Joanne Samora, Nominator
Quiet and shy, Jean Jennings spends her time making a difference in the lives of children. After a man intentionally injured his child, she volunteered to take the girl back and forth to the hospital for medical treatments. For Jean, heart wrenching tasks like this are part of her daily routine. For 14 years, she has devoted most of her waking hours to children in distress. She takes on the tasks most volunteers are not interested in doing: answering phones, filling in for the receptionist, running errands…but her main focus is abandoned and neglected children. Sometimes she volunteers as many as 300 hours a month for the department‘s Child Protective Services Program.
Jennings supervises visits between children and parents, and in many cases transports the children to facilitate such visits. She transported a child round trip from Coolidge, where Jennings lived until recently, to downtown Phoenix so the child could attend counseling sessions twice a week. Jean did not get home until 10 p.m. Yet, she did this for almost two years. Countless children‘s lives have been enriched because Jennings cared enough to help them. She tries to save as many of them as she can. Often, it is heartbreaking. But she is unable to turn her back on them. “Because they need help,” Jennings simply explains.