From an early age, Jeralyn Westercamp has demonstrated a service mind-set.
“My parents instilled in me a sense of service and giving back, and I’m trying to carry that forward and inspire those who come after me to make a difference,” she said.
In 2006, while she was still in middle school, Westercamp established Kids 2 Kids: Tools 4 Schools.
The organization has collected and provided more than $82,000 in new school supplies to students in Iowa and in Iraq and Rwanda.
“For me, it was a rite of passage to shop for school supplies,” Westercamp recalled. “I wanted other kids to have that feeling that comes from getting brand-new school supplies.”
As a high school student, Westercamp saw another opportunity after the 2008 flood in Cedar Rapids.
“After the flood came through, I was volunteering at Salvation Army and noticed we didn’t have simple things to give people, like a can opener,” she said.
“I wanted to fill that gap because Iowans don’t always ask for help.”
Westercamp founded CR Homeworks, which donated more than $77,000 in new household goods, including basic items such as sheets, cookware and cleaning supplies, to flood victims.
Both organizations still are registered and active in the state of Iowa, Westercamp said. Tools 4 Schools now operates on a seasonal basis to provide school supplies to students in the Corridor, while CR Homeworks continues to provide household items to needy families.
“I expect CR Homeworks to grow more important now with the job loss caused by the (COVID-19) impact,” she noted.
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Westercamp achieved a list of accomplishments at a relatively young age. In 2010, for example, while in college she became the first Iowan to serve on the National State Farm Youth Advisory Board, which managed and allocated an annual budget of $5 million to fund youth-led service learning projects.
In 2012, she joined the Iowa Juvenile Justice Advisory Council and, in 2017, became the youngest person to chair the council.
“I have been really blessed with the support of my community,” she said. “People knew I had it in me to do this and gave me these experiences.”
Now approaching her 29th birthday, Westercamp holds three undergraduate degrees and a master’s degree from the University of Iowa.
She works as the coordinator of clinical outreach and development for the University of Iowa Physician Assistant Program while completing an M.B.A. degree and volunteering more than 1,725 hours of her time to the Iowa City Veterans Medical Center.
“Having a spirit of volunteerism and being active in the community is important to me,” she said. “Even one young person can accomplish many things.”
Business 380 spotlights HER magazine’s Women of Achievement, published by The Gazette. The awards were sponsored by Farmers State Bank.
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