Jan Patton: Volunteer Appreciation Spotlight
We would like to thank our volunteers for all the outstanding work they do. This month we are focusing on Jan Patton a dedicated foster parent and ECHO Every Child Volunteer.
If you would like to be a volunteer, please sign up here. There's always something for everyone.
ECHO: What motivates you to be an ECHO volunteer?
JP: As I was slowing cutting back on the number of foster children we were taking in, I found that my heart for the kids kept its intensity. With less children in my home I felt a little like an empty nester (not good for my type of personality). Anyway, ECHO was just preparing to launch and swing into action in a very public way. When invited to join in, I saw a huge opportunity to continue to work for foster children, foster families, and even bio families. This was a great fit for the hole I was feeling after serving over 350 children, I just couldn't see myself not supporting these kids.
ECHO: What makes your experience a meaningful use of your time?
JP: I have had so many opportunities in the past few months to help with projects that directly impact our kids in Douglas County. Just knowing that the few hours I spend at meetings or on the phone sharing the possibilities of fostering can help change a child's life is pretty powerful. It certainly gives me the encouragement I need to continue down this path with great expectation of what might be to come.
ECHO: What's the biggest personal benefit you receive as a volunteer?
JP: One of the things that makes me feel so good is that during this very strange time of Covid-19 and all that has become of our "normal lives" is that I was able to be part of some folks who wrote thank you notes to each and every foster family and then be able to include a small financial gift to perhaps help them during this hard time. It just felt good to let each of them know we were thinking of them, we appreciate them and all the work they do with the kids, and that they were not alone during this time.
ECHO: What contribution or achievement are you most proud?
JP: I guess I would say I am most proud of serving with a group of people who put in hundreds of volunteer hours so that children and families have the support they need. There are so many areas the ECHO helps out, so many places the work can be seen, and yet so much left to do. I love being a part of a group that sincerely believes that each of us can and should make a difference in our community starting with the very youngest and most vulnerable.
ECHO: Do you have a message to share?
JP: With hundred of kids in foster care we cannot give up. Each person can make a difference. I would encourage people to get in touch with ECHO and find out how many ways they might be able to help. Everyone can do something! There are things to be donated, things to be made, time to spend helping with projects, short term foster care and full time fostering that all need people to invest in them. There is nothing too small that it would not be appreciated and nothing too big that it could not be used to help our children. And, the great benefit is that it will make your life so much richer and so much fuller. You'll wonder why you waited so long to jump in.
Thank you Jan for sharing your heart for these precious children and doing what you do.
If you or someone else you know would be interested in fostering, please feel free to check out this link.