Volunteer Voices: RJ Jenkins

INTRODUCING VOLUNTEER VOICES. THROUGH THESE BLOGS, VIDEOS AND PHOTOS YOU'LL HAVE THE CHANCE TO MEET UNITED WAY VOLUNTEERS WHO LIVE UNITED BY ENGAGING IN OUR COMMUNITY.

UNITED WAY OF MARION COUNTY IS DEDICATED TO PROVIDING A WIDE VARIETY OF RESOURCES AND OPTIONS FOR YOU TO GET INVOLVED. TO LEARN MORE ABOUT WAYS YOU CAN BE INVOLVED VISIT VOLUNTEERMARIONCOUNTY.ORG


"The Marion County Literacy Council was having a record year before the pandemic hit. We were serving a record number of students, those students were realizing their educational goals at record pace, and we were on track to set a new record for the largest number of new donors ever to give to our organization. To quote the Irish blessing, the wind was at our back, and the sun was shining warmly upon our face.

 
And then the pandemic struck, and I’ll be honest: it hit us like a mack truck. Like many of our colleague nonprofits, we had to cancel most of our fundraising events. We had to close our school temporarily. We had to pivot, and then pivot again, and then pivot again.
 
But we’re a lean, resilient organization, and both our tutors and our students are tough, smart, and passionate. We created a Perseverance Plan, we have tried to be prudent and stay flexible, and our community has continued to show up for us in ways that have encouraged us and humbled us in equal measure.
 
We have always been immensely grateful to be one of United Way of Marion County’s Financial Stability Partners, but now more than ever, we feel the fullness of United Way’s impact on the work that we do.
 
Thanks to support from United Way, we are still teaching adults to read and write, empowering them to earn their GED, and helping them become more capable, more confident speakers of English. Thanks to support from United Way, we are still providing services that make people more employable, help grow and sustain our local economy, and elevate levels of health, civic engagement, and happiness. Thanks to support from United Way, we are still lifting people up as they work to build better lives for themselves, for their children, and for their families. This work has never been more important than it is right now.
 
At the Marion County Literacy Council, everything we do – and everything we are – is because of the generosity of our community, and that includes our partnership with United Way of Marion County. And we work hard every single day to transform that generosity into life-changing services that lift up some of our community’s most vulnerable – and most aspiring – members."
 
  
 
R.J. joined the Marion County Literacy Council team as a volunteer tutor in March 2017 and became a Board member for the Council shortly thereafter.  R.J. serves as a Curriculum Designer for the Center for Veteran Transition and Integration at Columbia University in New York City, faculty coordinator at Webster University here in Ocala, and the founder of Pyxis Admissions, a boutique college consulting company.  In addition to this, RJ is a member of the United Way PR & Marketing Committee.