Be the Change: Jennifer Godbout

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Boundless energy, smiles for miles, excellent organizational skills, and a knack for working with children and their families in the Anderson Community … these are just a few of the traits possessed by Jennifer Godbout, volunteer extraordinaire and Project SHARE After School Facilitator at Meadow Lane Elementary School.​

art-815-btc2“Jennifer is a very caring and kind person who makes a difference in the lives of children and their families on a daily basis,” says Christa Arthur, the community liaison at Cascade Union Elementary School District. “She is an active participant in all lessons. If the children are running the track for exercise, Jennifer runs with them. Jennifer looks for the good in all the students. She helps the children see their gifts and talents and encourages them to use them.”

Cynthia Vengley, the Project SHARE area coordinator, lists several examples of the rich experiences Jennifer offers for Project SHARE students at Meadow Lane, including nutrition and cooking, a garden club, dance, gymnastics, soccer, and a running club, that will be participating in local fun runs throughout the community. The program also provides homework tutoring and personalized learning support.

Jennifer will begin this school year by pursuing certification for Meadow Lane to become a Healthy Behaviors Site to encourage students to make healthy life choices, Vengley explains.

In addition to her work at Meadow Lane, Jennifer has volunteered in many capacities. She has served on school site councils, parent booster clubs, and the Anderson Partnership for Healthy Children. She helps coordinate Sober Grad night, was a Girl Scout leader, and coaches basketball through a partnership with Anderson Parks and Recreation.

Here’s what Jennifer has to say about working in the community, and what makes her busy job so much fun.

Who inspires you?

Mother Teresa inspires me. She devoted her life to loving and caring for others. I also feel my grandmother inspired me. She was always so happy … she cried more happy tears than anyone I know. She was non-judgmental and so full of compassion. And she had the greatest sense of humor. She gave all who knew her the gift of laughter.

What is your life philosophy?

“Be part of the solution, not the problem” and “lead by example” are my two top favorite life philosophies.

art-815-btc3What are you most proud of?

I am proud of my husband and children. I have been blessed with five of my own and am lucky enough to work with countless others every day. I am also very proud of the family literacy nights we’ve held. To have parents come and tell you that you made a difference in their lives is a rewarding experience.

What do you consider to be the most pressing issue of our time? 

Fear. It seems there is so much fear nowadays. I think we should all look for the positive and the joy in the world. Fear turns to anger and hate, and both are negative emotions that affect everyone around you.

What advice would you give to others who are considering volunteerism/serving on a board?

The advice I would give others regarding volunteer work would be to find your passion. What are your special gifts and talents? If you use those to help others then it’s fun and not a job. Volunteering is a wonderful opportunity and a blessing. Some of my best friends and jobs have come from volunteering. You get to meet so many amazing people you may not have known otherwise. Helping others is good for your soul!

What do you think is the most important wisdom to share with youth today?

Love and help others where you can. If kids learn to love and to give of themselves and carry that into adulthood, what an amazing world we would live in, where everyone helped out in some way. For example, for our service learning at Project SHARE, we collected coins for a sick child in our community, made art and thank you cards for our senior citizens, veterans and firefighters, and we had a food drive. The kids are learning to give back as young as 4 years old. I believe it teaches them a “we” mentality as opposed to a “me” attitude.

What has motivated you to “be the change”?

My children. I need to teach them by example.

Skye Kinkade
About Skye Kinkade

Skye Kinkade is a fourth generation Siskiyou County resident and mother of four lively children. She enjoys being part of a close-knit community that is so generous and kind in difficult times.

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