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Toya Jacobs, a planning associate in East Carolina University's Office of Institutional Planning, Assessment and Research, is developing a program to offer pampering services for families living in the Ronald McDonald House in Greenville. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

With service, practice makes perfect

March 26, 2012

By Judy Currin
ECU News Services

The Ronald McDonald House in Greenville provides a comfortable room, meals and moral support for families of children who are chronically ill.

One East Carolina University staff member wants to go even further. A little bit of pampering, she says, will lift the spirits of Ronald McDonald House families and help reduce the stress of coping with their loved ones’ illnesses.

Toya Jacobs, a planning associate with the Office of Institutional Planning, Assessment and Research, is working to organize in-house spa services to Ronald McDonald families on a regular basis.

 It’s one of the ways she serves the community. Jacobs says the way to honor ECU’s motto, ‘Servire,’ is by practicing it.

 “I just ran the idea by the executive director,” Jacobs said. “It is a desire of mine that she thinks is a great idea but has to be further developed.”

 “With the aid of local businesses who offer spa pampering services, I believe we can and will make this happen,” Jacobs said.

“I’m a girly-girl who loves to have her hair done along with the occasional manicure, pedicure or make over,” Jacobs said. “I always feel so much better after a little pampering.”

Engaging teens

Jacobs was elected to the Ronald McDonald House Board of Directors in 2009.

“Along with active service to the families at our house, Jacobs serves on committees and assists with fundraising efforts,” said Executive Director Phyllis Flye. “She has been instrumental in expanding the Ronald McDonald House Teen Board.”

The Teen Board has an elected president, participates in fundraising efforts — selling T-shirts, paper hearts and luminaries. They volunteer in the house on weekends and evenings as their schedules permit.

“It’s an interactive way for students from area high schools to get involved in community service,” Jacobs said.

Jacobs also serves on the State Employees Credit Union Board of Directors and as president of the local Zeta Pi Sigma chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc.

“It’s like my part-time job,” she said. “Sigma Gamma Rho is a national non-profit collegiate sorority dedicated to promote scholastic achievement, enhance the quality of life through local chapters and encourage community service.”

The local Zeta Pi Sigma chapter represents educated and professional women dedicated to improving the community of Greenville and surrounding areas.

Jacobs has 15 years of continuous financial and active service to the sorority.
Receiving the East Carolina University Greek Advisor of the Year is an accomplishment she is particularly proud of.

Doing the right thing

The Lenoir County native received a bachelor’s degree in child and family studies and a master’s in public administration from ECU.

She and husband, Jamie, are parents of her 13-year-old stepson, Jaylin.

Jacobs credits her parents for inspiring her dedication to service.

“I know that everyone has not been blessed with such a loving support system like I have. I feel it is my obligation to help those less fortunate,” Jacobs said. “It’s just the right thing to do.”


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