The Name Is Jill…JILL BONDY
It’s been said that we make a living by what we get, but make a life by what we give. Few people know this better than Jill Bondy, who has made quite an inspirational life through her volunteer efforts in the Santa Clarita Valley for the the past 40 years.
The 2016 recipient of the Carmen Sarro Service Award from the Zonta Club of Santa Clarita Valley, Jill’s long list of contributions to nonprofit organizations stem from a passion for service inherited from her family. She began volunteering at the age of nine alongside her mother and grandmother at a home for mentally ill adults. “Service was just something I always saw in my family. It was passed down our family line,” Bondy explained. “As a child, volunteering made me happy. I saw that I could put a smile on someone’s face. I knew I had everything I needed and felt I was giving back.”
From her time as a crisis pregnancy counselor in the early 90’s, to her work with The Valencia Women’s Connection, Bondy’s altruism has been especially impactful on women and children. “Women need a voice, and women need each other,” Bondy said. “I just have a heart for women and children. I’ve seen so many women hurting, and if you reach out to them it makes such a difference.”
Jill wears many hats in her current role on the Board of Directors for Circle of Hope, a non-profit charity that provides support for cancer patients living in Santa Clarita and the Northern Los Angeles area. She works tirelessly with other volunteers, supporting patients during their cancer journey and raising money for those who are uninsured and underinsured. Without any federal or state grants, Circle of Hope relies on extensive fundraising and community support from local businesses and sponsors. Cancer has personally touched Jill’s life, having watched her mother confront breast cancer in 1998. “I saw my mother struggle with the lumpectomy and radiation, and it was a tough time. And that’s around the time we were introduced to Circle of Hope, when we went to their first tea fundraiser,” Bondy said. Fundraisers like the Afternoon Tea Party and 31 Days of Hope in October for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, are powered by local volunteers like Jill who are passionate about their cause.
Circle of Hope not only offers support groups and educational assistance to cancer patients, but they also take care of monetary expenses that accompany treatments including co-pays, prescription costs, and more. “When I see a husband of a breast cancer client break down in tears when we tell him we have the funds to pay his COBRA, that’s when we know we’ve made a difference,” Jill said about seeing the fruits of their labor at Circle of Hope. “We don’t want them to stress over money when they’re trying to get well, because stress makes things so much worse. We’re making a difference today for a brighter future tomorrow. That’s our mission.”
Jill is married to her best friend, Ron, having raised three children in Santa Clarita. They now enjoy seven grandsons and a granddaughter on the way. Despite all of Jill’s service throughout the years, she says her grandchildren are truly her real legacy. “I want to show them how to have a better life and a better world to live in. I want them to be good human beings. I know my children are, and I want that for my grandchildren, too.”
When asked what makes up a good life, Jill believes there are a few key ingredients. “It starts with God and my faith. And service fulfills my faith and my mission. Having a positive attitude and a good sense of humor, as well as love, family, and hope make up a good life. There’s always hope. I always hope.”
photo by Lindsay Schlick
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