Jessica Rossi: Mastering the Art of Giving
● By Dan Greeson
Eighteen-year-old Jessica Rossi sits out on a ledge overlooking her family’s ranch for peace and serenity. She is a fourth-generation Rossi, and hopes one day to take over the family business.
The recent graduate from Soroco High School is attending Eastern Wyoming College, where she is playing basketball and planning to get an associate degree in farm and ranch management with a certificate in beef production. “I know I may change my mind when it comes to the specific degree,” says Jessica, “but whatever it is, it will be in agriculture.”
Besides an exciting time ahead of her, Jessica’s legacy in the community has been productive. She was involved in National Honor Society, Future Business Leaders of America, Future Farmers of America, and served as student council vice president her senior year at Soroco High – not to mention her sports accomplishments. A volleyball, basketball and track athlete, Jessica excelled in all three and broke two school records in discus and pole vault, placing fourth and third in state respectively.
Outside of the academic setting, Jessica spent much of her time involved at St. Martin’s Catholic Church, helping with the sixth grade science camp, and with 4-H. Her community service hour total? Around 800 hours and growing. “When I stopped having to fill out applications I stopped keeping track of hours,” Jessica says with a laugh. For her, it’s hardly community service. She even admits it felt silly clocking hours for much of what she’s done. “I just like people. I don’t think of it as community service hours.”
In early June, Jessica was named Yampa Valley Community Foundation’s “Young Philanthropist of the Year,” and there is no question why. Jessica says growing up in South Routt has shaped who she is completely. “The community has definitely helped me. I don’t even think I’ve ‘given back’ because of how much it has given to me. I feel so blessed to have grown up here.”
For Jessica, the support from her coaches, teachers, 4-H and her family act as the foundation for who she is today. “Everyone is always wanting to help out,” she says appreciatively. 4-H is an especially significant factor, as her grandmother founded the 4-H program in South Routt County more than 50 years ago and it’s how her parents met. “4-H is a huge part of my life. I’ve basically been a part of it since I was two. It’s definitely where I’ve felt community in the strongest sense.”
Jessica says she hopes to become involved in her college town too. “This whole world is a big community. Routt County is just a little one in a sea of so many, and I definitely think serving anywhere, on a big or small scale, is worthwhile.”
Jessica Rossi may be young, but she knows the value of capitalizing on her strengths and considering others. “I heard that it’s scientifically proven that when you give to other people it’s actually contagious,” Jessica recalls. “I really believe that. And I think in all of us we’re wired like that, to want to help others and to be kind.”