There are a lot of reasons to volunteer, but for me, it was to be involved with my daughters and our community. I wanted to be a part of what my daughters were doing.
So when no one stepped up to be their Girl Scout leader I said, “Sure, I can do it.” Six years later for one troop and seven years later for the other, I have finally retired my Girl Scout sash for other activities.
Spending those years as a Girl Scout leader was a wonderful opportunity to give back to their school and friends. I broadened their horizons to new things and activities they may not have been introduced to had I not been there. Being involved helped me meet new friends and parents, and show the kids new adventures.
Another organization that I have worked with very closely for more than 11 years is the National Federation of the Blind. I’m the president of the Iowa chapter of the National Organization of Parent’s of Blind Children. Our oldest daughter, Lauren, was born blind and when we learned this, we started working closely with the Iowa Department for the Blind.
We started a group called Saturday School. It’s where our blind children work with blind adult role models. Who better to teach our blind children than competent blind adults who have lived and breathed blindness their whole lives?
Being there with Lauren on Saturday mornings showed her I supported and believed in her. I’ve met some of the nicest people through this group and hopefully we have opened Lauren’s “eyes” to all of the possibilities ahead of her.
Another group I have been involved with since it started 9 years ago is Brant’s Great Pumpkin Festival. When Lauren was in 1st grade, one of her classmates, Brant, died of cancer. This organization was created to honor Brant and give back to the organizations that supported and gave so much to Brant and his family: Make-A-Wish and the Cancer Connection. The money we raise every year from the 5k/10k walk/race, carnival, silent auction and lunch has allowed nine families to take a Make-A-Wish trip, supported kids at the Cancer Connection camp and supported numerous activities and families in and around Earlham.
Volunteering does take a lot of time and effort but the rewards have always been worth it all to me. Being able to give back and be involved is a great way to set an example of leadership for our daughters, one I hope they continue as they grow and set out into this world on their own.