It’s 2pm on Sunday afternoon and Jackie Bright is in her Seventh Street office. This isn’t unusual. In fact, for her, it’s downright normal to be working in the off-hours. Effectiveness, she says, doesn’t always happen 9 to 5.
“I really do try to work when I feel inspired. If I can’t focus, then I just walk away from it,” says 31-year-old Bright. She admits the method sounds a bit weird—and not at all like the antiquated work environment that Baby Boomers are used to. But it gets results. Since 2009, Bright has served as Executive Director of Literacy Volunteers of Charlottesville-Albemarle. The local nonprofit provides no-cost one-on-one tutoring to undereducated adults. This past year, 79 students advanced to a higher educational functioning level, up 23 percent from last year.
The position at LVCA has provided Bright with a solid jumping off point for her next step, an Executive Director role with Big Brothers Big Sisters’ local chapter. The bulk of her duties will be fairly familiar, and the focus of her work will draw on some of the principles she learned while at LVCA.
“At the end of the day, it’s all about creating a strong community through individual sustainability,” Bright says. “I’m thrilled to be an agent of that mission.”—Caite White
“A big portion of our program, just by nature of who comes to see us, is women. There was one story about an immigrant woman who just has this harrowing story of leaving North Vietnam and coming here. She wanted to learn to read; she wanted to learn to speak; she wanted to learn to tell her story. What’s so neat about this whole program is that we give people a voice—not just literally, but figuratively.”
“This is kind of cheesy, but The Wind in the Willows is actually my favorite book of all time. My mom used to read it to me as a kid; every night before we’d go to sleep, she’d read me a chapter of it and I have the original copy that she used to read for me. She recently sent me an updated version, so I have two of them in my house.
“I’m really into knitting right now. I really like the yarn from The Needle Lady. I’m kind of a snobby knitter. My mom, she always says, ‘Just go to Michaels.’ I’m like, ‘Mom! I have to have this organic, luscious Australian yarn.’ I’m attempting to knit a Viking hat and matching beard for my sister.”