Carol what inspired you to become a Jaycee?
Almost three years ago, my grandmother passed away. I was charged with clearing out her house. This was especially hard for me because I only every saw my grandmother as a child during the summers and she was always busy. I remember quite un-fondly her baking delicious cookies that she never let me eat. It wasn’t until I entered her office to pack her things that I found out what she was actually doing with those delicious unreachable cookies.
My grandmother was a proud member of the Martinsburg Lioness Club for over thirty years. Her office packed from floor to ceiling with boxes of certificates, awards and medals honoring this woman for her charity work. She raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for homeless children in West Virginia. Her big project? Bake sales.
At that point I didn’t know what a Jaycee did. I was only here because Kymi made me do it. That remained for the case for quite some time, until it was time to renew. That’s when I heard about the Duffle Bags of love project. The Jaycees were collecting items to give foster children a bag containing items that belong to them: clothes, diapers, snacks, comfort items. I guess my grandmother would be proud if I stuck around for that. Besides, I was in the process of becoming a foster parent myself, so I was a little partial to the idea.
I didn’t know the true impact of this project until two of those duffle bags walked into my house a few months later. As a respite foster care worker, children can come into your house at all hours with absolutely nothing. Duffle Bags of Love is changing that in Kalamazoo.
As I approach my third opportunity to renew my Jaycees membership, I can tell you with 100% certainty that the Kalamazoo Jaycees make a difference. It is my honor, pleasure and duty as an active citizen to continue helping them make that difference. I gladly donate $70 to the organization that creates change one project at a time.