Meet Your Neighbor: Preserve volunteer finds gratification donating time

Jakki Casey (submitted photo)

Name: Jakki Casey

Where I live: Desert Ridge, Phoenix

When & why I moved here: 4 years ago we were lucky enough to take a career break and travel around the western US and Canada. On our travels we visited friends in Phoenix a couple of times. When we were looking for our next place to settle Phoenix sprung to mind with the great climate and amazing hiking. We bought a house here 3 years ago.

What I like most about living here: The outdoor lifestyle suits me perfectly. I love hiking and enjoying the variety that Arizona has to offer.

Activities I enjoy: Hiking, hiking, hiking. And gym, spinning classes, yoga, spending time with friends and the wide variety of bars and restaurants this city has to offer.

Clubs/organizations I’m involved in: McDowell Sonoran Conservancy

My favorite charity or volunteer activity and why it deserves support from others? I became a volunteer of the Conservancy earlier this year and like many others wish I had done so sooner. The volunteers are hugely knowledgeable and welcoming. The depth of offerings still continues to impress me as I learn more. There really is something for everyone and it is very rewarding. When I spend time in the Preserve now I do so with a greater sense of pride being part of a strong community of volunteers who care about the Preserve and leaving a lasting legacy for future generations.

My No. 1 suggestion to new residents looking for ways to get involved in their community: Find a volunteer organization which matches your passions. Most people have a little spare time and being able to pair giving something back along with something you are passionate about is very personally satisfying. I have already made friends amongst other volunteers who I would not otherwise have met.

What one thing would you like to see changed in Scottsdale? Nothing springs to mind.

My family: I moved here with my husband, Patrick. He works so he isn’t able to hike as often as me but really enjoys getting out into the mountains at the weekends. We spend our vacation time visiting more national parks and love the variety they offer. I really think the US National Park / State Park / Preserve system is a US treasure.

What I do: I am currently taking a career break. Before this I was a VP of HR working on a wide range of projects from expatriation, operational effectiveness, organizational design, outsourcing, insourcing, setting up service centers, etc. The volunteering has allowed me to combine my previous experiences with learning more about the Preserve.

People who are an inspiration to me: Women who broke down barriers to make it easier for women of current generations. My husband’s aunt was a school principle at a time when very few women held senior roles in education. At the time, as a single woman, she wasn’t even able to qualify for a mortgage! We’ve come a long way since then and it was the determination of women like that who made great strides.

My advice to today’s youth: Enjoy your friends and family. When we moved to the US from the UK I underestimated the importance of family and long term friends so make sure you take time to enjoy them. If you do have to live far away from them make sure it is somewhere stunning like this city so they will come and visit you!

To volunteer for the city of Scottsdale visit www.ScottsdaleAZ.gov/volunteer.

The Scottsdale Independent is published monthly and mailed to 75,000 homes and businesses in Scottsdale.

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