Jen and I met in a Chinese language class our first year of college (that I promptly dropped the first week, ha!). During college and beyond, I have always known her to be positive, involved, confident and dynamic!
Since college, Jen has gone on to do BIG things that always showcase her spirit of giving. Both personally and professionally, Jen gives and gives and gives! I am so thankful that she took the time to chat for today's post.
What areas of giving are you involved with (past/present)?
As an undergrad at Bucknell, I was involved in various organizations where I could devote my time. I received a volunteer of the year award as a sophomore due to my involvement with the Bucknell Brigade to Nicaragua and volunteering at local non-profits through my sorority at Kappa Kappa Gamma. Once I graduated, I believed that it was a necessary part of my life to find organizations with which I could give of my time, talent and treasure.
My first job after graduating was at the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute. I loved serving through my career experience. I later became the Executive Director of one of the largest international child welfare organizations, Joint Council on International Children's Services.
I realized I had a need to personally give back to my local community and became involved with The Campagna Center, one of of the oldest non-profit organizations in Northern Virginia. I served on their board and on the board of their volunteer arm, the Junior Friends, eventually becoming Chair of the Board. I also volunteered at my church, DC Metro Church, as their Guest Services Director, as Class Gift Chair for Bucknell University, as Alumni Advisor for my sorority, Chair of my children's preschool and Chair of their elementary school live auction.
As Co-Founder of Trustify, which is the first nationwide network of private investigators on-demand, we wanted to instill a culture of giving back through our local community and with our clients. We partner with various non-profit organizations such as Becky's Fund, a national intimate partner violence non-profit, the National Council for Adoption, The Midwest Innocence Project and Martha's Table. We give pro-bono services for exoneration cases for the wrongfully convicted, missing and exploited children, domestic violence survivors and victims of stalking. We want to truly make the world a better place through our work.
We also want to instill this culture of giving with my team, as well. We have an "8 for 8 Policy" for our 24 full time employees. We have a monthly Day of Service as a team serving a local non-profit in the DC Metro area. All employees who participate receive an additional 8 hours of paid leave to serve at a non-profit charity of their choice. Thus, the giving of time and service grows exponentially - we can do even more good in our community.
We are proud of this culture and that we attract some of the best talent in the industry due to our focus on doing good.
What are your earliest memories of giving?
As a young child at St. Jude's School, I remember having lots of opportunities to raise money for St. Jude's hospital for children through our math-a-thons and read-a-thons. My family was very focused on giving and instilled the importance of giving back at home. We regularly helped my mom make casseroles for the local soup kitchen and my dad organized a team made up of our family and friends to walk for multiple sclerosis every year. We knew nothing else but to make giving a part of our life.
Who/what played/plays a role in your spirit of giving and how?
My husband, Danny Boice, and I are raising our five children to know that giving of our time and treasure is a part of our family's mission. I believe they learn best by example. They see the various organizations we serve through our board positions and volunteering. We allow them to fill backpacks for children at the start of the school year through our church DC Metro Church. We also chose schools that value giving back. Our children regularly participate in snack packing days for children living in local shelters. They buy mittens and hats with their own money through their school's giving tree at Christmas and made pies at Thanksgiving.
What do you enjoy most about giving?
I think it comes back to being raised to believe it is as much a part of life as going to school, working and raising my family. It is just what you do. I believe my family has been so blessed and we have a duty to give out of those blessings.
What are the challenges you have faced with giving (at present or in the past)?
I think the biggest challenge is having to say no when an organization asks me to sit on a committee, chair an event, etc. There are only so many hours in a day and that is frustrating, as there are so many places with which I want to give.
What is one piece of advice/wisdom you would like to share about giving?
So many people tell me they wish they had more time or resources to give. My advice to them is to just jump in. No amount of time or treasure is too little. It can seem that your talents or resources are not as substantial as someone else's, however that could not be further from the truth. If everyone gave just a little of their time, talent and treasure, the impact would solve most of the world's problems I believe.
What social media are you on that I can share?
Facebook: Jennifer Mellon
Are there nonprofit organizations you are affiliated with where people might want to learn more or even donate?
And what an incredible example of grace and service you are, Jen! Your words and actions are powerful. What a strong model of giving you radiate to your children and to your team at Trustify. If only every company did the same!
You are a wonderful example of being incredibly busy and building a life woven with giving. Thank you, Jen, for taking a little time for Giving Grows!