There was a time in my life that if you had told me that I would spend more than a decade of my life volunteering, I would have asked you what you were smoking. But, that’s exactly how I have spent a good portion of the last 10 years.
I started on town committees and when the kids started school, I began volunteering in the classroom; I joined the Parent’s Council. I also joined the Parent-Teacher Organization, eventually serving as vice-president. I was a volunteering machine. Nothing though prepared me for my ultimate volunteering experience.
A few years ago a friend asked me to join the board of the Jordan Hospital Club (JHC). The JHC is an all-volunteer board comprised of community members, mainly women, which supports the hospital and patients through fundraising. This is not your average group of women running bake sales and organizing car washes to fund school trips. Before I get blasted, I say that with no disrespect. I fundraised for school trips for years and was quite happy to do so.
But the JHC is different; it’s the major leagues.
The impact that it has on this community and on individual people’s lives is enormous. Not going to lie, I had done my homework and knew that these ladies are serious about what they do and their reputations and I was a little intimidated at my first meeting. Those who know me well will tell you that doesn’t happen very often at all.
The JHC is a well-kept secret but it really deserves a chance to shine. Even if you don’t recognize the name, many will recognize their efforts; the most notable is the Polar Plunge held every year in March. All monies raised from the Polar Plunge go to support the Jordan Hospital Club Cancer Center at Jordan Hospital. They also provide scholarships to the nursing staff so nurses can continue on in their education thus bringing better care and service to patients. That’s just two of the ways they make our community a better place. In the last few years, the JHC has raised more than a million dollars. In this economy that’s pretty much a miracle!
A funny thing happened over the last ten years, volunteering has actually made me a (slightly) better person. If I see something that needs to be done, my reaction now is, “How can I make this better?” My next question is usually “And who can I get to help?” Volunteering has taught me about what it means to be part of a community. Community is one of those words that get tossed around a lot but means different things to different people. To me, it means coming together to make a place we all love better, stronger and more vibrant.
Because of work and family commitments, I’m no longer a member of the board but I’m honored and humbled that I am forever associated with it and all the amazing women past, present and future.
To learn more about the JHC, please check out their website at: http://www.jhclub.org/
Barbara Mulvey-Welsh is a mother, writer and blogger raising kids and a husband in Plymouth. Check out her blog "Did I Say that Outloud" at barbaramulveywelsh.blogspot.com. Use caution when reading around the family, there is some strong language.