Throughout the ages, in North Hollywood or North Hampton, the older generation has asked "what is wrong with the youth of today?" From Beatniks to Hippies to Hipsters, the prior generation thought that the human race was doomed. Well, maybe they should have taken a good look at the Jaycees. Let's talk bout the Universal City North Hollywood Jaycees (UCNH Jaycees), a not for profit organization right here in NoHo. Its members are young people between the ages of 18 - 40 who have the desire to make a difference in their community. They do this through volunteer work, fun-raising with charities, and facilitating community service projects. They also focus on leadership and business skills, which will enhance personal growth and development. The UCNH Jaycees offer an effective way to build transferable business skills while participating in an array of interesting activities. You'll have the opportunity to acquire new customers, build a peer support network, give back to your community, and have fun!
We interviewed Wendie Wilson, president of the UCNH Jaycees. We wanted to find out why she wanted to take on such a multi-faceted job.
"I was offered the role of president from the previous one, a good friend of mine and fellow personal trainer, Nancy Sexton, when I was eight months pregnant. I initially considered turning it down as this was my first child and I had no idea what to expect regarding the time commitment needed for the Jaycees. After giving it some serious thought, I decided that now, more than ever, was a good time to get more fully involved in my community, including the high schools, Chamber and local charities. Feeling like I could make a difference in the community I live in had become more important than ever considering my own children will be growing up here."
Wendie, tell us about your background?
I graduated in 1998 from the University of Washington with a degree in Speech Communication. Several years were spent competing on our forensics team, including our national speech and debate competitions. I moved to Southern, CA in January of 2000 and fell in love with the SF Valley. I lived briefly in W. Hollywood and Los Feliz, but always found myself coming back to the Studio City, Toluca Lake, North Hollywood areas. In 2002, I had the chance to give a couple the gift of a child through egg donation. Ever since then I committed my life to this industry. I worked for one of the oldest Egg Donation agencies in the US for a little over eight years, eventually becoming VP. Eventually I left the program I worked for and started my own, Gifted Journeys. My mission is to run a green company that is affordable and receptive to all kinds of families. I recently wrote a book due out in February of 2012 titled: "The Insider's Guide to Egg Donation: A Compassionate and Comprehensive Guide for All Parents-to-Be."
Why should someone become a Jaycee?
The benefits of being a Jaycee are, first and foremost, a chance to make a difference in their community. Young people from different areas of life come together and decide what charity events to work with and what projects to take on in and around their city. It is also a chance for young business people to network with others in their community. Many business owners have come together to help build up their clients and learn skills that will benefit their companies through Jaycees connections and business building events. Also, state membership, membership in U.S. Junior Chamber and Junior Chamber International includes various discount with hotels, car rental agencies, theater tickets and local events.
The UCNH Jaycees do Operation Santa every year. Last year we were able to help more than 50 families have their Christmas "Wish List" come true by delivering toys and gifts on Christmas Eve. Several volunteers dressed up as Santa or elves and drove all around NoHo and surrounding areas to deliver the gifts. Our hope is to double that number by Christmas 2012.
- We recently participated in Good Girls Give - a charity which allows severely disabled people the chance to have a "dream day" which would otherwise not be possible. We were the #1 fundraising team.
- We are currently working with and supporting the plans to build high-speed rail throughout the state of California.
- NoHo Arts District events.
- We are open to working with all local businesses and organizations. If you have a charity or cause that you are passionate about, please don't hesitate to contact us.