Spotlight: Jessica Berry, Co-President
I love that my kids get to see me getting involved in the bigger community, and that the things I'm getting involved with are for kids who might not have everything they have.
What motivated you to join Marin Charitable?
I joined at a moment in my career when I was taking a step back, and I was looking for an easy to be more connected to the community. I knew I wanted to help kids. I felt like my own kids were part of a well-taken-care-of group, so I was seeking to help those who I knew were struggling. It just so happened I was at an after-school sports event, and I was sitting next to a mom who was sorting through the Marin Charitable mail. When I asked what she was doing, she mentioned a general meeting that was happening that night. She suggested that I attend with her, and I did. I joined!
I no longer hang with that mom - it was just the right moment. It is also very out of character for me, not knowing that mom. It wasn't an easy thing for me, but I did it. I joined the Grants committee right away and the following year, I chaired the Grants Committee. I joined in 2013...yeah, 2013. So, going on 8 years now.
Which agency that really touched you over the years, and why.
It's funny. I'd say different things at different times over the years. I’ve always felt that any organization that helps foster kids is one I think is especially touching...I feel that a lot. But, they all do. I don't think I could name one off the top of my head that doesn’t.
What do you think is the largest challenge facing our youth today?
I think it's mental health. I think that it's something that kids from all demographics are susceptible. I think tech is isolating. I mean, it’s all things we already know. Gosh, I mean just having a teenage girl...the amount of sort of engagement and what people are considering friendships...all these things are so fleeting and impersonal and it really puts kids in a vulnerable position. And let’s be honest; mental health isn't going anywhere. It's only getting worse. I do believe people are talking about it and if you're a kid, there are opportunities to take advantage of things like health and wellness centers, therapy, etc.
I love that my kids get to see me getting involved in the bigger community, and that the things I'm getting involved with are for kids who might not have everything they have. It creates opportunities for conversation, and it's made a huge impact on my own children. It is a great thing to model for them.