Briana Worms with her husband Carl, with their children Prestyn (6), Carsyn (12) and Kendra (9).

Briana Worms is a firm believer that things happen for a reason. Being in the right place at the right time has allowed her to use her knowledge and skills in ways she was not expecting.

Her educational background in communication led to a position as promotions director with Leighton in St. Cloud. When she and her husband, Carl, were expecting their first child, they realized the commute and late nights were not what they wanted for their family.

After the birth of their son, Carsyn, Briana was able to transfer her marketing skills to a position with the Melrose Credit Union. The position allowed her to be closer to home, and she had her second child, Kendra, in 2010.

The following year, Briana’s father passed away unexpectedly at the age of 62.

At the age of 28 and grieving the loss of her father, Rueben Zenzen, Briana was faced with her own mortality.

“If I only have this many more years, I want to be doing what I love,” she said she realized.

As she worked through her father’s passing, she decided to work from home and have more time with her children. Her third child, Prestyn, was born in 2013, and she stayed active with a home-based Mary Kay business.

Beginning a job at St. Mary’s School in Melrose where her children attended elementary school, was the next step for Briana, From working in the classroom to piloting an intervention program, Briana said,  “Where I am right now is where I was called to be.”

She spends mornings working one-on-one with students who need extra help, including students with dyslexia such as her daughter, Kendra.

“God plants you in this (area), because you’re going to need this,” said Briana, who has seen her daughter thrive in the Barten intervention program.

Afternoons, Briana teaches media technology to grades K-6.

Briana and her husband, Carl, both volunteer in the Melrose community.

“When you find something you love and it fits in your schedule, it makes volunteering easier,” she said.

Carl is a volunteer firefighter, while Briana is on the fire department auxiliary, a group of significant others/spouses who provide meals and necessities for the firefighters during calls. Keeping the firefighters safe is their number one priority, and this group is a big family.

Briana also coordinates the Partners in Art program at St. Mary’s School, which was started by Jane Mullen in 1988.

Once a month, volunteers are trained on two artists, and their prints teach K-6 kids to analyze, compare and contrast art. The program has continued since Jane’s passing in 2011, with the help of volunteers and Briana, who coordinates the training and materials.

Briana volunteers for the Dutchmen Booster Club, which provides funds for activities in the district, including sports banners, banquets, and uniforms. She is a lector and Eucharistic minister for St. Mary’s Church. She also co-chairs the Miss Melrose pageant and volunteers for Little Miss Melrose.

With a knack for event planning, Briana had a hard time saying no when asked to chair Miss Melrose. As co-chair, she has enjoyed starting the program from ground zero and building it up, with a focus on making the community better.

“It’s great to see kids up in front of others, being comfortable in their own skin,” and Briana enjoys seeing how much confidence they gain. “They learn to be themselves,” said Briana, who had the experience of running for Miss Melrose. She can identify with the girls who don’t receive a crown; again, drawing from her life experience in ways she did not plan.

Since her father’s passing, Briana reflects often on how he lived his life. It brings her joy when people talk about ways he brightened their lives, and she asks herself, “What did I do in the last couple days to honor him?”

As she carries on his legacy by brightening the lives of her students and others, Briana truly enjoys what she does and is definitely leaving her mark on the community.

Congratulations to Briana Worms for her nomination as Volunteer of the Year by the Melrose Chamber, and being November’s Person With A Passion.

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