WHO WE ARE: Local mom gives back to the community she loves
Editor’s note: Who We Are is a regular series featuring men and women who embody the unique spirit of the Grand Valley. To nominate someone to be featured, e-mail email@example.com.
Fruita mom Jeannine Purser never really decided to become an active community servant. But through the twists and turns of life, she’s found herself on Fruita’s Downtown Advisory Board; she’s involved in Cavalcade (the small town’s popular performing-arts spot); and she works to better kids’ education. She’s lived in Fruita for 12 years but originally moved to Grand Junction when she was 3.
“I didn’t necessarily see myself going down that road,” Purser, 38, said. “I’ve been a stay-at-home mom until just this past September.”
But with her husband, Cullen, on the Fruita City Council, it just made sense that she’d become active in Fruita’s development, too.
“If you can contribute in any way, then it’s good for you to give back and it’s good for the community,” Purser said.
Daughters Fen and Isa, ages 8 and 12, keep Purser grounded and involved in Fruita as well. She credits them with inspiring her to keep the growing town family friendly.
As chairwoman of the City of Fruita’s Downtown Advisory Board, Purser said she wants to see progress, but it’s vital for the expanding burg to “stay small.” The Downtown Advisory Board is currently exploring ways to upgrade Fruita’s main drag (Aspen Avenue), much as Grand Junction uplifted its historic Main Street a few years ago.
“We’re collaborating with the city and parks and recreation for an overall vision from Civic Center Park to Triangle Park,” Purser said. “It’s the whole downtown.”
Upgrades to Fruita will include “children’s play spaces,” as well as a cleaned-up look.
“People in Fruita know how great Fruita is, and we want families to stay in Fruita as much as possible,” she noted.
Purser’s day job — with Mesa Valley Vision Home and Community Program — also helps kids, though in a different way.
“(Mesa Valley Vision) is a district public school (K-12) for families who educate from the home,” Purser explained. “It has 400 students, and a waiting list of 150. My job is creating field trips where we can all get together. In a bricks-and-mortar school, kids are sent home with fliers with all sorts of different opportunities. I make sure that kids in nontraditional educational settings get those things, too.”
Purser added that her new job is “a perfect fit! It was meant to be.”
And when she’s not working or volunteering on the board, Purser can be found pitching in at Cavalcade (201 E. Aspen Ave.) as the daily operational manager. Five families started this community-minded performing arts space for creative folks locally and even nationally. The small co-op seats 49 people and it sells concessions (soda and candy, not beer). Cavalcade is focused on being family friendly as well, and it gives everyone a platform to express themselves creatively in an intimate setting.
“People (there) are really listening,” she said.
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The family of Rosie Ferrin has worked to clean up and make safe again the old schoolhouse in downtown New Castle. Ferrin died this summer and had owned the building that included classrooms turned into apartments for years.