“Through my own experience volunteering with ICG – both during the United Way Day of Caring and working on the Bulb Labyrinth Memorial Garden – I know how healing the Garden is,” shares Jae Darling (they/them), ICG’s new Communications Coordinator. “I also know how healthy it is for kids to be outdoors, and I especially enjoy seeing that through my lens as an early literacy educator. I’m excited to be able to combine that with my marketing and communications work for an organization that focuses on children and families and bringing them outdoors.”
In Jae’s most recent job, as Development Associate and Storytime Facilitator for the Edith B. Ford Memorial Library in Ovid, they wore several hats, from marketing and communications to developing literacy materials to supporting development work. Jae managed the social media calendar and helped ensure visitors, guests, and patrons all deepened their relationship with the library through their work. Jae also established Giving Tuesday digital campaigns to share accessible story content across multiple platforms. Additionally, Jae ensured that programs were documented and that photo documentation was properly archived for future use, a skill that will be so helpful to ICG!
Jae is most excited about content creation, and building marketing skills on a larger team. Jae is really looking forward to collaborating with others and expanding on their prior role. “ICG has a very solid brand to work from and I’m very excited to figure out all the different ways to use that,” says Jae. “I would like to learn more as a marketing professional, especially when it’s going to benefit children and families.”
Outside of the work domain, Jae’s educational background is in public health and Geospatial Information Systems, so on a personal level, Jae loves studying rural or urban areas and our sense of place; how we interact with our environment. Jae also loves biking, walking their dog Lilly, training Lilly, and learning how to be a better dog owner and trainer.
Jae grew up nearby in Interlaken. Jae’s grandparents, who lived in Lodi, had big pine trees in the back, and when asked about an early play memory growing up, Jae shared this story. “My brother and I made our own ‘Bridge to Terabithia’,… where we were escaping into the backyard and going on all sorts of adventures. The pine grove brought us out of real world and into a fantasy world. Where the pine trees overlapped, we created a fort in there and we kept our treasures there. We were constantly finding things while exploring my grandparent’s backyard.. (Most were from an old burn pile, so it was questionable!) During rainstorms, I remember taking shelter from the rain under the pines. and while outside exploring, we could hear the birds so clearly. It was such a sensory rich and magical experience to be outside and playing like that, beyond the watchful eye of our parents. I still very much regard those trees as my fortress, even though my grandparents have long since moved away.”
Jae is also an avid reader, artist, and writer. Currently, Jae is most interested in developing their skills in nature photography. “In my photography, writing, and art, I hope to capture nostalgia and that sense of coziness and place–which is essentially that feeling of home or feeling safe and happy, either with your own company or with others. I like that feeling and want to share it with others and hopefully, in the process, bring smiles to people’s faces,” Jae shares. Jae also really likes to try out different kinds of exercises. They currently completed a power lifting program, and just got back into running. Jae hopes to run a 5k, and get into cross country skiing this winter. “There’s so much out there. I’m trying to get out there out in the world, especially when doing it means meeting and experiencing adventure with others.
We hope you will join us in extending a warm welcome to Jae Darling!