Jane Kelly – Chairperson of the Police and Fire LiaisonCommittee for the Bay Ridge Community Council, President of theLutheran Medical Center Auxiliary, Legislative Chairperson of AARPChapter 3630, former President of the Bay Ridge Mental HealthCouncil, Legislative Chair of the Bay Ridge Council on Aging

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: Kelly got her start in community activismin the late 1950s with the Bay Ridge Community Council, anorganization which she subsequently served as president. Originallyasked to represent Our Lady of Angels Home and School Association,Kelly got involved and started joining other groups within theorganization. Gradually I noticed I was on every committee, shesaid with a chuckle. Through her work within the council, she wasintroduced to numerous local residents. I got to meet peoplethroughout the community, Kelly said. I like working with peopleso I really enjoyed all of that. Since then, she has made her markthrough a number of other local organizations such as the Bay RidgeCouncil on Aging, which she has been involved with for the last 15years. At our meetings we not only have seniors representing thegroup but we have people from a number of different organizationsrepresenting seniors, she said.

PERSONAL: A lifetime Brooklyn resident, Kelly, who will turn 90next month, moved to Bay Ridge in 1950 and stayed put. If she hadto pinpoint what it is about the area that has enthralled her forso long, she admits it’s the residents. The people are so greatand they’re very community-minded, Kelly said. She has threechildren, two sons, ages 55 and 59 and a daughter who is 59.Family comes first, she said. But for some reason Bay Ridge hasalways been very special to me and I’d like to see it grow.

BIGGEST CHALLENGE: The global recession has had a big effect onlocal volunteer efforts, Kelly says. She points to a slow jobmarket as having a direct effect on community activism. What’shappening now is quite a few of the young mothers had to go back towork because of the economy, she said. They only have just enoughtime and not enough to volunteer. This is a big problem accordingto Kelly, particularly because of the infusion of new ideas thatyounger members can bring to an organization. We do have someyounger people replacing the others but you don’t get that many andthe young ones have ideas that we don’t think of, she explained.You need young blood in these organizations.

INSPIRATION: According to Kelly, she doesn’t have to look toofar when it comes to finding inspiration for the work she does; shefinds it in her fellow community activists. There are so manypeople who belong to these organizations who do so much work, shesaid, adding: They’re all very dedicated and some of them areolder than me, which is hard to imagine.

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