Advocate of the Year- Jenny Rose!

Jenny Rose is a champion. An advocate for almost two years, Jenny’s contagious and tenacious passion for youth makes her an excellent model for Teen Feed guests and other advocates.  Her authenticity and ability to “be real” enables her to  connect with youth in a way that a lot of people can’t – and the youth respect her for it. She has a real ability to connect with youth, asking thoughtful questions and always keeping the focus on them. She is a champion in her family and community, sharing the impact of her Teen Feed experience amongst her friends and sons, creating awareness and allies wherever she goes.  It was our pleasure to honor Jenny’s commitment and generosity of spirit by awarding her Teen Feed’s “Volunteer Advocate of the Year” at our 2011 Annual Celebration in October. We invite you to get to know Jenny Rose…

How long have you been volunteering with Teen Feed?

That’s a good question ! I remember I first came along in the summer of 2010 so about 18 months now though it doesn’t seem that long …. Time flies !

Why/how did you get involved with Teen Feed?

I wanted to locate some volunteer work that involved interaction with people, so I browsed the internet looking for opportunities with youth in particular. Teen Feed was the first organization that popped up and, at the same time, I discovered that my next door neighbor who is a nurse, was volunteering at 45th Street Clinic which I noticed was a community partner on the Teen Feed site. I have a demanding and stressful job where I seem to have my head buried in my computer and tons of paperwork with very little daily interaction with people so getting out and about with people in the community was just what I needed to create a good balance in my life. Being a mom of three teenagers I was particularly drawn to Teen Feed. My sons and I are a terrific team – we all moved from the UK to the US settling here 10 years ago which was a huge adventure, and we work well as a family. I think I am learning so much in my “mom role” and wanted to share my experience.

What is your favorite thing about volunteering at Teen Feed?

Interacting with the youth for sure. They are a really interesting and awesome bunch.  They have fascinating, interesting personalities, are great company, and have so many experiences to share and needs to fulfill. I am constantly amazed by the stories they relate of their past experiences and of their current daily interactions within the community. It is quite an honor to gain their trust, share their struggles, have them accept your help, and it is so fantastic to hear about their successes. That’s probably the best part. The Teen Feed staff are simply awesome. Learning from and interacting with them is definitely one of my favorite things about the program. I am in awe of their level of care, support and dedication to both the youth and all us volunteers.. I have many new friends here now and it feels like being part of a big family  ! Oh, and let’s not forget about the yummy dinners!

What do you like to do outside of volunteering?

I love hiking – my husband and I head to Mount Rainier or the North Cascades most weekends and we got into mushroom hunting last year – I’m working on becoming an expert !! I really enjoy going to the theater, opera, symphony, and rock concerts ( I went to see Journey this week ! ) and I really love socializing with friends, cooking and throwing dinner parties. All my girl friends donate to Teen Feed so we have dinner / Teen Feed drive parties a lot ! Of course some of my favorite times are those hanging out with my boys – watching movies, game nights etc and we sit down to a family dinner every weekday night ( except on Wednesdays when I am with my Teen Feed family ! ) which is one of my most favorite times. I’m hooked on BBC dramas and shows – Silent Witness, MI5, Dr. Who, Vicar of Dibley. I guess some US ones are OK too –  like The Mentalist and Without a Trace J

What did you eat today?

Toast and British Marmalade for breakfast, chicken wonton soup for lunch…. And now I’m waiting for that yummy Teen Feed dinner !

What have you learned from volunteering at Teen Feed?

Gosh, so much. When you are bringing up 3 teens you kinda think you have seen, done and solved most things in a youth’s life, but … not so ! I have learned so much from our youth here. Particularly what is really important in life – what they need to live comfortably, happily and safely. How to create stability for them and offer support. Basically how best to fulfill their needs and build up a trusting relationship so they will share with you.  Building good communication skills is definitely the key to being a good advocate and learning to really listen and hear what is going on for them. I’ve had to learn how to build and maintain relationships within the time parameters of the program. It’s a challenge with only an hour once a  week, but I think I have learned how to leave every interaction on a good positive note until the next time and how to create positive anticipation for the future. When one of the older youth said to me recently “ you know, I’ve told you more in the last 30 mins than I’ve ever told anyone in my life, including my parents “ you know you are on the right track and it all becomes worthwhile !

Interested in being a volunteer advocate like Jenny? Please visit our Teen Feed Volunteer page or emails