Jan Luc

jan luc

Board of Directors, 2000-2003, 2005-2006
2001 Volunteer of the Year

Jan Luc is the kind of mother who volunteers wherever her three children are involved. She was active on the PTA during their school years, and later, when her son was hospitalized with a mental health condition and transferred to Casa Juana Maria, one of the Mental Health Association’s resident homes, Jan Luc found her way there.

“My first encounter was visiting the Fellowship Club on Chapala Street,” she recalled. Her son made tremendous progress at the club and Jan Luc wanted to check out the facility. Her initial job was wrapping 100 Christmas presents for club members, and from that point forward she knew she had found the place that she wanted to stay.

“There was such a warm, homey atmosphere and the most wonderful clients,” Jan Luc noted. “And I volunteered alongside a fantastic group of people who have become some of my dearest friends.” At 84 years old, Jan Luc can no longer volunteer (she stopped about 5 years ago due to back issues), but she’s still in close contact with the friends she first met decades ago.

“I played bingo a lot in those days,” recalled Jan Luc. And she did a lot of cooking – working with a team to prepare Thanksgiving dinners for 100 people. “We got volunteers, friends and family to donate turkeys and it was the most heartfelt thing I’ve ever done, and I’ve volunteered a lot in my lifetime.”

Jan Luc spent 20 years as a financial analyst at Raytheon, retiring at the age of 55. Still young, she wanted to do more with her time, and a volunteer opportunity with Walter Capps’ campaign turned into a full-time opportunity. She has also served on the boards of Sanctuary House and Friends of the Library, and first joined the Mental Wellness Center board in 2000, where she stayed for four years.

Her financial acumen was an asset to the Mental Wellness Center when they sought funding for the new building on Garden Street. And her connections from working in the congressional office were also beneficial.

“I was most proud of our organization’s ability to secure funding for the new building and apartments; that was a major accomplishment from a group pf people who were just parents,” she said. “We were ordinary, not-moneyed people, but we were all willing to work hard and it’s just extraordinary that we grew from this little crowded, happy building on Chapala Street.”

Although Jan Luc has a strong business background, she said her expertise was really in the kitchen.

“I was known as the cookie lady,” she confessed, quickly noting that she also bakes delicious brownies. She would bring a batch of freshly baked goods every week to the Fellowship Club. But the event she most enjoyed was the mental health arts festival, where she prepared lunch for all the artists showcasing their work.

Jan Luc received the volunteer of the year award in 2001, no doubt for all of her cooking and companionship. She often spent Friday afternoons visiting with patients at the psychiatric ward, which was a program associated with the Mental Wellness Center.

It was the connection with the clients that kept Jan Luc coming back year after year.

“The Fellowship Club was a like a second family to me,” she said. “It is my greatest love in Santa Barbara.”