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A note from AVFTI: Every month, we try to focus our content around one theme. And every month we give our volunteers the opportunity to write about the monthly theme if it’s something that speaks to them.

Last month, we had the theme of “Being A Supportive Family Member.” When we put this theme out to our volunteers, Kelly spoke up almost immediately. She wanted to write about her cousin Jacqui. Jacqui also happens to be AVFTI’s Volunteer Director, and an unsung hero of our team. We appreciate Jacqui so much, and clearly her volunteer team appreciates her too.

Jacqui was the very first out-of-state volunteer on our team. She’s worked tirelessly with us for years before becoming the Volunteer Director, and we are super proud to have her on our team. Thank you, Jacqui, for everything you do for our team!

Jacqui grew up in Danvers, Massachusetts where she attended and graduated from Danvers High School. After high school she attended Salem State University pursuing her Bachelors Degree in Elementary Education. Throughout her time at Salem State she maintained an outstanding GPA, while working part time. Anybody who has had a job while going to college knows that it is no easy task. Jacqui on top of working and going to school was the president of Campus Educators of Sexual Assault (CESA). Jacqui thrives in whatever she pursues, as evidence by Merrimack College choosing her out of many applicants to receive a fellowship. During her time at Merrimack College while earning her graduate degree she honed her teaching skills to focus on teaching English as a first language to her future students. Following her time at Merrimack college she received a position to be an ESL (English as a second language) Teacher where she currently is loving her career, and has her own class room.

While Jacqui is thriving in her career, she is incredibly humble and unaware to how amazing she truly is. Jacqui is loved by everyone she encounters, and has a large support system. She comes from a large family with one aunt and four uncles and upwards of thirteen cousins, just on her dad’s side of the family. In her earlier years, the Sweeney group spent most holidays together, and even got together just because. Growing up in a close knit family certainly can impact your view on the meaning of family and what that word can mean to each individual as it has to Jacqui. Jacqui is also a God-Mother to her best friend’s son. She is amazing with children. Her godson and his sister absolutely adore her. She recently got engaged to her long time boyfriend, Alex, who is a high school chemistry teacher. (Welcome to the family, Alex!).

Jacqui has dedicated years to A Voice For The Innocent (AVFTI), a program dedicated to helping sexual assault survivors know that they are not alone and that they do have a voice even in the times when it feels like they do not. This is a community where everyone is heard and not judged. Jacqui is currently a board member for AVFTI, and the Volunteer Director. She has a huge heart and loves helping others. She was nominated, and won for the MLK Alumni Award for the work she does with AVFTI. “The MLK Jr. Leadership Awards are given annually to students, alumni, staff, groups and faculty who embody the spirit of Dr. King’s work. “Service to the community” is defined in the broadest sense and includes academic, research, religious, and secular contributions in which integrity, leadership, creativity, and positive outcome are apparent”. Jacqui continues to be an upstanding member of society, and I feel lucky to not only be her friend, but also her family. Thank you, Jacqui for all that you do.

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