The name Jeani Ferarri is well-known around Turlock, and the long-time champion of goodwill is being recognized for her contributions to the community as the Turlock/Modesto Branch of the American Association of University Women’s Outstanding Woman of the Year.
“She is somebody who is really outspoken about what she thinks is right, and is willing to do something about it,” said Hanna Renning, co-program vice president of AAUW. “She has worked very hard and devoted a great deal of her energy and time to many great causes.”
To be honored by the AAUW is incredibly meaningful, said Ferrari.
“So many women in that group do so much, so this coming from that group is especially significant,” she said. “As I look at my community, I notice that women have such a heart for their community and that makes me really proud.”
A Turlock resident for 51 years, Ferrari has made it her mission to give back to her hometown since 1974, when her community work began with volunteering in her son’s kindergarten class. She was an instrumental part of many events at Julien Elementary school, such as Earth Week and the annual Halloween Carnival, and also served in the parent-teacher association. Ferrari helped to develop Turlock Unified School District’s GATE program as well, and assisted in the passage of Measure N in 1997, which helped to add a second high school in Turlock.
“It must be my nature to want to fix things,” said Ferrari. “What drives me is just my personality. I like taking on challenges.”
Ferrari has not only helped shape the youth of the city, but also its land. A founding member of the Farmland Working Group, she works to preserve the area’s farmland and sustainably grow Turlock’s urban communities. She was a pivotal member of the Turlock Downtown Revitalization Committee, and helped to bring a downtown farmers market to the area as well and has served on the Turlock Certified Farmers Market Committee since its inception. Ferrari also played a huge role in the reconstruction of the Carnegie Arts Center, knocking on doors around the community to raise funds for the building.
While Ferrari’s past contributions to the city could fill the pages of a novel, her current focus is the Turlock Library. By working to raise funds, her hope is that the library is expanded and updated by 2020.
“I love living here for so many reasons,” said Ferrari. “I love our downtown, I love our farmers market, I love the Carnegie...I love all of the things that this town offers. It’s such a great community.”
Ferrari will be honored by AAUW at 7 p.m. March 23 in Berg Hall at Covenant Village, 2125 N. Olive Ave. in Turlock. Ferrari will be speaking at the program, and all are invited to attend the free event.