PHOTO COURTESY OF MARY JODRY
Instead of opening dozens of presents from family or celebrating with friends, freshman Mary Jodry of Neptune City has spent her last three birthdays using her musical talent to raise money for One Life to Love, a charity devoted to helping disabled and orphaned children in New Delhi, India.
While her birthday benefits usually consist of a live performance, Jodry had to adjust the format of her donation drive this past May. She performed virtually through Instagram and Facebook’s Live feature, holding two concerts on each platform.
“I put on the same show that I would have if I had been doing it in person,” she said. “I spend two to five hours singing songs ranging from modern pop to classic musical theatre.”
Jodry began playing the piano at age four and is now signed with Carson-Adler Agency. Since 2016, she has dedicated her time, efforts and musicality to One Life to Love by writing and performing songs for the charity. She became a junior board member for the organization last year and runs its junior ambassador program, which “offers opportunities for high school students to volunteer and gain leadership hours through helping One Life to Love in their mission.”
One of her responsibilities as a board member is to stay connected to the children in the New Delhi orphanage, which she has visited twice thus far. “They have all become a part of my family and I have become a part of theirs,” Jodry said. “They all call me ‘Didi’ which in Hindi translates to ‘big sister’.”
Service has always been an integral part of her and her family’s values. She believes that understanding the struggles others suffer through can deepen one’s sense of compassion and open one’s mind. The involvement she has with One Life to Love is one that she hopes can continue to grow throughout the years.
“I feel as if I am and forever will be a part of One Life to Love,” Jodry said. “I love the children, and everyone that is there, and I feel I will be committed to them for a very long time.”