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Why Volunteers are Important

In honor of Volunteer Appreciation Week, our Engagement Specialist, Frida De Santiago, wrote a blog post about the importance of our volunteers and how grateful we are for their generosity.

Volunteers are essential to non-profit organizations.  At New Moms, our volunteers are a part of the New Moms team—each one has a special role in our community, supporting our staff by completing a variety of tasks and helping when it’s needed most. Our front desk volunteers are the first point of contact for all New Moms visitors, providing hospitality and care. Our job training volunteers provide our participants with support as they job search, build their résumés, and complete various online applications. We rely on our childcare volunteers to assist childcare staff by providing child enrichment activities during parent support groups and other workshops. At Bright Endeavors, volunteers will help staff with various tasks, like pouring wax and making sure candle orders are ready to be shipped. During Volunteer Appreciation Week, we will be highlighting the reasons why some of our volunteers choose to volunteer at New Moms by using the hashtag #iVolunteer. Let me start.

Frida De Santiago, New Moms’ Engagement Specialist and Amate House Fellow

I volunteer at New Moms because I want to give back to the community of young mothers who helped shape me into the person I am today. I am currently the Engagement Specialist at New Moms, but I am also a volunteer. Last summer, I signed up to do a year of service with a fellowship program called Amate House. Amate House is a leadership program through the Archdiocese of Chicago that focuses on leadership transformation through the act of service. I thought I was absurd for signing up to work a full year with no pay, but there was just something about Amate’s mission that called to me. I am now nine months into my year of service, and I don’t regret it one bit. As part of my fellowship, I was given the opportunity to pick a non-profit in the city of Chicago that I felt I could serve the best. The moment I heard about New Moms, I knew where I had to go. As the Engagement Specialist, I am the go-to person for volunteers. Part of my job is to make sure that New Moms has the volunteers they need to make their programming possible. The other part of my job is helping with in-kind donations. This means having to build strong relationships with the community in order to receive donations. My job requires a lot of community outreach to local churches, schools, corporate groups, and other organizations to get help with donations, such as canned goods, diapers, and formula. Each day, New Moms staff comes in ready to support young mothers as they try to find a safe place to live, get a job, and become strong leaders for their family – because if they don’t, the cycle of poverty will continue. Growing up, I saw that same cycle of poverty affect my family. I remember watching my mother juggle several jobs just to put food on our table. Often times she would go without eating just to make sure that her children were full. However, through all the ups and downs, I always saw my mother’s strength persevere. It is that same exact strength that I see in the mothers we help at New Moms. Volunteering can be meaningful contributions in many different forms. You can volunteer once a week or commit to a year of service, but no matter what, your actions are making a difference. Volunteers help organizations, like New Moms, offer a wide range of life-giving support and services to many young families. This week, in honor of the volunteers who give so much to us, we will take some time to show our gratitude to them.