Read about our members
and why they volunteer
Each month starting January 1, 2021 we will feature one of our volunteers
Sally Rivard, President of the Jay Focus Group, is a former high school French teacher, who now pursues her passion of teaching fitness, Tai Chi, Qigong and Yoga outdoors, in the beauty of nature. She focuses her volunteer activities on the Vermont Symphony Orchestra (Chair of the North Country Friends of the VSO), the Jay Community Recreational Centre (Co-Chair), and the Jay Focus Group (President). "The Jay Focus Group is special. If there is a need in the community, we try to help. I love Jay Focus Group activities that require physical labor.....hard work makes the results special. I think it's really important for us to model compassion and kindness for our neighbors. Like the Lorax said, "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not." Please join us in building our community-mindedness... all efforts big and small are appreciated."
Introducing our current Jay Focus Group Treasurer and long time Grant Writer, Denise Rossignol.
"Having been raised by parents who were avid volunteers and who emphasized the importance of giving to your community, volunteering for me became a natural part of my life. I began volunteering in elementary school with a local wild animal rescue group. This evolved into volunteering as an EMT and later on a paramedic for my community volunteer ambulance service. As an avid medical grant writer in my professional career, I felt my best strength was to be able to provide my expertise to the Jay Focus Group, wherein I could potentially assist in supporting the Jay community. Education has always been my number one passion and still remains my priority in trying to make a difference." Denise is also an integral member of the Jay Community Recreational Centre for the Town of Jay; an artist and outstanding Grant Writer. She was the driving force in making 2000 cloth masks that the Jay Focus Group gave to those in need.
Vice President, Kellie Olio Flanders. Kellie is an original member starting with our 1st Bake & Tag Sale in 2007 raising funds for the Jay Westfield Elem School After School Program. Dave & Charlie will be highlighted at another time. Kellie is an integral part of our annual tag sales and we can truthfully say she marks each and every donation and truly loves to sell raffle tickets. " I really love volunteering and giving back to the community. When you see people or the community in need of something, and you have the capabilities to do something about it to help, it feels like the right thing to do.. All you need to do is give some of your time to help others in need. I have had my daughter, Charlie, helping out with volunteering at a very young age and she enjoys all that she does. My thought in life is if we all do a little to help, we can all do a lot together. " Kellie owns "Kellie's Custom Cakes" in Westfield, please do reach out to Kellie on Facebook to view photos of her fabulous cakes for your next occasion.
Mary & Arnold Cota
"Volunteering to us means helping people, which in the end means we've helped ourselves, by not only improving the community we live in, but by befriending and enjoying the company of folks we otherwise might have never had the opportunity to meet. Our parents gave of their time and it's a way for us to remember and honor them." Mary & Arnold are always willing to go that extra mile. Whether it be picking up tag sale items, building saw horses to make tag sale tables, taking "stuff" to local dump, recycle, sell items on FB and Craig's list and one rememberable year of picking up & transporting young feisty cow to Jay Summer Fest.
Founding member Pat Sanders, my initial goal in being a member of the JFG was to help create a sense of community in the small town of Jay that had a separate identity from Jay Peak. Over the years that initial goal has expanded to include making connections with the greater Jay area, through our scholarship programs, our support of the local area food shelf and our sponsorship of our many fundraising events with the highlight being the Jay Summerfest. As a school teacher, my focus was always on having students give of themselves and encouraged them to volunteer their services to their community. Through my involvement with the JFG I was able to give my students the opportunity to volunteer to do face painting and helping with the clean up after The Jay Summerfest and I loved watching them interact with the younger members of the Community. Getting to be a part of the Christmas Tree lighting and seeing that event grow from a handful of people to close to 60 community members(pre-COVID) leads me to believe we can create a sense of community in The Town of Jay. While we still have much we can do to achieve our goal of bringing the residents of Jay together as a unified community, I do feel that over the years we have made a difference in many peoples lives and that is what keeps us volunteering our time with the Jay Focus Group. I appreciate and value working with such a great group of volunteers and want to especially thank those few who have taken on the leadership rolls in our organization. I encourage everyone in our community to become involved with either our JFG or just volunteer a little your time for our events. You will get back so much more than you give!
Founding members Janice & Svein Kruse
My husband Svein and I were at the first meeting of the Jay Focus Group and have been members ever since. Having moved from Miami to a small town of just over 300 people was such an eye opener for us. Everyone knows each other which in this case is all to the good.
The most important thing about this particular group is the size of the impact on the community and the difference we are able to make. We have passed on this awareness to our children and grandchildren, and I am glad to have done that.
There is such satisfaction in it for us to be able to help raise the money and then have a say in where it should go. We will continue to contribute our time and effort for as long as we are able.