Glenda Jones, who took the presidential reins of the Burbank-based La Providencia Guild of Children's Hospital Los Angeles during the group's reorganization ceremony held recently at Oakmont Country Club in Glendale, announced her presidential theme will be "Blooming Gardens Create Miracles."
"It is my goal to create an atmosphere that cultivates and promotes good health, growth and tranquility," said the woman who now serves as the guild's 71st president.
"My focus will be on implementing capital improvements to refurbish our thrift shop, improve our fundraising, recruitment and retention efforts, and to engage millennials, who will be our future, to become members," she added.
Jones grew up in Madera, Calif. After earning a bachelor's degree in speech pathology and audiology from California State University, Fresno, she enrolled at UCLA, where she studied urban planning and received a master's degree in African studies.
After working in sales and marketing for two major corporations and broadcast entities in San Francisco, Jones moved to Los Angeles in the mid-1990s, and worked as a membership counselor for the Pacific Council on International Policy.
She then moved on to UCLA, where she currently works as a student affairs counselor.
Jones gives credit to her mother, whom she considered to be a professional volunteer, for instilling in her the understanding that giving is better than receiving.
"She taught me and my siblings the importance of selfless acts of kindness, and that benevolence to others should always be a part of our lives," she said.
As a working single mother, Jones said she always made it a point to be involved as a volunteer throughout the school years of her daughter, Sidney.
During that time she also opened her home to exchange students from Spain, France, Brazil and Italy.
Those students inspired Jones to look beyond the borders of her own community and country and led her to coordinating volunteer groups that would bring school supplies and medicine to children who lived in rural and impoverished areas of Africa, mostly, in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.
In 2008, she played an instrumental role in building the Kazandani School in a small village outside of Mombasa, Kenya, that serves more than 200 children.
Then, in 2015, a library at the Little Wonder School, outside of Nairobi, Kenya, that serves more than 600 orphaned and poor children, honored Jones by naming their library after her.
As for her work with the La Providencia Guild, Jones said it began when she was introduced to the guild's mission by her friend Lisa Murray.
"She asked me to join, and I couldn't refuse her sponsorship," Jones said, "especially since I had made a vow 24 years prior to one day give back to Children's Hospital because they had taken my child when she was in need of care. They knew I couldn't afford her medical bills, but the staff treated us with such kindness and loving care."
This annual reorganization event, which establishes the guild's new executive officers and honors those who served during the previous year, was made possible by chairwoman Ann O'Donnell-Gardner, and committee members Nancy Johnson, Donna Salant, Mary Jo Hjelmstrom, DeeDee Rowlands and Deborah Spang.
Along with Jones, the organization's 2018-19 leadership now includes Sue Meckley as the first vice president and Lorelei Kelley as the second vice president.
Rounding out the executive roles will be O'Donnell-Gardner, secretary, Nancy Wiggins, treasurer, and, Joan Chandler, who will handle the guild's public relations.
Among the notables in attendance at the reorganization ceremony and luncheon were Bonnie McClure, chairwoman and director of Children's Hospital Los Angeles' Associates and Affiliates, and longtime guild member Joan Albriton, who was honored as the guild's Associate Member of the Year.
Chartered by Children's Hospital Los Angeles in 1947, the La Providencia Guild's mission is to foster interest in the work of the pediatric medical facility with contributions of service and funds.
For more information about the guild's work, its thrift shop, upcoming fundraising events or to become a member, visit laprovidenciaguild.org.