Friday, October 19, 2012

SUYL: Favorite Charities

Today on Kelly's Show Us Your Life she is featuring favorite charities.  Something near and dear to my heart.

I put in a LOT of my free time working with two non-profit groups.  I choose to work with both for a few reasons.  Because they are very near and dear to my heart.  Both were childhood dreams.  Both instill the importance of community service.  And while both are asking for and donating out finances, both are just as grateful for your donation of time.  In a tight economy, sometimes that is the best we can do.  Give of our time. 


The first is my sorority.  I volunteer as an alum.  And it is a very hard job.  Nothing fluffy or easy about it.  And in nearly seven years, exactly four women have thanked me for helping them.  Four.  It is thank-less for sure. 

But I also love giving back to an organization that means so much to me.  I am (present tense- not past tense) proud to be (present tense- not past tense) an Alpha Gamma Delta.  It is not something I did in college.  Being a member of a Greek women's fraternity (sorority is Latin...not Greek...and while widely are actually a member of a women's fraternity and not a sorority) is a life-long commitment. 

Many forget about that commitment when the graduation cap comes off.  And that's OK.  But think back to your collegiate days and how important it was to have that advisor support to run your chapter.  Chapters cannot exist without that support. 

Even if my kids never say thank you, I know my role is important.  And it is important to me to give back and work hard.  I believe so strongly in the Greek system.  I believe in the experience that it gives collegiate women.  I believe in the leadership skills and the community service hours and the campus participation roles and the scholarship programs. 

And so I give back.

And my other favorite non-profit is the Junior League of Albany (but really, all Junior Leagues are amazing). 

My Albany League is tiny compared to my first League in Washington, DC.  But I've grown to absolutely LOVE it here!

Our signature project is Dolly Parton's Imagination Library.  (If you are looking into this project, email me, I have some very strong thoughts on it that you should be aware of.)  We provide one new, age appropriate book to children between birth and five years in our community.  We get books into the hands of children who might not ordinarily see a book until their first day of kindergarten.  Thousands of children will have a library of books at home, completely free to them, because my small League raised the funds entirely on our own.  No major financial backers.  Just a small group of women working hard for a great cause!

Past Junior League of Albany signature projects have been Race For the Cure, Ronald McDonald House, Hope Club (formerly Gilda's Club) and Equinox.  Those are all here in Albany because of my little League.  Impressive! 

The Junior League trains volunteers to go out into our communities and make an impact.  But the Junior League is also an amazing way to meet friends from a variety of backgrounds and stages in life.  Honestly, most of my local friends are from the League.  They are just the most special group of women who challenge me and teach me and inspire me daily.  Plus, they're sweet and fun. 

I call the Junior League my big girl sorority.  It is the sisterhood and togetherness mixed with community service.  We volunteer in soup kitchens and shelters and at hospitals and so many other amazing places in our community.  It's fun and fulfilling at the same time.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.

~ Margaret Mead

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