Jo began volunteering at the age of 12, during World War II when she manned an airplane lookout tower, alongside her mother. Later, as an adult, she worked with the Future Homemakers of America and also as a Girl Scout leader. More recently she's been involved with Hope Partners food distribution center, the Lions Club, the Claremont Manor Care Center and the Front Porch Communities Foundation at Claremont Manor.
Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic for in-person volunteerism, Jo, a resident of Claremont Manor since 2000, finds ways to contribute. In the past year, she turned her attention to collecting food for the Lions Club, a national volunteer organization dedicated to serving the needs of local communities. Hearing about her efforts, Claremont Manor's life enrichment team opened up the community's solarium as a space to take food donations.
"We were really excited to help with Jo's efforts," said Life Enrichment Director Terralyn Hamlin. "Especially during the pandemic when supplies for the greater community were desperately needed. Our combined efforts had the side benefit of helping us focus on something positive."
It didn't take much to mobilize Claremont Manor's army of volunteers. Staff and residents collected 219 pounds of food which was delivered the Hope Partners' Beta Center and distributed to people in need. "I was thrilled!" exclaimed Jo.
For Jo, volunteerism and philanthropy go hand-in-hand. She and her late husband, Jack, both served for many years on the board of directors of Pacific Homes Foundation (now Front Porch Communities Foundation).
"Jo has made a huge impact on the Foundations through her leadership," said Front Porch Foundation Executive Keith Church. "She's helped to transform programs that benefit her neighbors and the staff at Claremont Manor. As a leader, she encourages others to give in a very meaningful way by offering challenge grants during Philanthropy Week. She serves as a great example with her generosity, both in regards to her time and money."
For Jo, giving through the Foundation produces tangible results for those in her immediate circle – by offering assistance to qualified residents who have outlived their resources due to no fault of their own. "The Foundation staff really works hard," Jo said. "And they’re good people. They just knock themselves out to do things for us and to make our lives happy and safe."
Jo also takes inspiration from the many other residents at Claremont Manor who dedicate their time to giving back. "There are so many opportunities to get involved." she said. "Go to a place that serves older adults. Read to a person who can’t read anymore. Write letters for people who can no longer write. Donate blood. Join the Manor Club – it has several committees dedicated to enriching our daily lives."
Jo shares that the best thing about her volunteer and philanthropic activities is being able to connect with other people.
"At the end of the day," Jo said, "I just enjoy being able to do things for other people. I’m grateful and thank God every day that I’m able to take care of myself and that I’m able to do something worthwhile for somebody else."
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