Photo by Rick Watson.
Amy Jackson, volunteer extraordinaire
Mountain Brook Chamber of Commerce President Amy Jackson.
Most people would agree that time is the most valuable resource we have, but Amy Jackson, Mountain Brook’s newest Chamber of Commerce President, has spent much of her life giving her free time away.
“I believe in giving back,” said Jackson. “I’m not a shopper, and I don’t play tennis. I enjoy giving away all my free time.”
She’s served as the governance director for the Junior League of Birmingham, she was one of three people who chaired the Birmingham Zoo Gala this past year and she sits on the Mountain Brook City School’s Foundation.
The Foundation helps Mountain Brook teachers and students with training, technology and supplies that aren’t included in the school system’s budget, she explained.
In 1996, Jackson moved to Mountain Brook with her husband Steve, daughters Tully and Tatum, and son Yates.The main reason they chose Mountain Brook was the school system.
She started volunteering at the Emmet O’Neal Library soon after they arrived, and quickly became involved in the Parent-Teacher Organization, later becoming PTO president.
“I highly recommend that anyone with children in school get involved with the PTO,” she said. “It’s a great way to play an active role in your child’s education.”
One of the most rewarding organizations for which she has volunteered is the Service Guild of Birmingham. The Service Guild provides volunteers for the Bell Center, which focuses on early intervention for children with developmental delays, including Down Syndrome and Spinal Bifida.
Service Guild volunteers are the ones who get on the floor with children and help teach them things like how to use a walker, potty training, and other life skills. The
goal, according to Jackson, is to help the children get ready to enter the school system. “This work is tremendously rewarding,” said Jackson. “Some of the kids I worked with are now in Mountain Brook High School.
“Volunteer work is the most important thing I do,” she said.
She came by her passion to volunteer honestly because her mother is a volunteer, too. Her mother runs errands for seniors and has a monthly Meals on Wheels route that Amy Jackson, volunteer extraordinaire drives her on.
“She is all over Homewood,” Jackson said.
Jackson’s father died in February, and she thinks that volunteering will help her mother get through the rough spots. The Birmingham Zoo notified Jackson in March that they’d named a tree in honor of her dad. He was cremated, and she said it’s comforting to know the tree named in his honor will always be there.
It was her work as a volunteer that brought her to the attention of Suzan Doidge, the executive director of the Mountain Brook Chamber of Commerce. A few years ago Jackson ran into Doidge at school. Doidge had since started working for the Chamber and recruited Jackson in 2008.
Jackson started out as assistant vice president of community affairs, helping with Chamber events. She became president of the Mountain Brook Chamber in January 2012.
In her role as president, she works closely with the city and other organizations. The idea is to promote ways of bringing in business to Mountain Brook merchants.
“If the city is buying a commodity, we encourage them to look first at local merchants, instead of looking elsewhere.” Buying local is a win/win proposition, according to Jackson.
The Chamber sponsors two big events during the year: a Village 2 Village Run that’s held in January, and the annual Mountain Brook Chamber of Commerce luncheons, which features high-level speakers.
“The most amazing thing to me about volunteering is the people who become your friends,” Jackson said. “I have childhood friends, but my closest friends in the world come from volunteering.”
Apparently her passion for volunteering has rubbed off on her family. Her daughter Tatum wrote in a paper recently that when she grows up she wants to do what her mom does: “I want to give away my time.”