A Northwest Indiana Life in the Spotlight: LaVonne Jarrett

LaVonne JarrettBorn and raised in Northwest Indiana, where she and her husband are raising their three children, LaVonne Jarrett has always felt a strong sense of dedication to the mentally disabled in her community.

For the past eight years, Jarrett has been working at St. Margaret's in Hammond as the Coordinator for the Volunteer Advocate for Seniors program. Previously, Jarrett had worked for the Indiana Bureau for Developmental Disabilities and the Arc of Indiana. Then, eight years ago, she was transitioning between jobs, still wanting to remain in the same field and was recommended for the job at St. Margaret's. Having worked more than ten years with people with developmental disabilities, Jarrett was quickly hired for the coordinator position.

"As soon as I met Vanessa Nathan, my superior, it was very clear that she and I would work very well together," Jarret said. "Having a great team to work with makes my job so much easier and enjoyable."

She has always had a passion for helping the developmentally disabled, and at St. Margaret's she use that passion to help others and their families. The sisters of St. Margaret's have set up the Volunteer Advocate for Seniors program under their missions department, so Jarrett and her coworkers do everything they can to make sure that the sisters' mission is upheld.

"I love so many things about my job, I can't even think of where to start. To see a free service offered to a senior citizen with no money, who has found themselves in a hospital is something special," Jarrett said. "One of the best things about working here, though, is being able to help these patients in any way that I can."

They also have a very large volunteer department, consisting of retired nurses, lawyers, caregivers, and other wonderful people from the local community. After forty hours of training, these volunteers are sworn in as Officers of the Lake Superior Court.

"We are always look for volunteers," Jarrett said. "All of our volunteers are so wonderful, and to get to be a part of their experience here, to see their passions ignite and take off is just wonderful."

When Jarrett isn't working at St. Margaret's, she is busy doing any and all kinds of volunteer work through her church, Embassies of Christ Kingdom Ministries. There, Jarrett helps to feed the homeless, provide transitional housing, and helps with counseling and substance abuse programs. Jarrett is also an ordained Deaconess through her church, volunteering her services for funerals and other such affairs to take place through her church.

"I love people, and to see them get to a better state is fulfilling," Jarrett said. "Success is measured by product. My purpose in life is to change people's lives for the better, otherwise I'm not doing my job."

In what remains of her spare time, Jarrett enjoys spending time with her family, reading, and singing. With an entire family full of singers, Jarrett has been singing since she was a little girl, attending a performance arts school as a child. Currently, she spends a lot of time in the recording studio working on her EP.