Recently, we sat down with Jan Zoucha, the West Coast Regional Sales Manager at Assurity and longstanding CEDARS board member, to learn more about why she got involved with CEDARS and why she continues to be engaged.
How long have you been involved with CEDARS?
It must be 20 years, already.
I have been around this long because of the strength of the board and their sincerity for the mission. It’s not just about the safety of kids but the legacy of CEDARS to continue for another almost seventy years.
Part of that is what Jim Blue does so well—to monitor the external environment to see how we can best help kids and their families. He keeps us in an executive environment, up to date on daily programming and keyed into the legacy. Those three pieces are so important. A lot of that has to do with leadership and management—how they measure outcomes, which contributes to the integrity and credibility of the CEDARS agency. If you say CEDARS in the community, you get a positive reaction because of the incredible work being done there.
You grew up with a large family.
Yes, nine brothers and sisters. We lived in a small community with a lower income status. The question was, how do you raise kids with not a lot of money? My parents were hard workers, not as educated, but always wanted the best for us. I think this brought compassion and empathy to my work on the CEDARS Board. The kids we see are facing a similar poverty of resources. Certainly more so than what I faced. Too many children in our community are affected by the realities of abuse, neglect and homelessness, which keep them from realizing their full potential.
What prompted you to get involved with CEDARS?
I was a young professional and I wanted to learn and make myself better. I am passionate about learning and developing myself. CEDARS was outside everything I was doing in my work and personal life. And it gave me an opportunity to be part of an institution with a legacy. And of course I love the cause: kids who need an adult’s help to lead a normal life.
I want someone to know that if they’re contemplating getting involved with CEDARS or another charity that your first reaction might be that you’re too stressed, too busy, or you don’t have the ability but in reality you get so much more out of it than you put into it.
I want contributors to the kids and their families at CEDARS, whether in dollars or time, to know that you are appreciated and your efforts contribute to CEDARS legacy. It’s the reason why I love the organization and you should feel good to be a part of it—part of an organization with high standards and integrity.