"It feels good to know that you’ve made a difference."

April 19, 2019

“I volunteered and donated to international and national organizations,” Jazmyn said. “but once Seattle felt like home to me, I wanted to give back to this community.”

FareStart works with more than 3,700 volunteers a year and the work they do is vital to our mission. They work in the computer labs helping students with resumes, go on shelter runs where we deliver our community meals to hungry people, and even work in the kitchens prepping the food alongside our students and chefs.

Jazmyn has been volunteering with FareStart for two years. She first got her start with FareStart by volunteering with a group called “The World is Fun.” That group would bring in a dozen volunteers at a time and do large cleaning or prepping projects. Jazmyn liked it, but she wanted to do something a little different.

“I just started signing up on my own,” she said. “I wanted to really focus on meal prep. I’m extremely comfortable in the kitchen.”

After learning more about FareStart, she became a volunteer lead. Volunteer leads play an important role at FareStart as they act as the liaison between the chefs, the volunteers and the students. Often, on the weekends, volunteer groups are the main reason we can get our community meals out on time. We haven’t missed a delivery day in 26 years and volunteers and their leads are a big part of that.

“I want to be that layer between the chefs and volunteers,” she said. “I want the chefs to be able to focus fully on the students. They need that attention as that’s why we are all here in the first place. I try to be in charge with the volunteers and work with the chef to make task lists and then assign the volunteers to the best place for them.”

She loves working in the Community and School Meals kitchens because she gets to see the growth students go through as they make their way through the program. Students start the program in our Community Meals kitchen giving back to the community right from the beginning.

“This community, Seattle, has changed a lot in the past ten years,” she said. “We have a responsibility to give back to this city that gave us so much – our quality of life, our career opportunities. By volunteering, through my actions, I can do something about these issues that we face. That’s what is in my control. If we not only be an example to these students, but treat them professionally as we do so, that stays with them for years.”

Jazmyn has reflected on the opportunities she has had and knows that the way she treats other people could be the positive influence that stays with them.

“Life can be hard,” she said. “But I can share some of my good fortune with people by the way that I treat them - professional, kind and uplifting. They see that and experience that and they want to do that for others too. When you’ve done something for others, it feels good to know that you’ve made a difference.”

Want to get involved? https://www.farestart.org/get-involved