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As guests arrived at the home of the superintendent of Elizabethtown Independent Schools, April Jackson helped set up for a meeting that had been in the making since September 2010.
It was just part of her passion for volunteer work.
“This is where my heart is,” Jackson said, specifically of her work in education.
Kicking off what is being called The Event, the meeting is the culmination of efforts by event co-chairwoman Jackson and others for the Elizabethtown Educational Foundation. The Event, she said, is slated to be held annually with a different theme each year.
This year it falls on March 17, St. Patrick’s Day, and is called “Be Seen Green.” Scheduled from 7 to 10 p.m. at Pritchard Community Center, The Event features music from The Headstones and includes an NCAA room to view basketball and an honor room, where personnel in the Elizabethtown Independent Schools system are honored.
Jackson said the kick-off is an effort to renew the vitality of a foundation that’s been around for 25 years.
“I’ve never met a harder-working group of people in the district,” she said.
At the meeting, as EIS Superintendent Gary French addressed about 18 attendees, Jackson handed out green informational packets, stopping occasionally to offer a hug or pat on the shoulder. Jackson and event co-chairwoman Lisa Addington, who Jackson referred to as her “partner in crime,” later addressed guests, who were asked to be ticket captains and get the word out about the event.
“Lisa and I feel like we’re giving birth,” Jackson said of the kick-off.
Jackson called The Event a friend raiser, a way of identifying supporters of the Elizabethtown Educational Foundation and celebrating the district’s accomplishments. Ultimately she hopes to be able to establish an endowment the foundation can live off of, she said.
“This should be a given,” Jackson said of The Event. “We should be celebrating what we do every year.”
The planned annual celebration is just one of the many ways Jackson has impressed peers and those associated with Elizabethtown Independent Schools.
“What has impressed me about April is she’s not an Elizabethtown graduate but she’s come to love the school system,” French said.
Addington remarked on Jackson’s vigor.
“April’s Energizer battery never runs out,” Addington said.
The educational foundation is just part of Jackson’s volunteer work.
At her church — Valley Creek Baptist Church — Jackson enjoys leading the student worship, PowerHouse, with her husband.
“It is the student-minded hour of worship for (kindergarten through fifth grade),” she said. “Children are our greatest investment, and we enjoy working with them in whatever capacity is needed.”
Additionally Jackson serves on the Campaign Leadership Cabinet of United Way of Central Kentucky, helping retain past top donors, known as Leadership Circle members, and cultivating new donors.
“United Way is such a full-circle opportunity to reach all of our community,” Jackson said. “It is hard to imagine not having their support when you think about all the lives the campaign touches each year.”
Jackson cited The Community Health Clinic of Hardin and LaRue Counties, SpringHaven Domestic Violence Program, American Red Cross, Feeding America and Big Brothers & Big Sisters, all of which receive “crucial” funding from United Way.
“How could you not want to be involved?” she asked.
The motivation to volunteer, Jackson said, is a responsibility for those who have much to be thankful for.
“By recognizing others’ needs it provides a reality check for all the good in your own life,” she said. “I think it is especially important to stress this to our children. You don’t have to travel abroad to find children hungry and other needs not being met right here in our community.”
Busy lives, Jackson said, usually is what keeps potential volunteers from getting involved.
“My husband, Thad, is extremely supportive of my volunteering and that makes it all possible. Period,” she said. “Without his understanding and support it would be difficult for me to accomplish my goals.”
Her children also understand the responsibility to give back to the community, Jackson said.
Kelli Bush, principal at Morningside Elementary School, said Jackson began volunteering and “hit the ground running” when her son enrolled at the school about four years ago.
“April has led a variety of projects for our school,” Bush said. “She decorated and spruced up our lobby area, has coordinated book fairs at Barnes & Noble for the benefit of our library, keeps our office area decorated with seasonal decorations and led remodeling of our school library.”
In addition, Bush said, Jackson is a member of the school’s PTO, coordinates the annual Fall Festival, leads the organization of teacher appreciation week and, with her husband, has donated to the school.
Bush described Jackson as “energetic and full of passion” for the school and district and “extremely organized and a born leader.”
“All of these characteristics make for one great volunteer,” Bush said.
Robert Villanueva can be reached at (270) 505-1743 or firstname.lastname@example.org.