Jeanna has been Incredible Kids for 4 years now! Both as a volunteer and in her current role as Incredible Service Manager.
We are always blown away by Jeanna’s positivity and resilience –she radiates kindness and compassion. Whether it’s volunteering at local charities or simply spreading joy on social media, Jeanna has a heart of gold.
Why did you want to work at Incredible Kids?
“I knew I loved people. My past as a hairdresser taught me that I didn’t much like cutting hair, but I loved yapping. I loved the general public. I loved listening to problems. I loved giving advice. I also loved kids, of course. Sadly, the life of a salon owner took me down a dark path and culminated in a sad lady sitting on a river, praying to be seen by someone who could appreciate me. Well, my prayer got answered because that same day, I applied for the role at Incredible Kids with an application that came from my heart.
“The day I walked in for my interview, I told my husband who was waiting in the car that I would be half an hour…Four hours later, he saw my head go past the window wearing a fireman’s helmet and he said that at that exact moment, he knew I wasn’t going to be coming home. I clean forgot he was out there and carried on playing with slime and making a den for the next three hours, leaving him desperately hunting for a public restroom. I’d found my new family.
What do you love most about your job?
“I love every element of my job, but to be honest, after a childhood of being weird, difficult, and misunderstood, I have found work that allows me to relive my misspent youth! Instead of suppressing my totally ridiculous and very bonkers inner child. Not only do I get to unleash it, but am encouraged to let it run wild! It’s a slime and glitter, zip-lined heaven for me, where I can help kids to do all of the daft things I never got to do.”
What drives you?
“I am driven by a need to help anyone who is struggling to believe that there is always a better day to be had. With a complex and very interesting past and my own mental health struggles, I am determined and inspired to turn my own sadness on its head and help other people to manage theirs. The emotional support that I can give to any of our families is my way of turning a negative into something worthwhile.”
What’s your passion?
“I am ferociously passionate about mental health and have studied this field obsessively. Combined with my rather colourful life experience, I am most in my element when I am helping another human being to understand and cope with life’s disappointments, without judgment. This makes me truly happy and fulfilled. I love working with the families to earn their trust and supporting them is a real privilege.”
Which was your most memorable moment at Incredible Kids?
“When I came back to Incredible Kids on one of our Friday evening play session, I brought a bag of old clothes that were a tad too young for even me as an aging eternal Goth. I was much flattered by the approval of these, especially as I am 51.
“The teenage girls pounced on them and vanished into the loos to delve into this bag of weird and odd garments. Amid much giggling and shrieking, they all emerged in various dresses. The sound of squeals of delight, girls spinning in layers of net wearing my beetle juice leggings and short skirts just made me smile all the way home that night.
“What was so special about this, was that I watched a moment where teenage girls promoted each other’s self-esteem. They complemented each other as they posed and twirled.
“In a time when so much emphasis is on mental health and bullying and there is a highly driven social media pressure upon young people to live up to unrealistic standards of beauty and image, I felt that moment was an example of how we can help our teenagers to support each other’s self-confidence and identity.”
What do you do in your spare time?
“Mostly, I am fussing over my elderly toothless whippet, putting jumpers on him and filling up his Instagram. At other times I like to dress like a Victorian undertaker and lurk in heavy metal gigs.
“Every summer I become liable to let out high-pitched screams of delight when anyone says ‘Download Festival’ I am a bit of a dichotomy because I also love to loaf around, drinking chai lattes and watching Elevation Worship online.
“I collect weird Alien dolls and like bossing my husband Kantish around. He is really happy I am back at Incredible Kids because he had a hard year of me moaning while I was away.”
How has working at Incredible kids changed you?
“Well, it hasn’t. That’s the beauty of it. I spent a lifetime changing and trying to fit into the expectations of others. Hiding my kooky, magic fairy thoughts and being all of the things that I thought society expected me to be. Now, I realise that the places I worked were like badly fitting shoes.
“Incredible kids is truly the only employer I’ve had that’s celebrated and loved not just the beautiful diversity of its families, but of the staff too. It’s changed me back to my authentic self –beautifully bonkers, thank you!”