ROCKFORD, Ill (WIFR) -- Sometimes when people move away from their hometown they don't plan on coming back. That's what Brittany Freiberg thought when she moved to South Carolina. But after fifteen years she found herself back in Rockford and ready to be a part of movement to make the city better.
“In my mind, in order to make it, I had to leave.”
After growing up in Rockford, Brittany Freiberg promised herself she'd leave the forest city after graduating from Lutheran High School.
“I knew from 8th grade on that when I graduated high school I wanted to go live in South Carolina,” said Chief Development Officer at Rock Valley College Brittany Freiberg.
Brittany lived up to that promise attending the College of Charleston.
“When my parents took me to drop me off for college and I realized this wasn't just a fun college poster, this was my life, I panicked. I asked them to bring me home. They did not. They told me I had to give it a year and 15 years later I was still there.’
She spent her college years studying health promotion. After graduation she got a job at the Citadel, a military college in Charleston.
“I just really found my niche within the nonprofit sector and created a life and a network there and was just happy. When I lived there I never thought I would come back to Rockford.”
But she was wrong. After more than a decade she traded the sand for snow and moved back to her hometown to be with her husband.
“I actually moved back here pretty reluctantly. I put up a good fight to stay. I left the place that was also ranked number one on every list you'd want to be in: friendliest people, best place to live, top wedding destination.”
The transition wasn't easy, but Brittany feels it came at a perfect time.
“I came back to what I thought was Rockford when I left at 18-years-old and it was different. There were so many people that were ready for change and fighting for change so it was an exciting time to come back.”
She chose to be part of that change. For the last seven years she's worked with the Rock Valley College Foundation raising funds to provide scholarships for students.
“I credit my happiness in the beginning to that position. I was moving home to family and friends but it was a different community then when I left. I was stepping into my husband's world and the network he created so Rock Valley gave me something that was just mine.”
Moving back may not have been Brittany’s original plan, but getting involved in organizations like Transform Rockford made her fall back in love with the forest city. Proving there's no place like home.
“There's just such a movement right now to be proud of where you are and to have that Rockford pride instilled in your family and so I want my kids to grow up being proud of being from Rockford, Illinois. When someone asks you where you're from, you don't say I’m from outside of Chicago you say I’m from Rockford, Illinois."