Darlene Miller, along with her husband, Cliff, Darlene Miller owns MJ Christensen Diamonds and is proud to continue its 78 years of honesty, integrity, craftsmanship, customer service and relationship building. She has a genuine love for Las Vegas, her home since 2000, and has given extensively of her time and talents as well as donated financially. Darlene is proud to have made volunteering a family affair involving her husband and children in service to Southern Nevada.
The first charity Darlene became involved with was Opportunity Village. After being introduced to its clients, families and team members, “we fell in love with the organization,” she said. “I originally got involved because at the time the women were called the It Girls because we get it—the mental, intellectual and physical disabilities that can happen to anyone, whether a person is born that way, or something happens due to an accident or illness.”
Darlene’s children were in middle school at the time and they participated in many events for Opportunity Village. “I was able to introduce my children to people with disabilities so they would learn to feel comfortable and understand them. This was a wonderful experience for both the clients and the volunteers.”
As a result of this early experience, Darlene’s daughter demonstrated kindness and caring toward someone who was different. While attending junior high, her daughter attended a close friend’s house for a party. Darlene’s daughter discovered that her friend’s sister was developmentally challenged. The other kids didn’t know how to act around this person so they didn’t make eye contact or talk to her. Darlene’s daughter, because of her volunteer time at Opportunity Village, introduced herself to the friend’s sister and talked to her. The sister shined and Darlene is thrilled that this is just one lesson passed on through her community service.
While continuing to volunteer at Opportunity Village, Darlene and her husband have reached out to other organizations devoted to helping physically and mentally challenged children. She is on the advisory council for Best Buddies, working to establish one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. She also is on the advisory council for Assistance League after working with them in the past. Darlene participates in the Women’s Leadership Council of the United Way of Southern Nevada. Recently, she also started to volunteer for the St. Jude’s Children Research Hospital and is working on the spring fashion show.
Her motivation to help the children of Southern Nevada comes from a big scare with her daughter when Darlene and Cliff first moved to Las Vegas. A lump was found under her daughter’s arm and the original diagnosis was cancer. It was determined later that it was not cancerous, but Darlene and Cliff understood what parents experience with any devastating news about their children. They both wanted to pay it forward and help others who might not have the same good news. Darlene admits she wishes she had more time to help more, which is her generous and loving nature.
“I am amazed at what a giving community is in Las Vegas. I know this because I have served on many committees and met many amazing people as well as the people who attend the events and the clients that are served. Cliff and I love Las Vegas, we never want to leave and this city has been very good to us. We always want to give back to our community in any way we can.” This is the heart and soul of Darlene Miller.