Celebrating Jan Wynn House, community advocate

Published 5:38 pm Friday, January 6, 2023

The S. Delois Mayes Scholarship Foundation plans to recognize the lifetime of service by community advocate Jan Wynn House during the ninth annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service event.

Along with serving as housing coordinator providing services to formerly incarcerated women transitioning from prison to a productive community life, House has also served as a school program coordinator for the After The Bell program, coordinator for the Garden of Hope Leaders of Tomorrow Summer Camp Program and parent engagement specialist for Norfolk Public Schools.

As well as being a former girl scout and working with girl scouts for 25 years, House has served as community coordination committee chair for the NAACP Norfolk Branch and has served as a part of the American Heart Association’s Passion Committee.

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In 2018, House and her sister Teresa Gordon founded Seniors Aging Gracefully, a nonprofit that serves the aging population with educational programs, resources, and advocacy. Likewise, House currently serves as a Public Health Community Outreach Worker for the Virginia Department of Health and Troop Leader for the Girl Scouts of Colonial Coast Council.

“I’ve always loved to help people and to do community service,” House said reflecting on her life and work. “I’ve been doing community service for over 40 years and I love what I do. I love serving the community and I love outreach.”

When discussing what made her reach out to the community, House spoke on how many people are not compassionate and understanding with one another while noting the treatment that the aging population receive.

“…I know that especially in working with the senior citizens, they are so vulnerable and mistreated and they deal with a whole lot of adversities,” she said. “I want them to know that somebody genuinely cares about their wellbeing, and there’s someone out here that loves them unconditionally — as God loves us.”

House has also served as program coordinator for I Am My Sister’s Keeper, a faith-based program sponsored by the Garden of Hope Inc. that brings awareness to HIV/AIDS and domestic violence.

“Our focus was the faith-based communities, so we actually went into churches and other faith-based organizations and developed programs,” House said. “We did training, we did testing, and we encouraged people about getting tested.”

She said they put together presentations that proved to be one of the awardees that had the highest number of success stories underneath that grant.

“We were so successful that they actually extended the grant because we were getting people to get tested in record numbers,” she said.

House also spoke on her current work as a Virginia Department of Health public health community outreach worker where she provides education and safety resources.

“I go into the community and I share all of these services and resources that’s put on by the health department,” she said. “I explain to them the importance of getting the vaccinations for COVID, we tell about the statistics for COVID, and we go around to different facilities – nursing homes, schools, businesses, organizations, and we do clinics.”

House explained how her love for doing God’s will guides her service to the community.

“When you walk in your purpose, God will continue to bless you. I love outreach. I love helping people,” she said. “Whatever I can do to help someone, I will do it. As long as God gets the glory. Everything I do, I say ‘Yes Lord, I will do your will.’ I love collaboration… I love partnership, and I don’t hold back. If I know something, I will share it, because I know that once I share something, I know I’m going to get blessed and the people that I share it with will also be blessed.”

House’s family also motivates her in her work.

“Because of my upbringing, through my mom and my dad, family is everything,” she said. “When I do outreach, I consider them family and God blesses me because I love family and I love to help people.”

The Day of Service event is at 10 a.m. Monday, Jan. 16 at the River Stone Chophouse, located at 8032 Harbour View Blvd. Tickets are $60 per person with $480 per table (8 tickets). Brunch is included with each ticket.