Talking with someone who truly loves their profession and speaks passionately about the work they do is always a valuable way to spend some time. In speaking with Sharon Colee, the Executive Director for Jasper County Community Services, it’s obvious that she loves her job and has always been dedicated to helping others. Now, she works to help the elderly and provide them with meaningful programs, resources, and social opportunities at various centers in the area.
Colee came to Jasper County Community Services in 2003 after serving at Leadership La Porte County. She found that she always drifted towards community service jobs and nonprofits, and felt that the senior centers run by Jasper County Community Services could offer her an opportunity to make a big impact.
“Working in community service always seems to be the direction I go,” Colee said. “It’s in my heart, the sense of giving back and community involvement. [JCCS] was a new venture for me, but I felt it had a lot of potential and a chance to have a lot of hands-on work with the community.”
That involvement in the community, especially involving seniors, doesn’t end with her day job, though. Colee also serves on the advisory board for Northwest Indiana Community Action and is a member of the Board of Directors for SAGA: Senior and Adult Guardianship Advocates.
“There are many people that do not have advocates for their care,” Colee said. “It definitely makes a difference and it’s something I’m pleased to be a part of.”
Clearly, aiding the elderly is important to Colee, but perhaps her greatest joy from all of her involvement is Jasper County Community Services itself, and the three senior centers it runs. Colee understands the role that heavy involvement plays for an organization.
“I’m a firm believer that when you are a part of any agency our business, it can’t always be run behind the desk,” Colee said. “You need to be out among the people, you need to understand their needs.”
The impact of these centers is incredibly personal to Colee as her own mother visits them on a regular basis and has found enjoyment in attending.
“My mom will be 90 this year,” Colee explained. “She loves coming to the senior center; that itself is so much of what we do. I see my own mom thriving and honestly having better health and a better social life here.”
While being this heavily involved would be enough for many, Colee also finds time to attend church and to sing at local senior centers and care facilities. She can be found, along with her husband Larry, using her voice to entertain and inspire many throughout the area.
“I couldn’t do what I do without the support of my husband. He’s very involved with what I do. We sing together, and he volunteers at the centers. He does so much,” Colee said. “All of that helps me to do what I do because I have this support system.”
Outside of work, Colee is heavily involved in many organizations that aid her community. From singing and volunteering to working with seniors in her own community, Colee is sure to leave a positive impact wherever she goes.
“My time is spent with my job, my family, and these other avenues of involvement. They are very closely knit together which is good,” Colee said. “I’m very grateful that I’ve been able to serve in this position and community.”