There are so many reasons why this is my favorite time of year; one of them is because it’s in this season of giving when we learn what is most important to people. We are all passionate about something. Whether because you, a friend or a family member were impacted by that something personally or because that something simply lives close to your heart, we all have causes that are important to us.
Everyone who knows me knows I am a huge animal lover. I include all animals in that statement…except maybe snakes, though they are fine so long as they are a significant distance away. In the past, I’ve walked dogs to help socialize them at a local shelter. One of my favorite shelters to donate to is the Cat Corner. I attempted volunteering as an animal foster parent, but we all know how that worked out. Everyone has by now seen my “foster kitty” in our Zoom meetings. I think after two years, I can no longer call her that.
I have also served as a volunteer CASA, a court-appointed special advocate for abused and neglected children. This is still a huge passion of mine. CASA volunteers are appointed by judges to advocate for children’s best interests. This advocacy makes a life-changing difference for children and youth who have experienced abuse or neglect, many of whom are in foster care. This is still some of the hardest and most rewarding volunteer work I have ever done.
This year I’m excited to give to the MDS Foundation. As many of you know, my twin sister passed away this year after being diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), a relatively rare type of cancer. The MDS Foundation advocates for patients and their families as well as health care providers in the fields of MDS and its related diseases.
Volunteering is important to me. It’s an opportunity to give back to my community, and ultimately it feels good to do something for someone else. I started as a volunteer with AME a little over ten years ago, and those experiences and the relationships that came from them are so precious to me.
So many of us volunteer and give all year round, but the holidays serve as their own special reminder of what’s important. The cold reminds us that not everyone has a warm place to lay their head at night. The colorful store windows remind us that not every child has a present to open on Christmas morning. The turkey in our ovens reminds us that not everyone has access to a hot meal. It’s a season for both giving and receiving. A time for community, family and togetherness.
I would love to hear what you are passionate about. Where do you volunteer your time? What causes are important to you? What organizations do you support? Please share with us in the comments on LinkedIn.
I am deeply saddened to share that our AME Midwest Region Board Vice President, Tony Heath, has passed away.
Tony will be sadly missed by his AME family. He was an incredibly active AME volunteer. His regional board shared they will miss his selfless energy, intelligence, humor and thoughtful effort. A memorial for Tony will be held on Tuesday, December 20th, from 3-6 p.m. in the Arbor Room at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois. Arboretum admission is free for memorial guests. In lieu of flowers, the family is suggesting donations to Loaves and Fishes. Please keep his family in your thoughts and prayers.
Before I log off for the week, I want to take a moment to say that AME will always reach out to members and event participants from an ame.org email address. We never share or sell your personal information. If we ask for your help, feedback, or input, it will come from an official ame.org email.
As always, please stay safe and keep looking out for one another.