Our donors and volunteers make the community a better place for our children and families. In our new series, Why I Give, we will put the spotlight on some of the generous individuals helping to move our communities forward.
Karen Damon | Supporter since 2006
When did you first get involved with Acenda?
In 2005, I tragically lost my brother to suicide. Needless to say, I was so overcome with grief and depression. Then one day my doctor scribbled a note on his prescription pad and handed it to me and it said: “Find a purpose, use your love to help others” I was very hesitant at first because I didn’t think I was ready to be of any help to others but I went home and researched all the volunteer opportunities available in South Jersey. I read each one very carefully until one spoke to me… Robins’ Nest, (now Acenda). Over the past 14 years, I have been involved with many of their programs including the Holiday Toy Drive, Backpack Drive, Pajama Drive, and I’ve volunteered with the children/teens in the Foster/Kinship/Adoption programs, the girls Group Homes, and at their Family Success Centers. Wherever I thought I could make an impact, I tried to get involved.
What attracted you to Acenda?
As I read the mission statement, something stood out… “whatever it takes” and I thought how powerful that was. We, as a society, should do whatever it takes to protect a child and make them feel safe and loved.
Why do you volunteer/donate?
Saint Francis of Assisi said “For it is in GIVING that we RECEIVE.” Volunteering has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life and I have met so many wonderful, compassionate people along the way.
What has moved you in your time volunteering with Acenda?
There are so many moments throughout the years that pulled at my heartstrings and many tears were shed as I heard each story. But when I think about the little ones who just light up and smile when they see you simply because you’re spending quality time with them, that’s what it’s all about.
What would you say to others who are considering getting involved?
I realized a long time ago that I really never needed to “ask” my family and friends for their time or money or donations…they just saw how passionate I was about Acenda and thankfully everyone I knew felt inspired to contribute as well. So, what would I say to others? Never doubt that each and every one of us has the ability to make a difference in this world…and you will be forever blessed by the experience.