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April 10-16 is National Volunteer Appreciation Week. My job at Theta headquarters is focused primarily on volunteer recruitment, retention and recognition, so this week has a special place in my heart.
Something new we've created for this year's celebration is a Volunteer Impact Report, which shares high-level statistics and fun facts about the Theta volunteer experience. I hope you'll take a moment to check it out.
The numbers are certainly impressive, but something they can't possibly illustrate are the amazing, sometimes jaw-dropping, stories and anecdotes I hear from our staff members about volunteers on a daily basis.
Like one volunteer who took her vacation time from work and travelled halfway across the country to help chapters prepare for recruitment. There's a volunteer who lives in Hong Kong but would still make every conference call, even when the times were likely completely inconvenient for her. And one committee member who would be on conference calls in the car pool line at her child's school.
I've heard about advisors approving forms from the hospital when they've fallen ill, and one who has purchased more than 20 Life Loyal gifts for other members. I communicate daily with district directors who I could swear spend more time responding to Theta email in a day than I do.
These examples might seem extreme, but one thing I've encountered with nearly every volunteer with whom I work is a complete selflessness and dedication to the wider good of the Fraternity.
We have more than 2,700 volunteers serving Theta at this very moment. It's no secret that without volunteers, the Fraternity simply could not exist. To these women, and to those volunteers past and future, I want to say thank you on behalf of EVERY Theta. Your dedication and love brings tears to my eyes and warmth to my heart more times than you can possibly imagine.
"So there is no happiness without responsibility, no receiving without also giving...It is ours through these channels of intimacy to lead others to truer life by your example."
My husband, Jose Carlos, and I met during a summer course at Fairfield University. My family lives in Fairfield, Conn., and I was taking summer courses in order to earn additional credits before studying abroad in London. After dating long distance for about three years, I moved down to El Salvador, leaving my job and family in the United States.
Geographically, El Salvador is about the same size as the state of Massachusetts, but with just over 6 million people. I had to learn Spanish, adapt to a new culture, and find a new job.
In the spring of 2014, I saw an announcement in The Kappa Alpha Theta Magazine that my chapter was looking for a PAS. I wanted to take on the role so that I could have a tangible connection to Theta. There aren't any alumnae chapters in Central America, so it was difficult to maintain that closeness to Theta after moving abroad.
Being PAS allows me to be close to my sisters, although geographically, I am far removed. With social media and the PAS resources on the Theta website, it's very easy to do my volunteer role. I can perform my duties on my time schedule, and there's also a lot of creative leeway to connect with and involve my Epsilon Pi sisters.
There are so many opportunities to stay involved with Theta as an alumna. I encourage you to update your contact information and use resources like the Kappa Alpha Theta Magazine, the Theta website (www.kappaalphatheta.org), and your chapter's social media to find ways to stay involved.
Keep your eyes open! Just as I thought I wasn't going to be able to be an involved alumna, I found the role as PAS for my college chapter, and I absolutely love it!