By Tara Fort
For Jamie Procknow, contributing to her community in ways that impact others are what brings meaning and fulfillment. Procknow and her family are just one special example of how personal experiences can influence the lives of others on a much broader scale. Owners of Custom Water Creations, a pool and spa design business. Procknow states, “We are one of the rare old-fashioned models of a family business, and most of our employees are members of our family.” This extended family model is true for the Procknows at home, in business, and in life.
Many successful businesses give back to their communities and the Procknows are no exception with their experience as advocates for children in foster care. Procknow says, “I don’t ever recall a time in my life that I didn’t want to adopt—it was always in my heart.” Soon into the process the Procknows discovered many options. “One of the greatest aspects of fostering we found appealing was the idea of assisting with reunification efforts, while also being an option for permanency.” Procknow’s own struggle and experience of living in a group home in Illinois as a child gave her young eyes a compassion and seasoned vision for viewing life. There, she saw many foster children and said the experience, “opened my eyes and my heart to those who were hurting.” With many children entering their family over the 8.5 years of fostering, Procknow considers all their foster children to be a permanent part of their family. “Most of the children we have fostered have maintained their relationships with our family. And, many of the families of children we have fostered—as well as the children we’ve adopted—remain in close contact with us.” While there is no obligation to continue a relationship after a period of fostering, Procknow cites the opportunity to be a part of children’s lives as the “greatest experience of my life.”
Procknow is eager to share her experiences with fostering and encourages those who have thought about it to explore fostering on a more organic level. “The first thing a family should do is have a conversation with a family who is fostering. We invite families into our home for a family dinner. Foster care is intimidating to many people, but it’s far less scary when you meet children and families who have come through it.” Whichever route one takes, there is truly something for everyone, and Procknow adds, “Wherever your gift or passion is, it is likely that it could be put to use for children or families in foster care.”
Juggling family, work and community service is challenging for some, but for the Procknows the juggle comes naturally—so much so that she is in for a new twist when she takes part in the Dancing for the Stars fundraising event sponsored by the Boys and Girls Club of Central Arizona. The event is based on the reality television show which partners celebrities with professional dance instructors. Procknow will be paired with Anesthesiologist Dr. Dan Beck, and says Dancing for the Stars adds another dimension to how she faces life experiences. “I have never done anything like this in my life! It’s both flattering, and a bit daunting! I practice with my kids, and I love dancing with them. When my kids help me lead some of my classes, my heart just overflows with joy! For this event, it is so much fun to be a part of something that has such a significant impact on the children who are served by it.”
Through it all from business to community to managing a blended and extended family, the Procknows have realized that their children are their greatest gifts—both to themselves and to the community. Procknow adds, “My life is complicated and gratifying! The greatest thing I know to do for my community is raise children who grasp the need for extravagant love and compassion. It’s in my children and their beautiful hearts where I see my greatest contribution to this community.” Procknow’s parental pride is evident when she says, “We have traveled many places and my children profess their appreciation for Prescott. I see them investing in this community and I imagine we may see them continuing to take bigger steps as they become adults.” As the family continues to impact and improve the lives of those around them, she states, “My most heartfelt thoughts and initiatives are related to the welfare of the people of our community. I have—and intend to always— support programs that seek to sustain and uplift struggling or at–risk members of our community including foster children, struggling families, the homeless population and those who face addiction. Prescott does an incredible job of supporting those who struggle. We are a strong and generous community and we must continue and expand our efforts in the realm of service.”