The past few years, I have had the honor to conduct these short interviews for National Volunteer Week (NVW) with some of our peer nominated volunteers. In that time, I have stayed quiet and not shared a personal nomination. It’s pretty hard to pick a standout volunteer from my personal chapter because each volunteer there is a personal friend, someone I can always count on, and a huge part of our community. I’d never want to be accused of favoring my personal group but I hope you will stick with me to learn about this amazing part of our organization.
So I’ll start with a thank you to our current volunteer team at Babywearing International of Grand Rapids. Our community has grown from a handful of moms to over 2,000 caregivers in our area. Caregivers attend our meetings because of you and the work you do. Thank you Alicia F, Alicia G, Anne V, Arika J, Ashley H, Becka A, Beth S, Emily E, Hannah A, Janet V, Jill M, Kate C, Kate J, Kristi M, Lisa D, Monique E, Rachel B, Rachel T, Sara F, Sarah C, Sarah N, Shelby W, Andrea A, Anne K, Bonny D, Ellen F, Erica P, Jamie P, Jessica L, Kayla J, Megan S, Rachel D, and….
Jess serves both on the local and national level for Babywearing International. She has formerly served Grand Rapids on the local Board of Directors as the Secretary and Director of Finance. She is a Master Babywearing Educator and currently serving a new role as Librarian. She has worked with a team – Janet, Rachel, and Emily to move our chapter fully into MyTurn. Myturn is a program that helps to make tracking of our library and membership easier….after all the initial setup. Jess is a rock to our chapter. She has also helped to move our chapter to individual incorporation, update our bylaws, create graphics and marketing materials, creates our annual reports, developed a more efficient budget and tracking system for our dues payments. Jess also donates her time as a photographer to capture photos at meetings and hosting a twice-yearly babywearing photo fundraiser for our chapter.
Nationally, Jess is currently serving Babywearing International as the co-chair of the Chapter Support Committee and as a Higher Accreditation Coordinator, guiding over 40 volunteers through the higher accreditation process. Jess has also formerly served on the national Education Action Committee chairing the Infographics Team. If you have used or seen any of the following graphics – Jess has touched your life also. Her credits include the infographics for “Babywearing Benefits for Perinatal Mood or Anxiety Disorders,” “Navigating Your First Babywearing Meeting”, and “What is the BEST baby carrier?”. Jess also created the Optimal Positioning Cards, as well as, the ABC safety cards in English, Spanish, Hungarian, Portuguese, and Taglog.
I could go on and on but you may already be overwhelmed by her dedication. I know that I am daily. Jess is a hard worker and extraordinary educator. Task manager to us all, this quality can often be under appreciated in the volunteer field which can thrive well on fresh ideas and ways to improve. But Jess always follows through and puts it all together to support our dreamers, myself included,and to bring our ideas and her own to fruition. Jess has had a massive impact on our organization and our local community. I can no longer hold myself back to let you know all she has done.
Jess says she volunteers because she enjoys it but also because she was asked directly. She does not know if she would have started volunteering if she had not been asked. I can’t image what we would have missed. Thank you Jess for all that you do for our organization and our community.