Janele Mckay posted a request for school supply donations on LinkedIn. When we saw that, we knew we had to reach out to this woman, who like so many others in this world, is trying to make a difference by helping others. Many of us would like to do charitable things, but don’t move beyond the thought or the idea. However, we are willing to donate and share if asked. It takes a special kind of person who wants to dedicate the time in their life to help others, especially children. We wanted to talk to Janele so we could learn a little more about her and what she wants to do.
You went from political work to teaching. What inspired the change?
The political work was an internship and a very amazing and insightful experience that I had the opportunity of doing while completing my A.S. in Human Services. I’m very interested in doing work in which I can make a difference. After obtaining my A.S. I struggled with finding positions in my field. So I went on to obtain a B.S. in Healthcare Administration and found my self in the same position. I currently work part time as a substitute teacher until I find more stable work and/or graduate with my M.S. At this point I wouldn’t mind being a college professor but would really prefer to do something more meaningful. Something that wound bring about recognizable change.
You are reaching out to people asking for school supplies for children. What prompted this?
A family member of mine is an advocate for gun violence and invited me to join her cause. I helped to chaperone the Jr. Newtown Action Alliance Teen Summit and now I’m helping her and another friend with the back 2 school function. We hope to have our own non profit in the near future. In the mean time I’m looking forward to dedicating my time to more functions similar to the two mentioned and find my footing so that I can fulfill my need to help others in need and do something inspiring.
How is the back 2 school supplies collection going and what items are needed most?
I personally haven’t revived much response. However, my partners have received a surprising amount of donations including clothing.
I would say backpacks and three ring binders are needed most. These items are a little more pricey. We tend to receive many items for grade school but could use some middle school items as well. However, all donations are accepted and appreciated.
What school district are you working with?
I usually work with the Terryville and Plymouth school districts as a substitute teacher through Kelly’s Educational Services.
What age groups?
I have worked with all age groups.
What are some of the more specific needs of these children beyond the need of school supplies?
They need attention! They are bored! They need a place to go. A place where they can be themselves. A place where people will listen and take interest in their ideas vs. shoving the need to go to school down their throat. Education is extremely important but its nothing if one doesn’t have a sense of being and confidence.
What else are you trying to do for these children?
My long term plan is to open a recreation center with an Arts and History focus/theme in mind. In the near future I hope to organize a successful Christmas toy drive.
What other avenues are you seeking for school supply donations?
This was an idea that started small and became bigger than expected. I just jumped on board and continuously offer my assistance as needed.
Do you have an organization or do you plan to start one?
I definitely plan to start one. I have big dreams but I’m hearing I need to start small. So I’m currently helping when, wherever, and however I can. In doing so I hope to be able to immediately give back to the community and connect with individuals that may help me support future projects.
Are you working with other people?
Yes. My cousin September Chatfield, and those in which she has connected with throughout her advocacy.
Have you reached out for corporate sponsorships or donations?
No. We are looking forward to starting a Hartford chapter with the Newtown Action Alliance group. However, I would like more information on how I can reach out to sponsors who would fund a recreational center. Our kids need an inspiring place to go. One in which they can both learn and fulfill their dreams.
What kind of help do you need?
We could use some guidance so that we can continue to work efficiently and effectively. We could also use some direction on how to obtain funding for larger projects. I’m currently writing our business plan and would love if someone could proof it and provide some expert opinions.
If people want to send donations or to help in other ways, how do they reach you?
My email address is Janelemckay@yahoo.com. From there, we can share phone numbers. I would love to speak to anyone who is interested in helping or donating.
What are your own personal goals for your future?
I’d like to run a non profit organization that help children change the way they think. One that would appeal more to their dreams while helping them understand the importance of education. Most of all give them a place they not only enjoy going but one they will truly grow from. I also hope to start a group for battered women. The group will not only give them a peace of mind, but will provide them with the skills and resources they need to truly be free and live a normal life. Again I’m looking to do something that is meaningful. Something that will change lives.
What inspires your desire to set up a group for battered women?
My inspiration for a battered woman group comes from personal experience. Much of the assistance available is not advertised. You really have to do your research and dig for it. This can be hard for individuals who are suffering from domestic violence. They need guidance support and direction. Many have asked how do I do it. My response is just that I do what has to be done. My children in all honesty have been my true motivation.
Please reach out to Ms. Mckay if you would like to donate items for children or if you are interested in helping her develop the non-profit organization to help children and/or battered women! Janelemckay@yahoo.com. You can also visit her website at http://RootedInGoodCompany.org.