Jessica became involved with the Neighbors’ Come As You Are program in her early 20’s when she began taking her younger brother to the bi-monthly events. She quickly transitioned from attendee to helping out as a volunteer and now she leads the events. Working alongside the Volunteer Department at Neighbors, Jessica helps coordinate the programs and activities for each Come As You Are event. Some of her favorite Come As You Are program activities include the Halloween Party (because everyone wears costumes), the Christmas Party (because Santa makes an appearance), and doing projects – such as decorating gingerbread houses. She also introduced a new event to the annual Come As You Are calendar: Prom. It was impressive to her how quickly participants adapted to this new event, with almost everyone dressing up in full prom wear the very first year.

When asked what she enjoys most about volunteering for the program, Jessica said she has a passion for people and loves to see the participants happy and having fun with their friends. She is glad to be part of a program where “everyone is welcome.” Volunteering and helping others are also good reminders to her to be grateful for the blessings in her own life, she says. “Give your time to someone else. You get so much back.”

The Come As You Are program is coordinated by Neighbors volunteers and hosted at First Presbyterian Church of South St. Paul the first and third Tuesday of each month. Events include fun activities, live entertainment, coffee and snacks. For more information about participating in or volunteering with Come As You Are, please contact Dylan at 651-272-1133.

Jessica is employed at Western National Insurance. Each year her employer not only donates financially to the Come As You Are program, but also allows employees one paid day to volunteer at the program of their choice. Much like her company’s emphasis on community involvement, one of Jessica’s mottos is: “If everyone helped one person, it would be a better world.”

Come As You Are Participants and Volunteers had a great time at the Fall Spectacular.