Jami Mitchell spent her early years traveling Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, studying conflict transformation in Spain and Austria, and living in the Netherlands. After traveling the world, Orcas Island captured her attention and has remained her home for the last 20 years thanks to its thriving arts scene, variety of public services, and the opportunity to make a difference.
What do you enjoy about life on Orcas Island?
“To come from such an international experience and find this corner of the world with fascinating people full of talents and skillsets – I feel so grateful. I’m a huge fan of community theater, live music, lectures, and the programming that different organizations bring to our doorstep.”
“It’s also been a fantastic place to raise our boys. They’ve kept us rooted here because the schools are fabulous, the village community is wonderful, and the opportunities and resources we have for such a small community are really impressive.”
“I love that my job here is to make the world a better place. How lucky am I to have that opportunity to contribute to my community in such a positive way?”
What do you do as a Senior Services Specialist?
“My primary role is to provide information and assistance. I refer seniors and disabled adults to supports and services – one of which is our robust nutrition program. Between Meals on Wheels deliveries and on-site meals, we serve hundreds of meals to our community each week.”
In addition to the nutrition programs, Senior Services include family caregiver supports, access to respite care, senior information and assistance, Tailored Supports for Older Adults, evidence-based education programs, dementia support, and assisting with the Transportation Voucher Program. They also produce a monthly newsletter that highlights important resources. You can sign up for the Orcas newsletter here: https://tinyurl.com/seniorsignal.
“The islands have a patchwork quilt approach, and we partner with many other organizations to support the needs of our community.”
What do you enjoy about your job?
“My favorite part is the people. I appreciate interreacting with the seniors and helping everyone feel special. Sometimes in society, these folks are brushed off and passed by – but it’s my job to connect with people and give them my time and attention.”
“It’s been exciting to have in-person lunches and programs return after a drought of social activity during COVID. We’ve since learned how much more we appreciate these opportunities to be together and connect. Spending time with people just brings me so much joy.”
What is it like working for San Juan County?
“I love my colleagues in the County. I have a great rapport with the folks in our division and I can’t say enough about how much I appreciate the leadership of our department – especially during the height of our COVID response.”
“I served as the Vulnerable Populations Branch Director and was tasked with developing home delivery systems for essential services. It was an opportunity to work at a higher level with my county colleagues across the islands and I was impressed with the level of collaboration and compassion that everyone brought to the table. I’m proud to have been part of the team that had such a critical role in shepherding our community through the pandemic.”
This profile is part of a series spotlighting San Juan County employees, the work they do, and the difference they make. Follow along each month to meet the staff responsible for making the Islands a wonderful place to live, work, and play.