Those who can, do.  Those who can do more, volunteer. 
~Author Unknown

 

This post is all about thanking volunteers.  Not all volunteers, just mine.  Well!  It’s my blog!  What do you expect?

For the past few weeks it feels especially, I have relied very, very heavily on volunteers.  JDRF is founded and fueled by the passion, skills and efforts of volunteers.  There is no doubt.  Sometimes, when volunteers recommend our Chapter do something – a new project or event, per say – they expect their recommendation to be the extent of their volunteerism.  Not mine!  Every endorsement of a new event or program comes with a leading hand in the execution of it.  I am truly blessed in this respect. 

Our Chapter has taken on a lot of new events and programs as part of our Outreach Program.  It’s been a torrent of dates and tasks.  But along with those dates and tasks came very skilled and very motivated volunteers.  Our Board Outreach Committee is called the Outreach Advisory Council, and every member is part of a subcommittee.  And sometimes a subcommittee within that subcommittee!  Everyone is focused and working on something.  And they all have full-time jobs, families and other commitments.  I appreciate them as if they are my family, because I feel they are.  I think anyone working with an active volunteer base can empathize, and those that have tried working with inactive volunteers can really empathize.  I think my colleagues can attest to the power of volunteers.  Just in my office, all my colleagues have committees and subcommittees. Even that fifteen minutes a volunteer took out of their day to answer a question or make a call can mean a green or red light for our entire program.  It’s actually true – every little bit helps.

But it seems my steadfast volunteers have given a lot, not just a little bit.  For instance, I have the pleasure of working with caring and compassionate endocrinologists, certified diabetes educators and nurses.  Their care and concern for their patients well-being goes way beyond billable hours.  They care for the whole patient, and want to ensure that they are supported in their journey, at all stages.  I love my medical volunteer leaders, because they, too, love to learn new things!  I also get to work with those living with diabetes whose time is constrained not only by career and family, but by managing chronic illness 24/7.    I have so many friends in so many places all willing to partner and create a sense of community working within the diabetes field.  Not to mention, I  have three committees across two states committed to advocating for diabetes research and technology advances!  They are taking trainings, sending letter and calling their representatives to Congress right now so we can meet and emphasize why our constituents need their government’s continued support in this fight!

I’m constantly and consistently busy, and receive hundreds of new emails every week.  This is my job, so not only can I dedicate my free time, but I get to dedicate my 8 hours in the office to this.  I can’t imagine having a full plate of work, and then getting this:

Romero, Lawren                    Please Review!  
Romero, Lawren                    Re:  Please Review!  Forms – Revised
Romero, Lawren                    Did you see this?  Interesting article!
Romero, Lawren                    Meeting Request 

At least one day a week, I’ve noted that volunteers on more than one committee get three emails in one day from me.  I recently attended a dinner and one volunteer said, “I got three emails from you, today!  It’s okay, I don’t mind.”  In the last few weeks I have prefaced my emails with “You will be receiving three emails from me today.  I’m sorry, you’re my favorite” or I call and say, “Okay, you just got like five emails from me, I wanted to call you before you started opening them to explain.”

I try my best not to abuse my volunteers with tasks and the corresponding correspondence that ensues, and I try to harbor the relationship that if a volunteer lacks the time to contribute, they just let me know.  When we have our larger Council meetings, I attempt to recap about four months of activity, but when you combine everything we do into an hour, I feel like my eyes widen to saucers, and I say, “Big…lots things…so many…times…places…go to…lots.” 

There is no way I could do a fraction of our calendar without volunteers!  When a volunteer takes 15 minutes to make a call or complete a task, it can give me a full days worth of work.  It’s literally opening  a gate for staff productivity, and the more they do, the more we can do.  And that means the more we all get done towards our mission – eradicating this disease so you don’t get multiple emails from me every day.   At least not concerning diabetes.

 

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