March Volunteer Spotlight: Jessica Jones
For our March Volunteer Spotlight, we are recognizing Jessica Jones of Trafalgar, Indiana. Jessica immediately hit the ground running as a volunteer when she joined the NPAF volunteer network in spring 2019. She successfully uses social media to reach others in her community as well as to share her experience as a patient with chronic pain and a caregiver to a child with a rare disease (give her a follow on Instagram, Twitter and YouTube!). Jessica was also featured in our Advocates in Action podcast (Season 1 Episode 3) sharing her experience as both a patient and a patient advocate living in a rural town. Read on to learn more about what Jessica has done for her community.
Describe the advocacy work that you’re doing in your community and what motivated you to start.
I have been trying to remind others in my community that they are not alone—providing them resources and addressing issues that may affect their health. In the beginning, my motivation was honestly just my passion for helping my community. I also drew motivation from my own experience being a patient and wanting to share my knowledge as much as possible with others so they know they aren’t alone and there is help!
What advice would you give to other volunteers who would like to do something similar?
Don’t be afraid to do it on your own! When I first started doing patient advocacy, I was alone. I overcame that fear because I knew people in my community needed my help. Now, those same people I’ve helped are partners in helping me. Don’t be afraid to ask others for their knowledge! I love being able to pick the brains of my fellow volunteers and taking what they have done and making it work in my community.
Since you’ve been a volunteer with NPAF, what are some of the things you are most proud of?
1. I helped organize a Mental Health Matters group where we are providing resource booklets for 35 (police) officers’ vehicles and a day-of training on how they can better approach someone with mental health issues.
2. Making the connections I have with my community and outside my community!
3. Becoming more brave to share my story—it’s a powerful way to help others know that they aren’t alone. I’ve also learned that by sharing my story and experience as a patient and caregiver, I can also help guide others to the help they need.
Jessica Jones is a NPAF volunteer and resident of Indiana.
If you would like to volunteer for NPAF, please sign up here.