SheJumps recently received a very generous donation from CHG Healthcare in Utah, which will be used to reinforce our youth programs and expand our reach to girls in our community who need access to the outdoors. We are incredibly grateful to this amazing company for helping us to get more women and girls outside! Read on to learn about how we wound up in running for this gift, the incredible work CHG Healthcare does to support local nonprofits, and a very special Utah jumper.
In the past ten years, SheJumps has created more than 15,000 opportunities for women and girls to get outdoors in nineteen states as well as in Canada (hi, Canada!). And for much of that time, we’ve accomplished this with a small, yet mighty dedicated volunteer staff and a bare-bones budget. But none of this would be possible without YOU. You, the volunteers who help us staff events, you who participate in SheJumps activities, you who share our mission with others, and you who cheer on your friends/daughters/sisters/mothers/neighbors from the sidelines. In short, you mean the world to us. Thank you for helping us to be who we are today.
While you’ve sustained us throughout the past decade, we also occasionally receive the kind of financial gift that allows us to jump ahead and further expand our reach to girls in our community who need access to the outdoors. We are feeling especially grateful this holiday season to one of our Utah jumpers, Jessica Kollman, her employer, CHG Healthcare; thanks to the generosity of both, SheJumps in Utah recently received over $30,000 to reinforce our youth programs and give more girls in underserved communities opportunities to incorporate outdoor activities into their lives.
Jessica learned about SheJumps through a chance meeting with Claire Smallwood (our awesome executive director), and felt an immediate connection to our mission and vision for our programs in the future. While driving home from the gym a number of years ago, Jessica was hit head-on by a drunk driver and the collision crushed both of her feet. Unable to walk but determined to stay active, Jessica began searching for an activity that would allow her to regain physical strength without further injuring herself and, encouraged by her colleagues, took an employer-sponsored yoga class through CHG while undergoing physical therapy. Not only did yoga help her to strengthen and heal her body, but it allowed her to deal with her anger following the accident and eventually forgive the driver who hit her.
Throughout her recovery, Jessica spent a lot of time reflecting on the things that were important and meaningful to her, and realized she wanted to share the joy she had found through yoga with people who didn’t have access to classes. She decided to pursue yoga teacher training and certification, and has been teaching both yoga and meditation to children through a partnership with the United Way of Utah, while still working full-time for CHG.
This past year, CHG honored Jessica’s volunteerism during their Making a Difference Week charitable giving program and allowed her to select a nonprofit of her choice to receive funds raised during a Making a Difference Week activity. Activities include pizza-eating contests, balloon-gram gifting, live auctions, Hot Wheels races, and more, with all money raised going to support local charities. Jessica chose SheJumps to benefit from the balloon-gram fundraiser as “a way to pay forward the love, support and belief that all of the women and men in my life have given me. Without them, I wouldn’t have been supported to jump out of my comfort zones and face my fears in life.”
We’re especially honored to receive this gift because of the legacy of giving from CHG Healthcare toward charities and nonprofits that they believe to be especially necessary and/or meaningful within our community. CHG Healthcare prides itself on having a values-driven culture, something it has extended to both its charitable donation programs and its employee empowerment programs. Not only have they held Making a Difference Week events for more than a decade to encourage charitable giving from their employees, but they match employee donations dollar-for-dollar each year. We are proud to be included among this year’s beneficiaries, including the Make-A-Wish Foundation and the United Way of Utah.
If you would like to learn more about this very special company and their culture, please visit their website, Facebook page, and Instagram feed for more information. Thank you again to Jessica and CHG Healthcare for helping us to get more women and girls outside in Utah! —Rachel Sanders, Utah Regional Coordinator. (Rachel presented about SheJumps to all employees at CHG, helping us secure the donation!)