In recognition of her “invaluable” contributions to Bartow County, Jennifer Wiggins Matthews was named the Cartersville Service League’s Volunteer of the Year Tuesday.
“It is my honor to be with you today and to have the pleasure of introducing my friend and [CSL] classmate, Jennifer Wiggins Matthews,” former CSL member Paula Womack told those gathered for the CSL meeting at Cartersville Country Club. “Jennifer is married to Mark Matthews. He’s a south Georgia boy, and is mom to Knox, which she will quickly tell you is her greatest delight in life. Jennifer is a staple of the Cartersville community. She was born and raised here. She loves this community. She serves this community. I want to use three words today to describe my friend and her heart. It’s passion, promotion and people.
“Jennifer is passionate about service to others, as evidenced in her commitment to several boards,” she said, adding some of Matthews’ community outreach efforts include Cartersville-Bartow Community Foundation, Sam Jones Memorial United Methodist Church’s Children’s Council, Cartersville Schools Foundation, Hope Center Foundation and United Methodist Children’s Home in Decatur. “... [But] while Jennifer’s involvement in our community and service to many boards is absolutely remarkable and valuable to all of us, her ability to engage people and make others feel special is invaluable to every person she comes in contact with. In a world where we are all in a hurry and are masters of our busy [days], it is always refreshing to see Jennifer wherever [we are] as she takes the time to engage and make each person she meets feel loved and treasured.”
Currently the director for Cartersville School System’s After School Program, Matthews previously served as the group tour coordinator for the Cartersville-Bartow County Convention & Visitors Bureau, 1997 to 2000; director of marketing and public relations for Cartersville Medical Center, 2000 to 2009; director of alumni at Reinhardt University, 2009 to 2011; and business development manager for Century Bank of Georgia, 2012 to 2014.
In looking back over her marketing career, she revealed her work at CMC and creating the logos for the hospital and The Hope Center are among her most rewarding professional experiences.
“I am beyond honored to receive the 2017 Cartersville Service League Volunteer of the Year award,” said Matthews, who served with the CSL from 2004 to 2010. “My mother, Evelyn Wiggins, is here with me today, and she really deserves the credit for who I am. ... My mother raised me and my brother by herself after I turned 6 and my brother turned 11. This was not her plan but she taught me by example how to work hard, be kind and continue to help others even when life is not being the kindest to you.
“... Nothing gives me more pleasure than to connect people. I love to be the catalyst for when someone is trying to figure something out, find the right person or make a connection to a place. ... We are never too old to learn new tricks, we are never too old to meet new people and most importantly we are never too old to lend a helping hand to someone else whether it be in word, deed or prayer. I leave you today, humbled and honored and I hope I have inspired you in some way to help someone else — trust me, they need it and the blessing you receive by giving will far outweigh what you give.”
Founded in 1941, CSL is comprised of about 44 Bartow County women, who serve six-year terms and annually volunteer at least 60 hours.
With the public’s support, the league distributed $35,900 in May among the following organizations — Bartow Collaborative, Bartow Education Foundation, Family Promise of Bartow County, Bartow History Museum, Bartow County Juvenile Court, Bartow County Library System, Boys & Girls Clubs of Bartow County, Etowah Scholarship Foundation, Hands of Christ’s Douglas Street and First Presbyterian sites, New Beginnings Food Outreach, Shop With a Hero, Steps of Faith, WinShape Camps for Communities and Bartow Christmas Coalition.
For more information about the CSL, visit the organization’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/CartersvilleServiceLeagueSince1941.