Roux’s people skills have been an asset to United Way effort

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 4, 1998

By Leonard Gray / L’Observateur / March 4, 1998

HAHNVILLE – United Way of St. Charles Parish gained a valuable employeewhere Hampshire and Buckinghamshire lost a show-jumper.

Jara Dubroca Roux, assistant to Executive Director George Williamson, has lent her people-expertise to running the United Way office, coordinating volunteers and helping out with fund-raising activities, such as the annual fall golf tournament and the Hale Boggs Bridge 5-K run/walk, the second annual event set this year April 4.

United Way of St. Charles raised nearly $1 million in its 1997 fund drive.Jara, a native of Boutte, attended Paradis Primary School, graduated from Hahnville High School, got a bachelor’s degree in English education and became a Navy wife. She and husband Jeff found themselves in England,where he was involved in missile testing with the Royal Navy.

They had three sons: Cave (doing post-graduate work at Cambridge University), Jason (in the MBA program at the University of New Orleans) and Justin (a UNO student). Jeff retired from the Navy. Returning to St. Charles Parish in 1993, Jara and Jeff made their home inAma and Jara found herself with too much time on her hands.

“This came up and it offered a lot of interesting opportunities to learn about the people in the community and how they interact,” she said.

She came on board “barely computer-literate,” and grew in the job, from bookkeeping to computer graphics. However, it’s the fund-raising effortsshe joins in which makes life interesting.

“I like the idea that everything we do is geared toward helping people,” she commented. “We take programs that already exist and enhance whatthey do.”Raising funds for 34 member organizations is a full-time occupation for Jara. “I’m really proud of the people here,” she said. “This year, we raised$100,000 over last year’s contributions. The staff here has something tobe proud of.”Such feeling and love for the people is apparently common in her family.

Sister Manina is a criminal defense attorney practicing in the 29th Judicial District Court in Hahnville.

Jara’s life is not simply United Way, though. In England, she participatedin foxhunting and show-jumping and still is an active horsewoman. Shealso loves baking, working on her herb garden, walking on the levee near her home and reading.

But enticing dollars from contributors’ pockets is another skill she has developed. She tells them: “Right now, at this time of your life, do youhave a little bit you can share with someone less fortunate?” And it works. At one construction site in the parish during 1997, she said,”so many young people were eager to give their fair share.” Fair-sharecontributions are one hour of wages per month.

“Payroll deductions make that possible, and you can feel really good about it,” Jara continued.

“We seem to have made it work,” she said, smiling.

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