Local enterprise supports alumni engagement
Updated: Sep 14, 2021
In 2020 an innovative idea was suggested by long-term Jacari supporter Jamie Dear: how could Jacari harness the enthusiasm of its many former volunteers and members? Since the 1950s, thousands of University of Oxford and Oxford Brookes (and over the past 5 years University of Bristol and UWE) students have been actively involved with Jacari, campaigning for equal opportunities and empowering children to speak English with confidence.
As a former Jacari volunteer and Chair of our Board of Trustees, Jamie helped Jacari transition from student society to registered charity in the early 2000s. After graduating from Oxford, he set up an educational company, Oxford Scholastica Academy, which runs residential Oxford summer courses, online courses and internships for young people. Jamie also co-founded the Charity Football League in 2012, a social enterprise which runs football leagues in Oxford and donates its profits to Jacari.
Oxford Scholastica offered to fund the part-time role of Alumni Engagement Officer for one year with the purpose of finding and reconnecting with Jacari alumni and building an alumni community.
In August 2020 Natasha Wooldridge joined Jacari as our Alumni Engagement Officer. Her first task was to identify and contact Jacari alumni from various sources of information in our archives. She also contacted the Oxford Alumni Office and each Oxford College's alumni department, along with Oxford Brookes Alumni team to ask them to include a short article about Jacari in their communications to alumni. This resulted in many Jacari alumni getting in touch with Natasha and sharing their memories of Jacari.
Natasha was able to speak to two of the founders of Jacari, Anthony Smith and Sarah Curtis, along with alumni who were involved in Jacari in every decade since. She started sending a monthly newsletter to alumni, which includes an Alumni Q&A feature, as well as engaging with them on Jacari’s social media and growing Jacari’s alumni network on LinkedIn.
She also developed various ways to stay involved with Jacari, organised a successful Jacari 65 Challenge fundraising campaign and helped us find two new trustees from our alumni community. She is now developing a Jacari history archive and putting together an online album to share all the amazing stories and memories that alumni have shared with her.
Natasha’s Alumni Engagement work has proved a great success for Jacari and we are delighted that she will be staying with us and taking on a wider remit as our Fundraising and Supporter Engagement Officer.
If you are a former volunteer or member of Jacari, Natasha would be delighted to hear from you. You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07843 801167.