by Tim Froberg
Downtime is a concept that Jodi Avery doesn’t embrace.
She is a retiree but leads a busy life as one of the area’s most dedicated volunteers.
Jodi is active with the Darboy Kiwanis Club and has served on its board for the past decade. One of her favorite projects is the Young Athletes program, helping young boys and girls with cognitive disabilities learn basic skills like running, throwing, and kicking.
Avery is also involved with the Fox Cities Festival of Lights and serves as a liaison between the Kimberly High School Key Club and the Darboy Kiwanis. In addition, she volunteers with the St. Joseph Food Program and was a longtime board member of the Kimberly Area Soccer Association.
How did you get involved in volunteering?
“My mom (LaVonne Gavin) was always big on it, so it was engrained in me as a kid. She used to say, ‘Do something nice for someone else – then you’ll feel good and so will they.’ I remember doing trick or treat for UNICEF, bike rides for the March of Dimes, and a lot of church things.”
What do you get out of it?
“I love being around kids. It feels good to help people going through tough stages in their lives. It becomes fun, too, because the people you work with become friends.”
What do you tell those who want to volunteer but worry about the time commitment?
“If you love it, you’ll find time for it. If you’re feeling really stressed about it, then you’re probably doing too much.”
How has the pandemic impacted volunteering?
“Less people want to get involved because they’re afraid of getting COVID. Fundraising has been hit really hard because most of the fundraising events have been cancelled. We’ve had to get really creative.”