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Nov 7, 201608:19 AMCity Beat

Volunteer of the Month

Nov 7, 2016 - 08:19 AM
Volunteer of the Month

Photography by Cassie Miller

Joan Bradbury

1. Tell me about your volunteering.


I volunteer with the American Cancer Society as Chair of the Harrisburg Metro Area Volunteer Leadership Council (VLC). The VLC is responsible for assisting ACS is broadening its volunteer, sponsorship, and community networks to increase support and participation in all of our market area’s events and programs.


2. Why do you volunteer? What do you get out of it?


Volunteering is one of my favorite pastimes. I enjoy volunteering for organizations, like ACS, whose missions align with my passions and expertise. Volunteering provides balance to my life and brings a sense of accomplishment with which no job can compete.


3. Describe the feeling you get from volunteering.


Sometimes I wish that being a professional volunteer could be a fulltime job. When I am interacting with people in my local community, supporting them, helping them, or otherwise serving others, I feel my most successful. There’s a selfish joy that comes from serving complete strangers and encouraging others in their own volunteer work.


4. Of all the charitable organizations out there, what is it about the American Cancer Society that compels you to volunteer?


Having experienced the impact of various types of cancer in my family and friends’ lives, I felt compelled to volunteer for ACS and join the fight against cancer. It is my hope that no individual, family member, caregiver, or friend touched by cancer, ever feels alone. For better or worse, this is a community of survivors, caregivers, loved ones, and individuals impacted by this deadly disease – it is the ACS community as a whole, staff included, that keep me volunteering with ACS.


5. What would you say to others to encourage them to volunteer at the American Cancer Society, as well as any other charity in the area?


I would encourage them to take the first step in reaching out to one of their local ACS chapters to speak to a volunteer coordinator. It was one of our local volunteer coordinators that took the time to hear my cancer stories, learn about my skills and expertise, and think through the volunteer options available in my local community that might be the best fit for my schedule and volunteer needs.


6. If you had the power to instantly change one thing in the world, what would it be and why?


I’d eliminate homelessness. Having a safe, affordable place to live is the key to combating poverty and creating opportunities for better health and safer communities, while opening doors to education, job training, and sustainable employment.


7. Where and with whom do you find inspiration?


I find it important to surround myself with positive people whose presence in my life inspires me to be better, do better, and give more, no matter where I am. Most of my inspiration comes from within, but it is with my friends, family, and fellow volunteers that I find respite and the strength to continue working hard to make a difference in the world.


8. Alive or dead, name one person you’d like to have lunch with and why?


My namesake – I’d like to find out why I’m so stubborn.


9. Tell us about your fellow volunteers at the American Cancer Society (ACS)?


My fellow volunteers at ACS are incredibly kind and compassionate people, who do not let the struggles they have been through or the pain they have felt define who they are – they put it all into giving back to their communities. “There’s nothing stronger than the heart of a volunteer.” – James Doolittle


10. What is the single most important moment of charity you have ever been a part of or witnessed?


When I was in college I volunteered at the local women’s shelter. On Saturday afternoons, the children living there and I would pick our favorite Disney movie to watch together and then talk about the important lessons we learned from it while making a craft. On one of those occasions, a little 8-year old girl drew a heart, wrote ‘love’ inside of it, cut it out, and gave it to me to keep. She told me that she felt love and wanted me to feel it too. Knowing everything that she had already experienced, witnessed, and survived in her young life, I was amazed by her resilient ability to give.

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