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posted: 6/6/2014 4:20 PM

Veterinary Technician Credits Foundation Donor with Changing Her Life

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  • Jade Cheney loves her job as a veterinary technician and credits the JJC Companions' Fund scholarship with changing her life.  Here she is working on one of her recent clients, Maynard, a Persian cat.

    Jade Cheney loves her job as a veterinary technician and credits the JJC Companions' Fund scholarship with changing her life. Here she is working on one of her recent clients, Maynard, a Persian cat.

The DuPage Community Foundation

The Companions' Fund of The DuPage Community Foundation was created by the donor in honor of his current canine companions and in memory of those he has lost. A $20,000 grant was recently made from the fund to Joliet Junior College ("JJC") for the purpose of veterinary technology program scholarships. Addison resident and JJC student Jade Cheney was one of the lucky recipients. Cheney credits the JJC Companions' Fund scholarship with changing her life.
"This award allowed me to significantly cut my hours at work because I didn't have to worry about tuition costs," said Cheney. "The award enabled me to focus much more on my studies, especially during my last two semesters when studying was intense. I was fortunate to get this award when I needed it most."
The impact of the award allowed Cheney to work less hours and study more. She was also able to find time in her schedule to tutor her classmates.
Cheney graduated with high honors from JJC with her associate's degree in applied science. She delivered the commencement address and with it some advice for others who may have faced the challenges of paying for and finishing their education.
"I tried to provide words of encouragement and motivation," Cheney said. "I feel very lucky to have received this help from the Companions' Fund (of The DuPage Community Foundation.) It made a huge impact on my life."
The completion of the veterinary technician program at JJC allows Cheney to sit for the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE), which she plans on doing in July. As a veterinary technician or "vet tech," Cheney feels that she's in the ideal place for her career.
An eight-year employee of the DuPage Animal Hospital in Villa Park, Cheney credits her boss and mentor Dr. Nicole DiGiacomo, D.V.M., for supporting her along the way. "She has been a good mentor for me through school and work. I admire her and try to emulate her in my work."
"Jade is very special because she is always thinking three steps ahead of where we need to be," said DiGiacomo. "Not everybody thinks that way. She shows great initiative and has a great work ethic. Part of her great work ethic is that she aims to provide the best care possible when she's treating an animal," added DiGiacomo.
DiGiacomo also credits Jade with having excellent communication skills, which she adds, is rather unique. "She explains very thoroughly to her clients exactly what treatment is about to be done to their animals. That translation is important. She speaks, writes and thinks well, which also makes her a good team member," DiGiacomo said.
Cheney has loved her job as a veterinary assistant but admits that she will love it even more now that she is a certified vet tech.
"I am basically a nurse in the animal world," Cheney explained of the vet tech role. "I am responsible for taking blood and x-rays, prepping and sometimes assisting with surgeries, and
monitoring anesthesia. I am so grateful to my boss and fellow techs who covered for me while I was finishing my education. I was able to teach them techniques and other things I learned. They were all very supportive."
Having always been an animal lover, Cheney remembered a conversation with her mother when she was about four-years-old. She told her mom that she loved animals and asked her what she could do with that. Cheney's mom opened her eyes to veterinary science.
"I have that drive and motivation," Cheney said. "I just knew that it was something that I really wanted to do. I enjoy it all."
Continuing to work at the DuPage Animal Hospital is perfect for Cheney. "After eight years, I still love going there and I love the relationship with the animals," she said. "The client interaction is also very rewarding."
Cheney's career as a vet tech is one for which she is extremely grateful, especially to the donor who made the sometimes rough road to education a little smoother for her. She wrote these words in a thank-you note to the donor: "I surpassed my hopes and dreams these past two years and your generous gift to support scholarships at JJC helped make that all possible. Thank you again for giving back to the community. I hope to do the same in my veterinary career now and always."
About The DuPage Community Foundation:
The DuPage Community Foundation seeks to raise the quality of life throughout DuPage County by fostering philanthropy, connecting donors to area needs and building community partnerships. Based on the American virtues of volunteerism and philanthropy, the Foundation fosters a legacy of support for the people of DuPage County by making grants to not-for-profit organizations working in the areas of arts and culture, education, environment, health, and human services. Since its inception, the Foundation has built its endowment to more than $55 million and awarded more than $18 million in grants to not-for-profit agencies serving the residents of DuPage County and beyond.
Established in 1986, The DuPage Community Foundation is a publicly-supported 501(c)(3) organization to which contributions are tax deductible. It was created to benefit the people of DuPage County and receives contributions and bequests into a permanent endowment from individuals, corporations, organizations and foundations wishing to make lasting contributions to the people of DuPage. The earnings on these funds are then used, in accordance with donor wishes, for the Foundation's grantmaking and community leadership activities.
For more information about the Foundation, or to arrange future media opportunities, please contact Joelyn Kott, marketing & communications officer, at (630) 665-5556, extension 19, or jkott