Clary Gardens director returns home to raise family, give back to community

| January 16, 2018

Jandi Adams, a 2001 graduate of River View High School, is executive director of Clary Gardens. Contributed | Beacon

COSHOCTON – Jandi Adams found it really easy to get a job when she graduated from The Ohio State University with her degree in molecular genetics.

The 2001 River View High School graduate applied to several places and soon found herself employed by the Ohio Department of Agriculture as a lab technician, but she always knew she wanted to come back home.

She first came home to Coshocton County to work for Job and Family Services in the field of adult literacy.

“I was able to start our connection with COTC and I started attending every workshop and conference I could and became an advocate for adult literacy and the GED,” Adams said.

She soon found herself advancing to the position of state program manager for Ohio Higher Education.

“I worked in downtown Columbus and you could feel the hustle and bustle of the professional world,” Adams said.

However, at this time her daughter Jozie was born and she and her husband, Jared a 2002 RVHS alum, knew they wanted their children to be around family and where they felt they could find affordable, trustworthy childcare.

“I knew when our kids were in school that I wanted to be part of that and that there would be a lot for them to do here,” Adams said. “We also wanted to raise them in a close knit community.”

Jozie is now 5. They also have a son Jagger who is 3 and Jandi has a 13-year-old stepdaughter Jordan.

“Our young kids are involved in everything (karate, Girl Scouts, indoor and outdoor soccer, dance classes, 4-H, classes at the Pomerene Center for the Arts, the local museum and library, and Roscoe), not to mention the best schools and preschools at extremely good prices (compared to what my friends pay in more developed areas),” Adams said.

When she, her husband and daughter first returned to Coshocton, Jandi went back to Coshocton County Job and Family Services, but this time she worked in the workforce development area.

“I was able to work with all area businesses and develop leadership roles in the community,” Jandi said. “Jobs open in Coshocton came across my desk and I did interviewing for places like Jones Metal, WestRock and some small businesses. I got pretty good at interviewing because I knew what questions were going to be asked.”

She decided to try for one of the job openings that came through her office and was for a local nonprofit.

“It was the kind where you wear all hats,” Jandi said. “It was a great experience, but I didn’t get the job.”

One of the people who interviewed her though thought that she would be a good candidate for another position, which is her current role as executive director of Clary Gardens.

“It’s different than a lot of other nonprofits,” Jandi said. “It’s close to running your own business without actually doing that and you get to deal with different things every day.”

She admits when she started she didn’t know much about Clary Gardens and is not a gardening expert, but she is excited to start Master Gardener classes.

“It (Clary Gardens) also allows me the opportunity to be involved in so many other different pieces of the community like Leadership Coshocton County, Rotary and United Way,” Jandi said. “I’ve always been involved in so many different things throughout my life. Anyone can complain, but if you don’t like something the only way to create change is if you sit at the table.”

She also has to disagree when people say, “There is nothing to do around here.”

“My husband and I enjoy visiting the local breweries, going to see local bands and shows, and outdoor activities like hiking, fishing, and tubing down the river,” Jandi said. “We have to correct them with positives and remember to look around at what we have here. I don’t want to live in any place more urban or rural. I get to own a bit of my own land and get to enjoy amenities within a 10-minute drive that make Coshocton such a great place to settle – especially for a younger couple looking to get their feet wet in a community this rich in history.”

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