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Volunteering for Love

LOVE like JJ uses service projects to make a positive impact for local children.

To the people of Mason, LOVE like JJ is a familiar name that has become synonymous with service and care for kids in the community. However, some may be unaware of the organization's beginnings and mission. 

LOVE like JJ began after the unexpected passing of Jonathan “JJ” Day in his sleep on January 9, 2021. JJ was known for being a kind and joyous child who spread love to each person he encountered. The Day family started the LOVE like JJ foundation to make a positive difference in the lives of children within the local community.

We sat down with JJ’s mother and LOVE like JJ founder, Kristen Day, to talk about the organization’s history and service. 

Kristen Day

When you decided to start LOVE like JJ, what was the process to get it established?

That is a tough question. LOVE like JJ was started very shortly after JJ passed away. We knew that we wanted to do something to continue the love JJ had shown for others. We were lucky to have a tremendous outpouring of support right away. However, we were, and still are, going through the most excruciating thing a parent can endure. The process of setting up a nonprofit is not an easy one. It takes time and is a lot to handle while also managing the stages of grief.

Your mission statement mentions "building healthy environments that local children and youth need to thrive.” Could you talk about how you manifest these environments?

We believe the best investment we can make is in our children. I work alongside our board to create service projects, including snack bags for kids over the summer, organizing costume drives for Halloween and food boxes for families over winter break. We feel that getting children involved is an investment not only in the children these projects serve but also in the children who are volunteering. 

What do you enjoy about being a part of the Mason community? 

We moved here 12 years ago and instantly loved everything it had to offer. From the incredible schools to the fun family activities, and of course, the wonderful community of people who consistently show up to take care of each other. 

What has been the most rewarding part of your experience with LOVE like JJ?

Knowing the impact we are having on people is what’s most rewarding. We don't always get to see the result firsthand, but we’ll often receive a positive story from a family who we’ve helped. 

Are there any words of encouragement that you could give families dealing with tragic loss?

Don't lose hope. Though everything is so foggy - the pain so raw, the heartbreak absolutely unbearable - you will get through it. You learn how to move forward, carrying that loss with you. Give yourself the love you deserve and take each day moment by moment, one foot in front of the other. You will get through this.  

You have many annual fundraising events. Can you tell our readers about your favorites? 

Our two biggest events of the year, the LOVE like JJ 5K and the LOVE Ball, are my favorites. Although they take months of planning and are a lot of hard work, they are also very fun. You get to see all of the families and friends just having a great time! 

What would you like to see LOVE like JJ accomplish in the future?

We want to grow our outreach and supporter base. We know the need is great and continues to grow. We’d like to help as many families as we can. 

Are there any events for 2024 that you'd like to share?

We try to offer ways to be involved with LOVE like JJ every month and stay consistent with our activities so our supporters know what to expect. Keep an eye out for a special February service project for Random Acts of Kindness week, the 5K in June, a costume drive in October, the LOVE Ball in December and more. 

How can our readers get involved? Do you have any upcoming volunteer opportunities? 

We are always looking to have more people involved with LOVE like JJ. Readers can find us on all social platforms and our website LoveLikeJJ.org.We have a volunteer form that can be found on our website with a link to our email list. 

“We feel that getting children involved is an investment not only in the children these projects serve but also into the children who are volunteering.”

“Don’t lose hope. You learn how to move forward, carrying that loss with you. Give yourself the love you deserve and take each day moment by moment, one foot in front of the other. You will get through this.” 

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