Up Close: Jen Radzillowicz


Serving the community…
Jennifer Radzwillowicz exemplifies the old adage: if you want something done, ask the busiest person you know to do it. Her days consist of working as a Caseworker II at Childcare Information Services, taking care of her English bulldogs, and volunteering with numerous civic organizations. It seems she’s happiest when she’s busy. She holds an associate degree from Keystone College; bachelor’s degrees in political science and sociology from Wilkes University; and a master’s degree in public administration with a concentration in criminal justice from Marywood University. She also earned a direct social work certificate and is a graduate of Leadership Lackawanna’s Class of 2012. As she prepares for the new year, she’s thinking about her new role as President of the Greater Scranton Jaycees. Meet the one and only, Jen “Radz” Radzillowicz …

 

How did you get into this line of work?
I started at Lackawanna County Children and Youth 14 years ago, and I was initially investigating. I was in the intake department. We would get the first call if there were concerns from the hospital or from neighbors about physical/sexual abuse, neglect, or if there were concerns from the school district. I’d be the first one to knock on the door and address the concerns.

And now, you’re a Caseworker II for Childcare Information Services. Tell us about that.
We help families that are either low income or currently receiving cash assistance, or other welfare benefits, obtain day care assistance so they can go to work or go to training and stay off of more public assistance programs. That way they know their kids are safe in childcare while they’re at work or in school.

Let’s talk about some of the other things that fill your days — volunteering and spending time with your dogs.
I have three beautiful rescue English Bulldogs: Buster, age 6, Kegs, age 7, and Sophie, maybe age 3 (her age is unknown).

English Bulldog must be your favorite breed.
Rescue is my favorite breed.

Tell us about the rescue organization you’re involved with.
I work with Adopt A Boxer Rescue. It’s based in Dickson City, but our catch area goes from Maine to Washington, D.C., and we work with a lot of shelters from the south. There’s a group of people who have airplanes and they’ll fly the animals up to us from the south.

Let’s talk about another organization close to your heart — the Jaycees. Explain who they are for people who don’t know their work.
The Jaycees is the Junior Chamber of Commerce. Locally, we’re affiliated with the Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce. There are Jaycees throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and throughout the United States, so when you join the Greater Scranton Jaycees you’re networking with the Chamber in Scranton, Jaycees in Pennsylvania and Jaycees at the national level. If you go somewhere else in the Commonwealth, you have a Jaycees Chamber with built-in contacts already. If you decided to move to Las Vegas or Texas, you have a group of people already built in. We have a brand new website, scrantonjaycees.org, where you can set up all of your information as a member. When you set that up, we also get you into the state Jaycee site. You build your profile, then you also build your contact info on the national level so you start networking everywhere.

What kind of time commitment does it take to be a Jaycee?
If you can make every meeting, that’s great. You can come every month. And you can come to our networking events. If you can do things at the state level, that’s great, too. We will get you to every state meeting and send you the information. If you want to proceed to the national level, we will get you there. If you’re someone who says, “I’m working, I’m going to school, I can only make some meetings,” that’s fine, too. It’s as much or as little as you make it. It’s all up to you.

What’s the membership fee?
It’s $56 a year and you are a member of the Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce. The Jaycees was started in 1938 by a group of young men who were just beginning their careers and they didn’t have the money to pay the dues of the Chamber of Commerce, so they started a Junior Chamber with reduced fees until they could establish themselves in their careers.

The Jaycees are famous for the Santa Parade, but you actually participate in other activities, too. Let’s talk about those.
We just celebrated 20 years of the Santa Parade and we won the Hometown Hero Award for the parade at the Sage Awards, too. We also do a combination of volunteer activities and social events. In January, we’re going to a Penguins hockey game. In February, we’ll visit local nursing homes and we’re planning to go to dinner as well. We’re planning a two-part photography class for May and June. We usually go rafting in the summer, and to baseball games. We offer the circuit, which is a tour of bars and restaurants, and we host a Halloween party every year at the Scranton Cultural Center. Last year, we also gave toys to the Children’s Advocacy Center, to the Autism program at Friendship House, and to Shalom of Scranton’s three children’s programs. We organize a park clean-up twice a year at Nay Aug, and we host the Easter Egg Scramble every year as a gift to the community. We do First Friday events, Bowl for Kids Sake, and this year we participated in Festival of Trees. Those are just some of the events we do.

What do you hope to accomplish during your term as president?
I want to focus on education. I want the community to understand what the Jaycees do, and I want people to understand what the Jaycees can do for them. Many people are graduating from college and a lot of people are looking for new jobs. Others need to start networking and re-training. Getting themselves out there is very important, and I think giving back to the community is important. The Jaycees can meet all of those needs because we have the social aspect, the educational aspect and we’re involved in everything in the community and willing to listen to our members. If they have ideas, we happily get involved with new things. I think we have a lot to offer someone. Not only do we get together as a group, but we form friendships.  We’re not just Jaycees. We’re friends.

— julie imel

The next general membership meeting of the Greater Scranton Jaycees is Feb. 6 at 6:30 p.m. at the Scranton Club, 404 N. Washington Ave., Scranton.  The meeting is open to members and anyone interested in learning more about the organization. There is no fee to attend. The group will also participate in the Fat Tuesday business card exchange with the Scranton Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday, Feb. 12, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Ramada in Clarks Summit. To learn more about the Greater Scranton Jaycees, visit ScrantonJaycees.org, and find them on Twitter @ScrantonJaycees and Facebook at www.facebook.com/GSJccs.

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