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Home » Intern Spotlight: Jillian Layton

Intern Spotlight: Jillian Layton

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Jillian Layton

Maps: So, Jillian Layton, how did you get connected to Maps?

Jillian: Like originally?

Maps: Sure, let’s start there.

Jillian: I think my parents were members before me, but when I was a baby, I had a CD that was started for me by my parents, and I participated in the Maps Youth savings program. I grew up in Monmouth and was always visiting that branch. I got my first debit card for the Youth Savings account there and I really liked all the tellers. One of the tellers went to high school with my mom, so I knew him well. I guess always had a really positive association with Maps.

Maps: Aw, that’s great!

Jillian: And I thought to myself oh, if [Maps] ever had an internship it would be so cool to do that. Then I saw a posting at my university—we use handshake—for the Maps position with the Foundation. It just sounded so cool. I obviously knew what the foundation did because I got a scholarship and I thought, wow, I’d really love to be a part of that.

Maps: That’s great. What scholarship did you get?

Jillian: I got the Maps Community Credit Union scholarship or maybe it’s just called the Maps Credit Union Scholarship. It’s the one where they give, I think 12 and like 6 are designated and 6 are not.

Maps: And have you gone to college yet?

Jillian: Yeah. I just finished my second year at Willamette University.

Maps: Nice. What are you studying?

Jillian: International Studies and Economics.

Maps: What has your experience here been like? What have you been doing with Kim?

Jillian: I attend a lot of meetings with Kim—meeting different nonprofit partners. Yesterday we met with the Polk County Community Development Organization [an organization that provides low- and moderate-income residents of Polk County with opportunities for high-quality, affordable housing]. I’ve also been making surveys for the foundation.

Maps: How so?

Jillian: So, I’m surveying teacher grant recipients and applicants about what their experience was like applying for that. I’ve done surveys for the scholarship applicants, you know, getting feedback on that. I also did some interviews with college and career teachers to see how we can better reach students and help them with their college and career path.

Maps: Oh, great!

Jillian: I also made our internal website—we actually didn’t have a page for our employees. So, I made a page that highlights the opportunities employees have for volunteering and what the foundation does so they can learn more about what we do.

Maps: Have there been elements of the job that have been particularly rewarding for you?

Jillian: I honestly think meeting the nonprofit partners, you know, nonprofits that we maybe haven’t worked with yet is really impactful to me because there are lots of large nonprofits in Salem, but there are also small ones. There are people who just decide to dedicate themselves to doing work and it’s not being noticed but it has the biggest impact.

Maps: Yeah, it’s profound.

Jillian: Yeah. The best meeting I’ve witnessed was with Soaring Heights. They provide halfway housing for people who are emerging out of recovery, and they help unite parents with their children. Just hearing all that they do, how they lead support groups, how they connect with jobs has been really, really amazing.

Maps: Do you have any stories that you would like to share about how Maps has made a difference in your life or in the community that you’ve noticed?

Jillian: I think some of the best work Maps does is in education, the teacher grants specifically. Both my parents are teachers, and they are members of Maps and have been. I know from personal experience that my parents spend a ton of money on their classroom. When we go to stores, we look for things for their classrooms. We always have. My dad and I always went to goodwill and looked for stuff. So, the fact that Maps gives out teacher grants and allows teachers to be innovative and serve their students, I think that’s some of the best work we do.

Maps: I love it. Okay, so what’s something about you that most people don’t know?

Jillian: I think a lot of people know that I’m really into reading, but I’m obsessed with reading. I go home and just read for hours and that’s all I do on vacation.

Maps: Just read?

Jillian: I think, being an International Studies major, people think I’m really into traveling and I am. But I could have just as good of a time just sitting there and reading a book all day.

Maps: What are you reading now?

Jillian: I’m finishing Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë right now but usually I’ll read anything. Like, I read self-published romance. I read classics. I read fantasy, literally anything.

Maps: Do you have a favorite book right now?

Jillian: I recently read The Secret Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See and I thought that was an amazing book. But I also love Pride and Prejudice, which is a very popular book, but it is so good. I’ve read it, like, three times.

Maps: Huh. I’ve only read the Pride and Prejudice and Zombies version, but I agree. Do you have other things that you like to do with your free time besides reading?

Jillian: Yes. Yeah, I do. I have a dog that takes up a ton of my energy. He’s a Jack Russell Terrier, so he needs an hour walk—okay, maybe not an hour, but a 45-minute walk—every day. I have a garden I like to spend time in. I love to swim. I actually taught some swim lessons this summer, which was really fun. Honestly, I like just spending time with my friends, and I love to go to soccer games or concerts and just having experiences.

Maps: Do you have education plans after Willamette?

Jilian: I have thought about going to grad school for international stuff. If it makes sense, it makes sense, and if it doesn’t, it doesn’t. But if I do, I won’t go till later in my 20s or beyond that.

Maps: Yeah, yeah. That’s fair. Are there any other things you’d like to share about yourself or your time here with Kim?

Jillian: I do, actually.  I think Kim is such an amazing executive director and one of the things I’ve truly learned from Kim is how important personal relationships are with nonprofit work. I’ve loved watching Kim work and I can’t imagine anybody else doing as well in this role as she does. She just has so many personal connections to the nonprofit and does this work with her whole heart. I just think having someone at the helm who truly does care and loves to bring these projects to the board…you know, she truly is just phenomenal, and I’ve loved working with her.

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