects. That day, we were crafting an article for New World Outlook magazine about ICCís 40-year history caring for sick children in Haiti. After drafting out the article, we brainstormed ideas for a video script on a similar topic.

I left from Rachelís house that day feeling exhausted and exhilarated. On the drive home, it hit me: this was my passion. To find creative and compelling ways to share stories that would make a difference for someone— that's what I love to do.

Although I enjoyed doing resource development for ICC, I knew that when my husband, Mike, graduated from seminary in May 2008, we would be moving out of state so he could start working as pastor. I also knew that about half of all new pastors in our denomination, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, get their first church job in a rural setting. It was the perfect opportunity for me to start a freelance writing career, but I knew I might have to be a bit creative about getting started.

As it turned out, Mike and I were among those who were assigned to small town churches, and our first call was to Albion, Nebraska— population 1,797 wonderful people among a lot of cows and cornfields. Though we were both raised in the suburbs of big cities, we quickly adapted to rural life. With the help of our loving (and patient) church members, we learned how to negotiate gravel roads, how to tell weeds from vegetables in the garden they put in for us, and how to distinguish among the many types of farm machinery.

I also started learning everything I could about the business of freelance writing. I consumed a number of books, perused a lot of websites of fellow freelancers, and sought out mentors who had been in business for themselves for a long time. Finally, in October 2008, I officially launched Firelight Freelancing to provide writing, editing, and communications consulting services to non-profits, businesses and individuals.

In addition to copywriting, I continue to write articles for local and national publications. I also love to share stories with kids and have a few children's books in the works. Though working from home can be a lonely calling, I enjoy the relationships with fellow authors, artists and businesspeople both in the Albion area and across the country. You'll notice that throughout this website I often refer to Firelight staff in the plural, with "we" or "us". That's because while it's primarily me and my writing, there are many other talented people who contribute to the success of my own projects and often my clients' as well.

So thatís Firelight's storyÖwhatís yours? I'd love to hear it, and help you tell it to the world.


Alison's Bio

The president and lead writer at Firelight is Alison Kern. Alison specializes in business and non-profit communications, including brochures, direct mail packages, and grants. She spent four years spearheading the development efforts for the U.S. headquarters of International Child Care, a faith-based health organization with offices in four countries.

During her tenure at International Child Care, she led several successful initiatives, including a complete overhaul of their website, a partnership with Valparaiso University to build a new health clinic in Haiti, and the creation of an email marketing campaign. She has coauthored two articles for New World Outlook magazine and also contributed regularly to International Child Careís quarterly newsletter.

Alison graduated with honors in 2004 from Valparaiso University in Indiana and was elected a member of the Phi Beta Kappa honor society. Her degree is in English and Classical Languages (Greek and Latin), and she worked as a copy editor of the university newspaper. She also spent time tutoring students in Greek and Latin and working on the worship planning team at the Chapel of the Resurrection on campus.

Alison lives in Albion, Nebraska and is active in two churches, Immanuel-Zion Lutheran and Zion Lutheran, where her husband Mike is the pastor. She also loves playing her cello and was a member of the Valparaiso University Symphony Orchestra and several chamber ensembles. She and Mike enjoy gardening, cooking, and spending time with friends and family. They also enjoy not having neighbors to disturb when they crank up the volume playing Rock Band on their Nintendo Wii.