JACKIE BARRON: OCTOBER VOLUNTEER OF THE MONTH
We sat down with Volunteer of the Month for October, Jackie Barron to discuss her journey with NRS. Jackie has been with NRS since April 2021.
NRS: What made you decide to volunteer with NRS?
Jackie: I went to a couple of volunteer orientations for different food pantries and never followed through with them. I don’t really know why. But I remember driving past the NRS office in Lakeview and something about it was really drawing me in. I can’t quite say what it was. I don’t have a strong affinity to teenagers or the issues they face, but maybe that’s why I felt like I could be helpful to the. I wasn’t going to get too broken up about it.
I remember myself at that age, as a teen, and thinking how nice it would have been to have someone to talk to. Before volunteering I came across a teenager who was passed out. Their friend was with them. I stopped to ask if they needed help, and the other kid said yes so I called 9-11. At the time it was the only thing I knew to do. I think now I would have done something different. I’m glad to be involved with NRS, it allows you to insert yourself in that moment in someone’s life and make a difference.
NRS: What keeps you coming back to volunteer week after week?
Jackie: (Laughs) Even when the conversation doesn’t go as well as I’d hoped I still feel good about it. Sometimes you give people 8 great ideas or things to consider and nothing seems to be resonating and they’re just as lost as when you started the conversation, I imagine that person later kind of reflecting back on what we talked about and maybe considering something in the conversation. It helps me to keep that perspective.
NRS: Tell us something you’ve learned from your experiences volunteering with us?
Jackie: I’ve learned how to not to jump to giving advice in everyday life. I tends to think I have great advice to give, but now I try to focus on the validation. If you focus on validation first they might be a little more open to hearing your suggestions later.
NRS: Give us a Fun Fact about yourself that you don’t think someone would be able to guess just by meeting you.
Jackie: I am actually (or try to be) funny. I have to bite my tongue sometimes because I can be inappropriate. I’m also really infatuated with the lakefront and like to stare at the water. I love walking, biking out there a lot.
NRS: What would you say to someone who was thinking of volunteering with NRS?
Jackie: I feel like it’s this really easy way to feel like you helped the world be a better place. It’s not REALLY easy, there’s a lot of training and a big learning curve, but you don’t have to lift or chop or move something heavy to make an actual difference.