Identifying So Many Ways To Give BackThough she gave birth just three months ago, Jill Rey is a whirlwind of volunteerism, helping with everything from beach cleanups to United Way
Giving is the only thing Jill Rey wants to do with her life.
“It’s always been a drive for me to give back what’s been given to me,” says the mother of Xion Patrick, who was born in March. “I’ve been given so many opportunities by the people around me helping me that it just never occurred to me to keep it all to myself.”
Though her bundle of joy keeps her pretty busy these days, there aren’t many volunteer activities around the island this North Shore resident won’t participate in.
She does everything from combing the beaches picking up rubbish for Surfrider Foundation to chairing fundraising events for Kaua’i United Way.
Community service has always been a big part of Rey’s life.
“I think I was just born that way,” she says.
Her family instilled altruistic values in her as a child, but Rey believes her inclination to give is an innate characteristic. Even in high school, she won an award for her philanthropy. She spent so many hours cooking at a Sacred Heart Shelter for women that her efforts were recognized. The experience also solidified her lifelong commitment to assisting others in need.
“I ended up loving it so much,” she says. “That’s how I became interested in women who are abused and their plight.”
Before moving to Kaua’i, Rey also volunteered with a YWCA branch in California and devoted much of her time to helping abused women prepare for interviews with the nonprofit Dress for Success.
Now she has shifted her focus to encompass a broader spectrum of people in need. By volunteering with Kaua’i United Way, Rey assists many walks of life.
“They help so many different nonprofit organizations that it spans the entire community rather than just one focus,” she says about the organization that distributes its donations to organizations across the island. “I like the diversity of it.”
Another nonprofit where Rey dedicates her time is Kaua’i Hospice.
She also is involved with a grassroots organization called Share the Care, which is a community-based effort to help more people receive end-of-life health care. Her ultimate dream is to one day have a hospice home on-island.“I’d like to have it be a place where people can come to die peacefully, and have it be like heaven on earth – the most beautiful place on earth,” says Rey, who has been actively searching for land.
Another charitable endeavor is Gorilla Giving. Not only does she want to give 10 percent of what she and husband Bobi earn through their online marketing business, she is in the process of brainstorming creative ways to anonymously gift $2 bills to people throughout the community.
“If I can get the message out to enough people, you would see the $2 bills floating around, and the whole concept is that when someone sees the $2 bills, they would feel that endor-
phin boost of giving and love and thanks,” she says.
The idea to completely invest her life giving to others came to her while on a recent trip to India, where she worked at a Mother Teresa orphanage. She recalls the experience as life-altering.
“I never feel more fulfilled than when I’m giving,” says the former fashion designer.
Rey plans to continue making contributions to the community in every way she can.
“I feel like Kaua’i has given so much to me. Being here has changed my life,” she says. “All people care about here is who you are inside. And that is why I will always give back to this island everything that I’ve been given.”