When Jeanne Broberg moved to La Cañada in 1970 with physician husband Charles, the mother of eight had no way of knowing that, somewhere in there, she would be able to squeeze in a lifetime of volunteer service.
"One time I was asked to be a room mother, and I said it was all I could do to keep the kids fed," she joked of her early days in the community during a recent interview.
Broberg eventually became involved in the La Cañada Elementary School
Now, the former three-term La Cañada Unified School District governing board member gets to add another line to her still-growing curriculum vitae — Broberg was recently named Kiwanis Club's 2016 La Cañadan of the Year.
Since 1951, the Noon Kiwanis Club of La Cañada has recognized residents who demonstrate exceptional leadership and volunteerism across a broad range of service organizations, and whose endeavors bring positive recognition to La Cañada Flintridge.
Broberg will accept the award in an April 26 Kiwanis luncheon to be held at Descanso Gardens. Bob Wallace, immediate past president of the club and chair of the award's selection committee, said Broberg's nomination made good sense.
"She's volunteered for a lot of things, and when she volunteers she almost always ends up in a leadership role," Wallace said. "One little piece of what brings the community together is to recognize people like Jeanne, who've contributed their time and added value to the community — you wonder how she did it with eight kids."
A native of Glendale, Broberg has played an active role in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, where she's taught early morning seminary classes to area teens. She has served as president of the Church Relief Society Women's Organization and the Young Women's Organization.
In 2001, with two terms on the LCUSD Governing Board behind her, Broberg joined her husband on a missionary trip where he served as a medical adviser in Kiev, Ukraine, for two years, and Moscow for 18 months.
"We loved it," she recalled of her overseas travel, one item on her lifetime to-do list. "Now I tell everyone to do their bucket list."
In 2007, Broberg ran for school board again and was elected to a third term. During her service the district helped create the 5 Star Education Coalition, an affiliation of school officials from La Cañada, Glendale, Burbank, Pasadena and South Pasadena that addresses regional issues.
Broberg's passion for family history and genealogy led to her becoming director of the La Crescenta Family History Library in 2006 and, eventually, a consultant for the Santa Monica Regional Family History Center from 2012 to 2014. Today she is a go-to resource for locals wishing to learn more about their roots.
For her, an undeniable benefit of community service are the friendships volunteers forge.
"These people are like your extended family," Broberg said.
If You Go
What: La Cañadan of the Year luncheon
When: April 26 at 11:30 a.m.
Where: Descanso Gardens' Van de Kamp Hall, 1418 Descanso Drive.
Cost: Tickets cost $20 and must be reserved by April 19.
Information: (818) 790-9901.