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Oakton Spotlight: Jayne Young

Longtime Oakton resident is dedicated to serving the community

If you ask Jayne Young, she has always done what anyone else would do if they walked in her shoes.

If your child is on a sports team, support the team. If your mother is sick, take care of her. If a good organization asks for help, lend a hand.

That's why Young has racked up an impressive list of accomplishments: She works part-time at the Shepherd's Center of Oakton-Vienna (SCOV), serves as president of the New Providence Republican Women, volunteers with Wounded Warriors, is a Vale Club member, continues to be an active member of Vienna Presbyterian Church, and has pitched in as a poll worker each Election Day for as long as she can remember.

"Then of course there are the personal favors Jayne grants to anyone who asks," longtime friend Melinda O'Brien said. "You'll never hear her complain she has no time or she's too busy. If someone needs the help, she's there."

When her children were younger, she dedicated time to the PTA, their teams and Cub Scout troops. She also cared for her mother, who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, for the last 15 years of her life, while she ran her own craft business out of her home for more than two decades.

"The bonus is that I also enjoy [volunteering],” Young said. "The girlfriends I have today, I met from doing PTA and Cub Scouts and all those things."

A Virginian through and through, Young, 60, has never lived outside the commonwealth's borders.

She grew up in Sleepy Hollow, a neighborhood of Falls Church, and received her bachelor's degree from Virginia Tech. After graduation, she moved back to Northern Virginia where she met her husband, with whom she had three sons. She and her family moved to Oakton 23 years ago, and though her children are grown and moved out, she and her husband plan to stay put in their Marbury Place home.

Raised by a mother who was the youngest of nine, Young never stood a chance to turn out to be the stereotypically selfish only child.

"She was determined I would not be selfish," Young said of her mother, Virginia Booth Pasley. "She didn't do a thing for me I could not do for myself. She was determined I would not be a spoiled brat."

For years, Young has volunteered on Election Day as a poll worker, a tradition she picked up from her mother. And her mother's best friend still works the polls at Sleepy Hollow Elementary, Young said.

"Every year, Mrs. Webb calls me and asks, 'Are you working the polls this year?' And I answer, 'Yes ma'am.'"

Before Election Day, she puts in her time for the Republican Party as president of the New Providence Republican Women, helping to keep people informed of the candidates endorsed by the party.

"I'm not a terribly political creature, but it's a nice group and I like the mission of informing people about encouraging women, especially young women, about local politics and to get involved," Young said.

Although she is now a paid part-time office administrator for SCOV, she started as a volunteer. The director, Michelle Scott, is an old friend. She asked Young to help with the organization's development then offered Young the office administrator's position.

"I think the older generation is forgotten," Young said. "I was very fortunate to be able to keep my mom in her own home and take care of her during the day because I could run my business at midnight if I had to. Some of these people have nobody. I just have a tender place in my heart for them, especially Alzheimer's patients."

SCOV is a nonprofit organization that assists senior adults with services and enrichment opportunities.

As her business, Cottage Crafters, grew, she spent much of her time advocating and promoting other crafters' talents and products.

What started in her home as a passion project with a college friend who also liked crafting grew into an annual craft show with more than 30 crafters that lasted 18 years.

"I couldn't imagine people would actually show up. But I was wrong," she said. "The whole thing exploded."

'I'm a List Maker'

Though much of Young's community involvement has fallen in her lap, it is no accident she has a to-do list that seems to have no end.

"I need to feel productive," Young said. "It's what I like about crafts so much. Creating crafts has always helped me pass the time. I could sit and relax, but also be productive by making something. I like to accomplish things. I'm a list maker. I like checking things off my list."

If Young is overbooking herself, she shows no hint of it to her friends and fellow volunteers.

"She's so efficient and can solve any problem and do any job anybody wants. You know you can always call Jayne Young to get a project off and running," O'Brien said. "She's full of endless energy. She never turns anybody down. She's beyond kind and generous, and always, always upbeat."

O'Brien has known Young since their boys were young. She has worked with Young on Cub Scouts and at the polls, and also volunteers at the Shepherd's Center.

"It's easy working for her on projects because she's right there next to you doing it with you. She leads by example," O'Brien said.

Scott, director at SCOV, praised Young for her organization and attentiveness toward the volunteers. Young's position requires her to oversee the volunteers, write the newsletter and deal with other administrative duties.

"She's just so great with the volunteers. You can tell she likes working with them and they like working with her," Scott said.

Perhaps to her husband's chagrin, Young does not plan to slow down anytime soon.

"I've been incredibly fortunate in my life. Why not contribute to the community that has give me so much?" she said.

Do you know someone who leads a fascinating life or contributes above and beyond the call of duty to his or her community? Email Nicole.Trifone@patch.com for your suggestions on other Oakton residents who should be featured in Oakton Spotlight.

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