Faith Desjardins: A true 'Champion for Children'
May 26, 2010
LINCOLN—Faith Desjardins has spent much of her time volunteering for the children of the Lincoln-Woodstock area, serving as high school class advisor, chaperoning dances and being a room mother to kindergarten and elementary school classrooms. She did all of this and more without asking for anything in return, which is the way she prefers it.
Well, the 21-year volunteer can no longer hide under the radar screen, as she was chosen as the New Hampshire School Administrator's Association Champion for Children state award winner, as well as the North Country region winner.
"I couldn't believe they thought I did anything, I still don't" said Desjardins, who gets teary-eyed that the panel who chose her thought so much of her.
She was first chosen as the North Country region winner and then she and the four other winners from other regions of the state were in the running for the state award, which was handed out May 7 in Concord.
"I don't like to be the focal point," said Desjardins. "I am good at organizing and doing things. I don't focus on the positives, I focus on the things I didn't do—maybe that's my drive to always do more."
Desjardins started as a room mother when her daughter Nicole, a 2002 graduate of Lin-Wood High School, was in kindergarten. From there, she continued to volunteer for different things such as class advisor for her daughter's high school class as well as her son William's class and now her son Joseph's class. Joseph will graduate June 4 and Desjardins will finish 21 years of volunteering in the school system.
She noted that her volunteering took off as "the best defense is a good offense," wanting to know what her children were being exposed She soon realized volunteering came naturally to her.
She said she feels "blessed" her husband and her family have allowed her to dedicate so much time to fundraisers, booster club activities and many other events in the Lin-Wood school community.
"Words cannot explain how proud I am of her. She has always preached to us that the best gift is giving. My mother spent countless hours helping and guiding the youth in our community while I was growing up and still continues till this day. She is the mom of all moms, any child at Lin-Wood who has interacted with her knows that she sees everyone as her children and treats them the same way she treats us. I truly am so proud of her and am honored to have her as my mother," her son William said in an e-mail message.
Countless friends and parents in the Lin-Wood community agree with him, and a few of them wrote letters for the award nomination, praising her dedication to the children of the two communities.
Lincoln-Woodstock superintendent Michael Cosgriff said he nominated her for the award because "she has an indomitable spirit about working for the good of kids."
He said she is "relentless" in making sure every child has every opportunity and is able to do every activity possible.
He remembered meeting Desjardins when he first came to Lin-Wood five years ago. He recalled that when he walked into the office, she came right up to him, shook his hand and said her name and that she was a volunteer, noting that if he needed anything, he could just let her know.
"She was true to her words. All summer long that woman was at school doing stuff for kids and then out at the baseball field [helping with youth tournaments]," Cosgriff said, noting that he wanted to know if they paid her, but told she was only a volunteer. "She isn't just a volunteer, she's a super volunteer."
Desjardins showed where her volunteer spirit came from in a recent interview, producing an older article that showed her and a friend holding art classes in her yard for the tuition of 10 cents a day. Eight-year-old Desjardins and her friend wanted to raise money for the missions and donate through the church.
Now, she is happy to provide kids with opportunities, the chance to be happy and to have a voice.
"She is a wonderfully loving and caring human being," said Cosgriff, noting a number of students wanted to go to the award ceremony to see her receive at least the North Country award, as they see her as a second Mom.
Upon seeing the Class of 2010 through graduation June 4, Desjardins will then embark on her own personal journey of having more personal time to do other things…what those things are is up to her.