Navigator: Kay Jahnel

I am married, have two daughters, 2 stepsons and 1 stepdaughter. I am blessed with 10 grandchildren ranging in age from 16 – 9 months. Four of our five children live in Cedar Rapids/Iowa City area. My stepdaughter and her family live in Des Moines. I care for grandchildren, including one who lives with us; she is a big part of my life joy and demands.

I received my master of education degree from University of Missouri-Columbia. After 37 years in various areas of special education I retired as regional director for eastern Iowa’s educational services to students who are blind or visually impaired. I developed a training curriculum for paraeducators serving students who are blind or visually impaired, and have taught that class via ICN for 3 years.

As a member of Christ Episcopal Church I am actively involved in the outreach ministry. I coordinate the Kenwood School Back Pack Program, serve on the Steering Committee of Helping Hands Ministry, and provide the altar flower arrangements for our church.

My experience as a RISE Navigator has enriched my life more than I would have ever expected. I continue to learn and be inspired by the returning citizens we support. It is the spirit of RISE to meet each individual who comes to us with acceptance and love, no questions or judgment that has made my time with RISE so rewarding. The family of navigators and returning citizens are working together for the success of the individual, their family as well as the improvement of our community awareness and services. I believe that God has blessed us in so many ways. Looking back on our history to this point is exciting, but even more exciting is the expectation of things to come as we partner with other community services to improve the lives of returning citizens and reduce recidivism.