Claire Jackson: A True Holiday Hero
January 18, 2019
Volunteer, Friend, Grandma, Dog Lover, Nature Enthusiast, Golfer, Chef, Hostess Extraordinaire - sounds like a pretty amazing woman! Introducing Claire Jackson.
Claire first came to the Children’s Foundation nine years ago through the Adopt-A-Family program. She was working part-time and filled her spare time with volunteer commitments. She eventually gave up her paid job and devoted her time to volunteering with the Adopt-A-Family program, ensuring children in Guelph have a special Christmas.
“I first met Claire four years ago when I joined the team here at the Children’s Foundation,” says Volunteer Coordinator, Brenda Walsh. “I immediately knew that she was a force to be reckoned with. She is a “Get ‘er Done” kind of gal, and someone who can always be relied on to roll up her sleeves and tackle any task or project.”
Claire has been involved with many community organizations over the years, including Women in Crisis. She was on their Board of Directors when Marianne’s place was being built. Marianne’s Place is an emergency shelter for women in Guelph trying to escape violence, and Claire continues to be an advocate and voice for women in need of this kind of support.
When speaking with Claire about volunteering and the difference it can make, she shared that she is humbled and often brought to tears when she hears of the struggles and adversity some families are facing. “Knowing that I can help ease that burden and make things a little better, even if it’s for a short time, puts a smile on my face and brings me joy.” Because of Claire, thousands of children undoubtedly also have smiles on their faces and joy in their hearts.
Claire gives of her heart and soul for months during the Adopt-A-Family season, managing a big chunk of the office work involved with processing close to 1,200 family referrals. “I can’t imagine Adopt-A-Family without Claire,” says Program Director, Karyn Kirkwood. “She epitomizes all that is good about the program and the team of volunteer elves who give so much of themselves to make Christmas miracles happen. Her dedication and attention to all the little details helps keep the Santa machine running so smoothly, and she is a valued member of the team. What strikes me every year during the season is how deeply she cares, for the families and for her fellow volunteer elves. Her heartfelt devotion and thoughtfulness is very inspiring to me and I have so much admiration for her.”
Claire’s giving nature doesn’t stop at Christmas time. She joins the Children’s Foundation office team on a regular basis throughout the year, helping staff with various accounting tasks, database work, and a number of other administrative tasks. Outside of the office, Claire promotes the organization and programs everywhere she goes. She has recruited six of her friends who now also volunteer with Adopt -A-Family.
When asked what has kept her coming back for so many years Claire said, “It’s the people - the families, the other volunteers, and the Children’s Foundation team. This has grown to be much more than a volunteer role, these people and this place have become my family.”
We feel honored to work alongside this caring, funny, dedicated volunteer and feel privileged to be named as part of her family. Thank you so much Claire for all that you do at Christmastime and all year long.