Jody Evans Community Fund

Jody was born in St. Theresa's Hospital in Fort Vermilion on October 7, 1969. Most of her childhood was spent in country settings - first at our hobby farm at High Level, then at our Chinook Valley farm north of Grimshaw, then we moved to Grande Prairie in 1981. We lived in the City of Grande Prairie until 1987 when we again moved to an acreage in the Pipestone Creek area.

She enjoyed all the things that country life include such as playing with siblings and other friends, the animals, freedom to be creative and the responsibilities of helping with chores that needed done. Right from the start Jody displayed kindness and a capacity for wanting to help others. Probably this trait led her to always being surrounded by a strong group of very good friends her whole life.

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Jody really took to anything related to the outdoors. During our time at Chinook Valley we took up downhill skiing as a family. She, like the rest of us, could hardly wait for the weekends when we would spend all day Saturday and Sunday at the hill. Once we felt a bit confident with our skiing ability we began making family ski trips to the mountains, usually Jasper, but on occasion to Lake Louise and Banff. Even later when Jody was at the Red Deer College, or at the University of Alberta, she would meet us at wherever we were going to be for the weekend, often with more of her friends. She always liked the wild, active, crazy times!

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Then in 1989 when we had started backpacking trips into the mountains, Jody was once again right there whenever she could join us. This love of nature and the mountain environment continued and once she had children, they, too, were included and began travelling the trails with her. When they were too little to go on their own, they were carried in a child carrier on her back — either skiing or hiking easier trails. She was a great mom and tried her best to provide fun times for her kids.

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Attending Folk Festivals was also high on Jody's agenda. As a family we spent many years attending the North Country Fair which began at Joussard, Alberta. We often met there with the kids as a family reunion place once they had moved away. Again, Jody carried on this tradition with her own family. She was thrilled when the Folk Festivals began happening here in Grande Prairie.

Jody was admired by her friends, family and colleagues for her unassuming personality and ability to nurture others, being open, kind, and level headed through all aspects of her life, adversity or success, and there was no shortage of hugs. In a world where many folks keep others at arm’s length, Jody held her arms wide open for everyone.

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Jody's caring and compassionate nature, along with her great love of the outdoors and other fun activities led to her career choices in Recreation Administration and Social Work. She took her work duties very seriously and was never afraid to put in a little extra if she knew someone else would benefit from her efforts. She worked as Coordinator for the Red Cross from 1998 to 2007 and from September, 2007 to her untimely death in 2016, working for Family and Community Support Services at the County of Grande Prairie in various capacities. It was her nature to help others, especially those who were less fortunate.

In 2014, Jody obtained her Master of Social Work (MSW) through University of Calgary, after completing the vigorous two year program. Jody joined the Community Social Development team at the City of Grande Prairie to fulfill her practical requirements for the masters program.  Jody planned and executed a study involving 17 single parents and their experience living in Grande Prairie.  Recommendations were given by the parents and reported back to City Council. One of those recommendations was to provide free bus passes to low income families and individuals.  The need was identified and did not go unanswered.  In January 2015 The City of Grande Prairie launched the Low Income Transit Access Program, a ground breaking poverty reduction initiative, providing free transit passes to low income earners -The first of its kind in Canada. Jody's work with the consultation and report spearheaded a conversation that led to a program that has assisted over 700 individuals a year in accessing free transportation in Grande Prairie – A lasting legacy Jody’s family and friends will always be proud of.

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After completing her studies, and as her three children entered young adulthood, Jody found herself with extra free time. This along with her desire to make the world a better place by helping others, she decided to join Rotary Club of Grande Prairie Sunrise, and also 100 Women Who Care Grande Prairie. She was all in. Tragically, Jody’s time with these organizations was cut short in August 2016, when a traffic collision took her and her brother Michael Evans away from us.

Days after the collision, Jody’s friends at 100 Women Who Care felt a great desire to honor Jody somehow, so they contacted Jody’s family to inquire about local causes Jody was passionate about. Multiple charities were mentioned, including the Community Foundation of Northwestern Alberta. 100 Women quickly realized a legacy fund would be a fitting tribute to Jody and made arrangements to start the Jody Evans Memorial Fund.

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We feel Jody would be so pleased that the 100 Women Who Care established the Jody Evans Memorial Fund which will go to improve circumstances for those who are often overlooked in our society. Also, inspired by Jody’s fund, Jody’s parents have since established the Mike Evans Fun for Kids Fund in honor of their son, Michael, and mother Janet has created her own Janet Evans Legacy Fund.

You can make a difference in our community – not only for today but forever. When you make a donation to the Jody Evans Community Fund, we invest that gift into a permanent endowment fund and the original gift is never spent. Earnings from your gift is distributed to projects in our community. Donations can be made online here - https://www.canadahelps.org/en/dn/39464  or by calling the Community Foundation at (780) 538-2820.

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