Retiring two years ago after a 20-year accounting career, longtime Ann Arbor resident Jennifer Edwards wanted to give back to her community and retain some focus.
“I’ve seen a lot of people retire and have no focus,” Edwards said. “I wanted to make sure I found some.”
She’s found plenty of focus at Ypsilanti’s Dawn Farm, a nonprofit organization that treats alcohol and drug addiction. On September 8, Dawn Farm celebrated its 40th Anniversary with its annual jubilee, and only public fundraiser. The event included a silent action that Edwards organized and executed, bringing in thousands of dollars for the organization. She also helps send out mailings and performs support visits.
“Since I am enjoying long-term recovery, it was natural to gravitate toward those affected by alcohol and drug addiction. Being a cancer survivor as well gives me the perspective of how tenuous life is,” Edwards said. “It’s important to be grateful for all that we have, and to pass that on to others.”
Dawn Farm Development Director Megan Rodgers says Edwards is always eager to help in a variety of areas and, because of her dedication, was named September’s volunteer of the month.
“Not only is she dependable, she brings a level of enthusiasm and professionalism when she volunteers with us,” Rodgers said. “She’s been a pleasure to work with and an asset to our organization.”
Dawn Farm is a 64-acre working farm that offers two to six month stays for people who suffer from substance abuse. Residents are offered group therapy, individual therapy, case management, recreation, vocational referrals, job training, and programs to improve basic family relationships.
Edwards encourages anyone suffering from addiction to ask for help and says that volunteering impacted her life in the most positive ways.
“The gratitude expressed by those recipients of my volunteer work gives me a sense of purpose and fulfillment that is unequaled–it feels wonderful…it’s mentally profitable. [I encourage others to] be grateful, humble and right sized– think more about others, and be less self-centered. Life will be more rewarding and enjoyable.”