Jean Egan was a tireless worker, an innovator, a leader and a real champion for the children of Long Beach. Devoting a tremendous amount of personal time and expertise over the years, Jean was one of the most important and influential community members in placing education at the top of the City’s agenda. By acting at once on a political level and a grass roots organizational level, Jean has developed programs to benefit children in Long Beach’s public elementary schools and created citywide policies and mandates to support children and learning.
Jean was the inspiration and architect of BLAST. Jean saw a need in the Long Beach community for after school programs for primary grade children and set out to make it happen. Jean did all the work in the early years – grant writing, program development, incorporation of the new agency, development of a board and coordination with the school district to bring the programs to the kids. Jean did all this with no compensation and only a dream to fulfill and a need to meet.
In 1998, Jean was appointed by then Mayor Beverly O’Neill to chair the Youth and Education section of the Long Beach Strategic Plan. Jean worked with community leaders, education professionals, school district personnel and parents to develop goals and objectives that would create the City’s plan for its children and youth through 2010. Those results indicated that Long Beach lacked a consistent, citywide focus on improving the well-being of the city’s youth, which includes a large number of at-risk youth. Key goals set forth in the plan included increasing the percentage of at-risk youth meeting academic standards, increasing youth engagement in productive activities, and engaging college students as volunteers and mentors.
Jean had a passion for helping youth reach their academic and personal success. Because of her passion and dedication, THOUSANDS of students over the years have been positively impacted.
Jean leaves an incredible legacy across the Long Beach community through her work as founder of Long Beach BLAST and recently through her leadership at Long Beach CaLL. Jean will be profoundly missed by all of us at Long Beach BLAST and the greater Long Beach community.