Volunteer work has been part of my life as long as I can remember, it seems to be a given when a person looks at my upbringing . My mother is the CEO of the Sexual Assault Resource and Counseling Center of Lebanon and Schuylkill counties, and I have helped run numerous fundraising activities for her agency. Despite these experiences and the fact that I do truly enjoy volunteering, this is not the main reason why I have become so involved in volunteer activities.
The chief reason is that when I was five years old, my little sister was born, and for the first six months of her life everything seemed to be normal. At this point my mother noticed that the skills she had developed began to deteriorate and she was rapidly falling behind her peers. After three years of searching and seeing numerous doctors, my little sister was diagnosed with Rett Syndrome. After her diagnosis, my family began to advocate for the rights of not just my sister but of all girls with Rett Syndrome. My earliest memory of advocating for Rett Syndrome was when I spoke to my fourth grade class about my sister and what challenges she faces. Since then I have helped to plan and participate in numerous events to raise funds as well as awareness for Rett Syndrome
The largest event of this kind was a Halloween party that my family organized and held for consecutive five years, which we called the MonsterBash. The idea was born when my family realized that we did not have any gatherings after the summer ended and before winter made it hard to travel. From this idea, we assembled a committee of ten family members and with the seed money donated by my grandfathers we began to plan a family friendly Halloween party.
Throughout this experience I helped to plan the event itself, obtain sponsorships and prizes, and organize the silent auction items with the help of my family members. I was individually given the task of being in charge of running the registration table and of organizing student volunteers. I had to create a system to keep record of the tickets that had been presold and the number of individuals that still needed to pay. I recruited volunteers through the club that I was part of in high school, Volunteen, and assigned each volunteer to different areas of event operations, such as foods, games, and registration. I was also placed in charge of making sure that all volunteers was properly signed in when they arrived and signed out when they exited. The night of the event I was also somewhat of a gofer, since I was the youngest committee member, for anything anyone else needed. Over the five years that the MonsterBash was held, we managed to raise about $4,000 annually for Rett Syndrome.
Another key skill that I contributed to the MonsterBash, was utilizing my computer skills. I personally designed the flyers, tickets, and signs for the event by using Microsoft Word. Below I have a copy of the poster that I designed for the 2005 MonsterBash.