Feeling Blessed? Pass It On.
Now that January is upon us, and all the wrapping paper, ribbons, and bows have been stored away for another year, people like Jan Eubanks remind us that the spirit of giving extends well beyond the holidays. Like several of her Kiawah Island Real Estate peers, Jan offers her talents to community organizations in need throughout the year. When asked of her motivation for giving, she responds without hesitation, “I feel blessed, and I want to pass that blessing on to others.” Fitting then, that Our Lady of Mercy Community Outreach program, which Jan proudly serves, describes its efforts as “sharing blessings, changing lives.”
Originally from New Jersey, Jan migrated south in 1974, where she met her husband and raised her children. The Jersey Girl’s transformation into Southern Belle might explain her desire to focus her charitable efforts locally. Our Lady of Mercy Community Outreach program, which serves both Johns’ Island and Charleston fit the bill. “I like to do things that are close to home,” she says, “I was on Jr. League in Charleston but would prefer to be community-based. Johns Island has one of highest poverty rates in the country. There’s a tremendous need out here.”
Our Lady of Mercy Community Outreach will celebrate 30 years of service to the Sea Islands in 2019. With a mission statement “to encourage and support self-sufficiency and self-worth for people in need in our community through education, wellness, and outreach services,” the non- profit organization has its work cut out for it. Jan (along with Kiawah residents including Frank Cassidy, Ralph Mastrangelo, and Diana Mezzanotte) recognizes the enormity of local need and is passionate in furthering the organization’s efforts. As the Chair of the Development Committee, she oversees donor and charity events. For high-income residents of Johns Island and its surrounding areas, it’s difficult to imagine the poverty level conditions that neighbors might be facing. “Community awareness,” Jan stresses, “is the main goal.”
The Johns Island campus boasts a wellness center as well as dental and prenatal care services. The staff works tirelessly to directly address the root causes of poverty through education (including ESL classes) and health programs. Kiawah Cares, the charitable program founded by the Kiawah Island Community Association, contributes annually to the ongoing needs of the organization.
Having worked for Kiawah Island Real Estate for two decades now, Jan is continually inspired by the naturally giving spirit of Kiawah and its residents. “One of the most amazing things about Kiawah is there’s a step back in time, people move at a slower pace, care about each other, take the time to visit with each other,” she explains, adding, “It’s a mentoring and giving community. Most people that buy at Kiawah come from a history of charitable giving. They continue to give when they settle in here — and they continue to give back generously.”
You’ll find on information on Our Lady of Mercy Community Outreach at https://www.olmoutreach.org/