By Emilie Trepanier
“Maybe it sounds really cheesy, but I couldn’t do it without my team,” Amy Jasinski, the May Volunteer of the Month gushed about BTS volunteers. She added that finding someone reliable is really rare, and finding this rarity amongst her team has been personally gratifying.
Amy, who has been volunteering with BTS for just over a year, is a fan favorite. She works as our creative director and visual designer, and our team couldn’t be more thrilled or impressed by her dedication that is consistently met with a sparkle and a smile.
Brian Nguyen, our director of social media, said he was surprised Amy wasn’t nominated for the honor sooner, because she has been such a remarkable help and friend to him.
“She really solidified us as an organization in a lot of ways, especially on the marketing side,” Brian said, which was imperative for him because they have an intertwined working relationship. He said their working styles complement one another, creating a dynamic duo of sorts. Brian reiterated how structure was important to him, a trait which Amy feels she had to learn to develop.
“I believe with Amy joining as the creative director, she’s streamlined a lot of our communication, publications, and graphics to fit our brand’s standards,” Brian said, adding that Amy’s work has “been impactful for survivors.”
Amy’s journey to graphic design wasn’t a straight and narrow path. After transferring to UC Santa Barbara, where a graphic design major was not offered, she chose to be an art major. She said being a transfer student “primed” her to appreciate her university experience more, and with that, she chose to “[savor] any ounce of living there that [she] could.”
Stephanie Nease, a member of the BTS creative team, said: “If I could pick a sister, I would pick Amy J.”
Stephanie, who joined BTS just under a year ago, said she was worried about being bad in her position. Amy’s approachable attitude and trust in Stephanie to do her job well eased her worries that she wouldn’t succeed. “She was over the moon excited, and that’s how she always is. She is probably one of the most supportive people I know.”
Not only does Amy lead, create and tackle events such as Battle of the Bands – a fundraiser executed by BTS – and a campaign called #RawTruthDV, she teaches through encouragement and trust.
Stephanie said, “Her leadership got me here.”
When Stephanie was working on a our Holidays of Hope campaign, she went to Amy often, unsure of how to carry out certain aspects of her project. Stephanie said, “She would help me every step of the way, without trying to do it for me. At the end of the day, I created these incredible graphics. She gave me confidence in my abilities. She teaches me what I know without taking control.”
Adding that Amy is an “even-keeled leader,” Stephanie said Amy is also “genuine.”
“You can tell she really cares. When it comes to Amy, she has a real passion; she creates. And, it’s always uplifting to talk to her. When I get off the phone with her, I feel important. She does that for every person she meets. She’s got so many amazing qualities, but those are my favorites.”
Hoping for BTS to be a stepping stone in building her graphic design portfolio, Amy said: “While designing, I found that I get lost in it and can stop thinking for hours.”
Suffering from what she refers to as “spiral thinking,” design is not just a coping mechanism; it’s something she loves. She also feels that despite a day job and doing freelance projects on the side, BTS is the constant that feels too natural to ever give up.
“Design feels liberating, calm, like what I’m supposed to be doing right now,” she said.
Before volunteering with BTS, Amy worked as a web designer for four years. She said while web design was more practical, “it’s not what makes my heart soar.”
Now, she works professionally as a graphic designer, and she said she has BTS to thank for that. Prior to working with BTS, Amy didn’t have a lot of confidence in her chosen field. She also said she liked being given direction because without it she used to feel stunted. She said, “BTS showed me I am good at it,” and she now doesn’t need the structure she once craved.
Amy’s creative journey is a passionately self-made one. Her website is a stunning and expressive showcase of her work. She said after graduating from college, she struggled to motivate herself to do art. Going from being given a task and completing projects such as eight-hour paintings, to needing to find inspiration all on her own was challenging. She began to tell herself to “Just make something.”
It started with repetitive linework, but due to her natural inclination towards words, statements, and clichés, she began drawing words. From there, she began creating her own style, which she describes as “simplistic and meditative.”
Her work speaks for her, yet according to Stephanie, Amy remains modest. “Amy is one of those people that you don’t expect right away to be such a big blessing in your life because she’s so humble.”
As Stephanie said, she finds Amy both humble and supportive. A previous Volunteer of the Month herself, Stephanie said, “She’s the one who nominated me. She sent me a care package with a candle and a scarf… telling me she was so proud of me. This stuff just comes out of her soul. You don’t realize the depth of how much she cares about people. I encourage everyone to get to know her.”
Amy said a fulfilling aspect of doing graphic design for BTS is that she’s not just using her skills for profit. BTS is a way to serve, “I’m not someone who’s going to go out and table or stand up on a crate and speak out,” she said, implying she isn’t much of a salesperson, but that volunteering with BTS is a “mutually beneficial relationship.”
“That sense of, ‘hey I have this talent I have this skill, you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours,’” she said.
Her time with BTS immediately brought her a feeling of being appreciated. She said that there is a sense of “sisterhood and a sense of empathy” that comes with being involved in BTS. There is no “fear of being ganged up on,” and a “sense of belonging and understanding without… pressure.”
Brian, who works closely on various projects with Amy, said “She’s truly an incredible human being inside and out. This is a well-deserved honor. She definitely deserves the recognition.”
We all want to thank you for sharing your talents and your excitement in making this world a better place, Amy! Thank you for inspiring us all while just being yourself.
If you’re interested in volunteering with Break the Silence Against Domestic Violence, visit:https://www.breakthesilencedv.org/volunteer/