When a family with deaf members started attending UUCSS, Janne Harrelson and several other people asked the question, “How can we provide access for this family?” Janne, whose career was at Gallaudet University, together with other interested members, brought this issue to the Board and applied for a start-up grant through the UUA. “For me, it speaks volumes about the beauty of the UUCSS community… the reaction of the UUCSS minister and church leaders at the time was: “Okay! How can we make this happen?’” The result is UUCSS’s Deaf Access program.
Over the course of her 19 years at UUCSS, Janne has had many church involvements. She is currently the Board secretary, and is a long-time member of the Diversity team and the Choir. Janne served as Music Committee chair, a Coming of Age mentor, and she was one of the facilitators for the racial justice curriculum, “Building the World We Dream About.”
“I’ve met great people — smart, interesting, compassionate, friendly, creative, fun people; developed new friendships; and have made meaningful connections with the ministers and staff,” Janne says about her volunteering experiences. “It also feels good that by being involved, people have gotten to know ME. They see my strengths and my flaws as we work alongside one another. It helps create a true feeling of community and belonging, which are very important to me.”
Janne adds that church involvement shapes both UUCSS’s future and that of its volunteers. “We’re building the UUCSS we dream about. And it takes all of us. We’re in this together.”
Please take a moment during September to thank Janne for all she does for UUCSS every day.