It’s a Small World

As many of you know who frequent this blog, last week I was in Washington, DC to participate in the Child Welfare League of America’s annual conference. During the conference, I attended a reception held to honor the legislative contributions that both Senators Mary Landrieu and Charles Grassley have made to child welfare. At the reception I ran into the CWLA Director of Congressional Affairs, Sean Hughes. While we were talking, he noticed my name tag and he said, “You’re from Hillsides!” As proud as I am of Hillsides, I was surprised that someone in Washington recognized the organization.

It turns out that Sean is from California and is dating a young woman who volunteered at Hillsides when she was in high school. He went on to tell me how not only his girl friend, but indeed her family fondly recall their volunteer experience here and how they passionately talked about the needs of the children we serve. It is truly a small world!
I was reminded by this encounter how significant the efforts of our volunteer community can be to advocate for the children and families we serve. Aside for the contribution that volunteers make to provide special opportunities for our kids, they also have an impact as they share their experience with their family and friends. We are so fortunate to have a large and extraordinarily committed group of volunteers who make our efforts so much easier.
At the top of the list of volunteers for me is our Board of Directors. Board members take on the responsibility of assuring the organization is well managed and funded to fulfill our mission. They offer their time, talent and resources to advance our efforts on behalf of who we serve. They use their influence to open doors and advocate within their sphere of family and friends and allow us to share the compelling story of the children we serve. Their support is indispensable. 
One example of these efforts is our Board Member Sam Garrison who facilitated a meeting for me with the staff of two local Representatives, Drier and Roybal-Allard, while I was in Washington last week. These contacts are essential in both Sacramento and Washington so that as our legislators take on the serious challenges of governing that they never lose sight of the impact that their actions have on some of the most vulnerable of their constituents. Whether it is introductions to elected officials or volunteering to face paint at the St. Patty’s Day party as Lyn Spector, another Board member did recently, it is all so very important. Each in its own way makes a difference!
In this small world, never underestimate what you can do!

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