Giving back isn’t always financial, it can be done by offering up some of your time. As a teenager, I began my relationship with volunteering by helping my mother. She’d bring me to events, golf outings, and gala’s and I’d be a part of the set-up crew or sell raffle tickets to guests. The pride I felt, knowing that I was able to make a difference to that charity or cause was immeasurable. I was making a difference no matter how small the gesture. As I got older, I wanted to be a part of something bigger and have my own cause to support.
Several years ago, my best friend Amber, asked me to join her on a volunteer tour at Gilda’s Club. I knew about Gilda Radner and the spirit of the clubhouse, but I had no idea what to expect when I walked through those red doors. I was absolutely blown away by the clubhouse–the building itself as well as the kindhearted staff. During my tour I learned about the weekly family dinners, support groups, even the hair and makeup tutorials offered to members. I immediately felt drawn to Gilda’s Club knowing my volunteer efforts would be unique and impactful.
I hear often from my peers, “I don’t have time right now” or “life is too crazy” as it pertains to volunteering. I too was hesitant, not wanting to commit to a set weekly time schedule. I learned that volunteering at Gilda’s is extremely flexible and no task is quite the same. I’ve scooped ice cream at the Kohl Center, sold raffle tickets at a comedy event, prepared a dinner during a family night, and jumped off a building 😊 all in support of Gilda’s Club. The ability to pick and choose the activities I want to engage with was so attractive to me as a volunteer.
With the help of colleagues, I’ve even created third-party fundraising events to support Gilda’s Club. The past few years we’ve hosted a meat raffle in Milton, each year raising more and more money to support our member’s. Last year, my team’s meat raffle raised over $4,000. The friends, family, and community members that continue to generously donate to this event, annually, never ceases to amaze me.
Five years ago, I was approached to join an up and coming board for young professionals—Club Red. I think this associate board is important to show my peers, what it looks like to be involved and passionate for a cause. I feel a sense of responsibility to show the next generation of volunteer’s and Gilda’s Club supporters what it looks like to give back. It’s truly been a very rewarding experience and I’m thankful to have Gilda’s Club in my life.
Amber chose Gilda’s Club for our volunteer efforts, but Gilda’s Club chose us as volunteers and supporters. As long-time friends we both have had experiences with cancer—friend’s, family members, and co-workers. Unfortunately, it’s more common to share an experience with cancer than we’d like. It makes sense to give back to those in our community that need the support today, so that it’s there for us if we need it in the future.