When most people graduate from high school, the clubs that they once belonged to become a memory, but not for Rachel Jacobs. Jacobs' experience with the Key Club at Severna Park High School turned into a long-term commitment with the Severna Park Kiwanis Club.
“I liked that it was community service and not like sports,” said Jacobs. “I wasn't the sports or the theater person. It was just about giving back.”
The Key Club is under the umbrella of the Kiwanis Club. She intended to join a Circle K club, the collegiate version of the Key Club, after high school, but when no groups were available, she made the decision to jump right into the Kiwanis Club.
For as long as she can remember, giving back has always been important to Jacobs and her family.
“We are very community oriented in my family,” explained Jacobs. “My mom is a nurse and my dad is a doctor, so we do a lot of giving back.”
Jacobs has worked as an early childhood educator for 11 years and specializes in special education. She currently teaches virtually in Prince George's County through a hospital system in a Head Start program. Jacobs has always enjoyed working with children, and her main attraction was the Kiwanis Club’s dedication to children.
“I love working with kids, and part of the Kiwanis mission is ‘all about children,’” said Jacobs. “That's what drew me to this organization.”
Jacobs was nominated for Volunteer of the Month by Kiwanis Club district 4 lieutenant governor and Severna Park Kiwanis Club secretary Krista Latchaw for Jacobs’ work with the Kiwanis Kids Closet. The Kids Closet collects items that parents need such as diapers, formula, baby food, onesies and toddler clothing. Jacobs places donation boxes around the community and brings donations to Belle Grove Elementary in Brooklyn Park, where they are housed until a family needs them.
She organizes the closet with her mother, who joined the Kiwanis Club while Jacobs was in her high school Key Club, and any other Kiwanis member who volunteers. She said working with her mother on the Kids Closet and other projects has been a bonding experience.
“There are plenty of husbands and wives, but not like parent-child pairs,” said Jacobs. “We've found that it is special. We've got to encourage other families to do it.”
Jacobs currently sits on the board of directors and was formerly the president of the club. Currently she wears many hats within the organization and helps out wherever she can. She has a hand in everything from planning events to updating the club’s Facebook page.
Jacobs enjoys being a part of the Kiwanis Club and frequently attends training events and national and international conferences, as long as they are within the United States. She enjoys the perks and privileges that the Kiwanis Club offers as an international organization.
Most recently, Jacobs coordinated a fundraiser with Tio Pepe, a popular Spanish and Mediterranean restaurant in Baltimore. On May 15, from 4:00pm to 5:00pm, Jacobs will stand outside the Severna Park Elks Lodge representing the Kiwanis Club as community members pick up preordered meals. From each meal, $5 will be donated to the Kiwanis Club and the restaurant will make an additional donation after the event. This money will go to the Teenager of the Year scholarship.
Jacobs has volunteered countless hours to the Kiwanis Club and has no intention of stopping anytime soon.
“I am dedicated,” Jacobs said. “People say as you go higher up in the ranks and I don't have time to go higher up, but maybe in the future.”