My year with the City Journals: A reflection and review of the contributions of womenApr 03, 2022 07:10PM ● By Rachel Aubrey
Girls from Girl Scout Troop 583 visited the fire station in Taylorsville in February. (Photo by Jessica Ballard)
By Rachel Aubrey | [email protected]
Since I began as a reporter for the City Journals, I have had the privilege of interviewing some amazing people. The interview process has always been my favorite part of reporting. I have always enjoyed meeting someone new, learning about what makes them unique and writing their story for others to read.
During March, the stories being shared were about women. March 8, officially known as International Women’s Day, was a day to highlight the unique contributions and achievements of women the world over. To put it more eloquently, “to provide education on how women helped shape the nation [world].”
I’ve come to learn through my first year writing for the City Journals just how much women help shape our community and world. And how important their stories are to tell.
I got the lead for my first story from Facebook, where I was able to get in touch with Kim Deverall, who specialized in giving haircuts to those living with special needs. We met at the salon she worked at, JCPenney at the District.
Deverall works to meet new clients and make new connections providing one-on-one service for clients who have special needs due to autism or other neurological divergent disorders.
“I am so lucky and honored to be in a position to help a population that is so frequently misunderstood,” Deverall said. “I love working for a company that has given me the ability to give neurodivergent individuals the dignity and socialization they deserve.”
I then had the opportunity to interview another woman who took a big chance only to have it pay off in a delicious way. I met Carol Timmons, a business owner in South Jordan, and reported on her little slice of heaven in Flake Pie Company.
Recently, Flake contributed $11,152 to help those in Ukraine through the CARE Ukraine Crisis Fund. According to an Instagram post, the Flake Pie Company team baked and sold 3,477 flakies, their signature pastry.
Anna Linner was a true gem from the moment I met her at the South Jordan Public Library. I wandered in one day looking for story leads actually, and Linner greeted me at the front desk, behind a large plastic shield (thanks Covid). I knew she had a story to share. And it turns out, I wasn’t wrong. Born in Hungary, she went on to earn a master’s of library sciences degree at age 50, to become a full-on librarian. Linner continues to work at the South Jordan library.
I was enthusiastic to learn that there was a new Girl Scout troop being formed in South Jordan last summer for girls enrolled in kindergarten or first grade, and that Jen Bingman was to be their leader. Twice a month Bingman lets a group of talkative and eager five to seven year olds in her backyard to teach them things about building robots, planting trees and selling cookies.
“We've had a fun first year with our Daisy troop,” Bingman said. “Our troop has had special challenges regarding meetings with Covid restrictions, cookie delays due to supply chain issues, and losing four troop leaders, but our families rallied around our troop to provide the support we needed to continue with our endeavors.”
Then I met Durga Ekambaram after I saw her mural under the bridge of the Jordan River Trail at 10600 South. I have been able to follow her work on social media. The patience and the persistence it must take to create, to have an idea and to have to slowly nurture it to life is inspiring on many levels.
The trail mural project has given Ekambaram the confidence to explore new mediums and techniques. In February, her mixed media artwork was selected to be displayed at the World of the Wild art show at the Hogle Zoo. Her watercolor paintings were also selected in November 2021 to be featured on a utility box in Daybreak. She is looking forward to several art displays at South Jordan City Hall, Millcreek Library and Utah Cultural Center.
I was once again amazed not only by the physical strength of women, but their mental strength as well. I met Debbie Millet, a former weightlifting champion and now a coach to young women competing in the clean and press and the snatch. I spoke to some of these young women, in particular Malia Levy and Maci Wynn, who talked about their training schedules and their determination, and what it meant to have a female role model like Millet.
According to Millet, Levy took gold at the American Open in Ohio late last year, and will represent team USA at the Youth Pan Am and Youth Worlds this upcoming summer of 2022. Wynn is now one of the top three women in the country, lifting the previous American record in the snatch event. Wynn is now in a position to make the 2024 Summer Olympic team.
Most recently, I met the heartwarming group known as Females in Action Salt Lake Valley or FIA. They welcomed me into their group, challenged me to a little physical exercise routine, gave me a nickname and explained how they as a group look out for one another. It was heartwarming to see, as we live in a world that can be so divided, that these women will welcome and accept other women regardless of race, religion, economic status and a host of other things that often keep people at bay.
We have women in our communities who are leaders, mentors, entrepreneurs, artists, athletes, volunteers, professionals and all-around positive influences. All of these women, and many others like them whose stories I have yet to share, help shape the community, and their stories are relevant.