On the first day of class we were ask if we viewed our self as an activist. My initial reaction was no, I am not one. I saw activists as people who were responsible for making broad sweeping change, such as Susan B. Anthony, Alice Paul, Martin Luther King Jr. and many other people whose work made life better for a significant number of people. After reading our book about activism in the workplace and class discussions I realize that I have been an activist. I have not affected change to help the masses, but in a small way I have contributed in raising awareness and funds for the National Children’s Hospital Center.
Several years ago, the credit union that I worked for was a sponsor of the Credit Union 10 Mile Cherry Blossom Run in DC. It is a fundraiser for the National Children’s Hospital Center. A group of my co-workers and I volunteered to work at the 5 mile turn, drink station. We were up at the crack of dawn, it was cold and dark as we boarded the bus for DC. When we got there we had to prepare 1000’s of Gatorade and water cups for the runners. After the race we had to pick up all of those cups that had been thrown down by the runners, what a mess. We were sticky and wet, but we had a wonderful time as a team.
Several months later I left the credit union and I began working for a much larger credit union located in New York, but my job duties kept me in this area. One of the first things that I did was to begin advocating for my new company to support the credit union fundraiser for the hospital. I put together a proposal outlining the organization, and the benefits to my company to become a sponsor. It was a large commitment on their part and they agreed. I asked the board, who oversaw the Credit Union Run, if I could participate in any capacity and they offered me a volunteer position on the marketing committee that worked all year around to plan the events. I spent a great deal of my free time, writing letters and making calls to solicit sponsorship. We developed a website, marketing materials and worked in tandem with the coordinator of the race. I loved every minute of my involvement.
Each year we would go to the National Children’s Hospital Center in DC and meet some of the children and do art activities. My first experience was an eye opener. I have two sons, besides some minor injuries and a few spiked fevers in the middle of the night, thankfully I have not had much experience with having a child in the hospital. I was not aware that some families, including well siblings, spend their entire existence in a hospital when they have a sick child. Many adult family members expressed to me how significant the Children’s Hospital Centers care had been. They accept all children who need medical assistance regardless of whether their family can pay for care.
I spent several years volunteering for the marketing committee. We began by raising a few hundred thousand a year, and that grew to over a million dollars each year. It was a collective effort by many people who volunteered for the organization, but with the help of all involved, including the 12,000 runners (one was my husband) we have raised national support for the Children Hospital Center.