- February 20th, 2015 by editor
I have only recently connected with Jenna von Oy. She’s part of our ongoing work with Ronald McDonald House Charities, and right away she struck me as a vibrant, compassionate and straight-to-the-point woman. Jenna was ready to roll up her sleeves and help, she wanted her work to be meaningful and to make a difference in her community.
Jenna is full of optimism and care. She has a clear desire to leave the world better than she found it. In Jenna, I immediately recognized just the sort of generous compassion and commitment that sets change in motion. I was drawn to her smile and noticed too how she put others at ease. I heard in her voice authenticity and an earnest desire step up in real ways. She was determined to use her smarts and influence for good — I was impressed.
I was not that familiar with Blossom, the way some fans would be who knew more details about the cast, including Jenna. Basically, Jenna was a blank canvas to me. Needless to say – that changed quickly. Jenna has filled that same canvas with vibrant colors, rich textures and a budding relationship that I look forward to continuing. I am thrilled to introduce to you a remarkable woman, a dedicated mother, blogger, and author of the soon to be released new book, Situation Momedy. Say hello to Philanthropic Mom, Jenna von Oy.
Jenna Von Oy with husband Brad Bratcher and children Gray and Marlowe. (Photo Credit Mimosa Arts)
What makes you a Philanthropic Mom?
I’d like to think I’m no different than any other mom out there… I do my best to encourage my children to be kind, generous, and passionate. I teach them the difference between right and wrong, express my pride when they share, and reinforce the importance of simple gestures such as writing thank you notes. It all contributes to the bigger picture! I firmly believe we are all philanthropic moms in our own way. It just happens that my career has offered me a more public platform to voice my convictions.
What is an early or stand-out memory of community service, philanthropic commitment or another way in which you felt strongly connected to an issue in the bigger world?
When I was about four-years-old, I recall going across the street to sing to a neighbor who was dying of cancer. That I was able to bring a smile to the woman’s face, despite her physical suffering, profoundly affected me. I was taught early on that there’s a tremendous amount of pride that comes from being generous with your heart.
Who was your biggest philanthropic influence?
My mom. I grew up on the East Coast, where the winters can be brutal. My mom used to pack brown bag lunches, complete with scarves and mittens, and leave them out for the homeless men and women in Grand Central train station. She would probably be uncomfortable with the fact that I’m talking about this openly, because her efforts have always been anonymous. I think there’s something very beautiful about that. We are big believers that philanthropy is a very private pursuit, and should never be done for recognition. Because of that, I feel a bit odd doing an interview on the subject. With that said, I am proud to be in a position to assist the Medela Recycles campaign by being their Ambassador, and I acknowledge that talking about it is the only way to get the word out there. If this interview encourages even one mom to donate her old, used Medela breastpump so that a new, multi-use pump can be given to the Ronald McDonald House, and benefit the mother of a NICU baby, it was well worth it
What about being a Philanthropic Mom makes you most proud?
Watching my daughter follow suit. Even at two-years-old, she possesses a stunning amount of compassion and insight. She’s already trying to save the world, one hug at a time. It’s inspiring!
What is the legacy of change you want to leave behind?
I hope I can do my part to remind other mothers that we are all in this together. When you’re a mom, it’s not about ego, social status, income, career path, or whether or not you used to be on a television show as a kid. It doesn’t matter what age our children are, how quickly they learned to walk and talk, or how long they were breastfed. Motherhood is the great equalizer. That’s why I joined the Medela Recycles campaign. It is one small way we mommies can reach out to one another and connect on a level we all understand and appreciate.
What would your children say about all of this?
I firmly believe my girls will be committed to being caring, selfless, respectful, nurturing women. I hope someday they’ll look back and attribute some of their strength of character to the love my husband and I have shown… not just directly to them, but through helping those in need. If my girls end up being more appreciative of the ways I gave to others, rather than the fact that I wore a floppy, flowered hat and talked really fast on a 90’s sitcom, I’ll be a proud mama.