Register enjoys volunteering

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 25, 2003

Jennifer Register was never your typical girl.

She didn't play with dolls or talk about boys.

In fact, this 15-year-old Charles Henderson High School student will tell you she doesn't have time for boys.

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Jennifer is what you might call a professional volunteer.

&uot;She's always been active in doing anything,&uot; her mom Susan said.

&uot;She loves to be involved.

It's always 'Mama, take me here,' or 'Mama, take me there.'

I'm just a mom and a chauffeur.&uot;

Jennifer can trace her volunteering days back 10 years ago.

When she was five, she volunteered as a tomato for a presentation of 4-H through the years.

She appeared in 1930's Tomato Canning Club.

&uot;I had my face painted green and everything,&uot; she said.

Since then, Jennifer has devoted whatever time she can to helping others.

Currently, she serves as president of the Junior Red Cross.

She is also a director on the 4-H council and a member of the CHHS FFA chapter.

Jennifer figures she spends at least four hours a day on her Red Cross responsibilities.

&uot;I even do it in my sleep,&uot; she said.

&uot;I'll dream about something, that's how I get a lot of my ideas.

Something just pops in my head while I'm asleep.

I know it sounds strange.&uot;

As part of her Red Cross duties, Jennifer organizes an annual teddy bear drive and an Easter egg hunt.

The Junior Red Cross collects teddy bears for the Troy Fire Department, the Troy Police Department and the ambulance services.

The officers, firefighters and EMTs take the toys with them to emergencies where children might be involved.

&uot;For a child, seeing their house burn up right in front of them is extremely traumatic,&uot; she said.

&uot;This gives the child something to hold on to when all of their other possessions are being destroyed.&uot;

Jennifer said it's hard to fit all of her activities in.

Between school and her organizations, she was serious when she said she didn't have time for boys.

&uot;It's hard to fit it all in,&uot; she said.

&uot;I'll have a Junior Red Cross meeting at 6:30 and another meeting at 7:30.

It's just back to back to back to back.&uot;

Her motivation for serving is partly hereditary-Jennifer says it's a family affair.

Her mother is a volunteer for the Pike County Red Cross and heads the Disaster Action Team.

Her father, John, is a fireman and works with the Troy Fire Department and the Volunteer Fire Department.

He also helps volunteer with the Red Cross.

&uot;My parents have given me very good support,&uot; she said.

&uot;It's good to get that kind of encouragement.&uot;

Her parents have also been role models.

She wants to be a fire medic, so she can work with the fire department or a nurse like her grandmother.

Volunteering is more than a way to include the family, though; Jennifer sees it as a way to give back to the community.

&uot;I joined the Red Cross after September 11,&uot; she said.

&uot;I wanted to do something to give back to the community.&uot;

Through her experiences as a volunteer, Jennifer has improved herself just as much as she has helped improve her community.

The biggest improvement she has made is in public speaking.

&uot;I hated talking in front of people,&uot; she said.

&uot;I had a stuttering problem, which I've overcome quite remarkably, and so I didn't like getting in front of people.

But through FFA, 4-H and the Junior Red Cross, I've learned how to do it and now I love it.&uot;

When her term as Junior Red Cross president is over and the 4-H council behind her, Jennifer hopes to have left a part of her behind.

&uot;I want to leave my mark,&uot; she said.

&uot;I want people to look at something and say, 'Jennifer Register did that?'

I want to help start something.&uot;

To people who don't have time or who don't think they have something to contribute, Jennifer is proof otherwise.

&uot;Everybody can make a difference,&uot; she said.

&uot;Everything counts and all ideas matter.

You can do it, it just takes courage to come up and say, 'I have an idea and I want to do this.'&uot;