By Ester Allen
Volunteering has been an important part of my life for as long as I can remember. While I was growing up, my civic minded parents did a great job shuttling me to different volunteer gigs at park clean ups, fundraising walks and after school tutoring. Their work paid off. The experience of volunteering left a lasting impact and I’ve continued to develop what I think will become a lifelong appreciation for community service personally and professionally.
Before I became the Volunteer Coordinator for the Washington State Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, I attended the 2015 Seattle Walk to End Alzheimer’s as a volunteer. I was blown away by the experience of seeing the local community affected by Alzheimer’s come together to celebrate the lives of those they’ve lost and build on hope for a cure. Volunteers choose to invest their time in things that matter most deeply to them. The Association’s volunteers know that by investing their time, skills and strengths, they help us work towards our shared vision of a world without Alzheimer’s disease.
Now, as the Volunteer Coordinator, I see how important volunteers are to every Walk to End Alzheimer’s. With 16 Walks across Washington State and Northern Idaho, volunteers are the link to local communities that help make each Walk happen. They grow our team of just five Event staff and myself to hundreds each year.
Event preparation doesn’t happen overnight and our Walk Committee Volunteers play an active role in the planning, recruit teams and participants, spreading awareness and actual execution of the Walks in their local communities. We have a great team of volunteers leading this work but are always looking for new committee members across Washington and Northern Idaho to grow our local work even more.
Day of volunteering is a great option if you want to lend a hand but only have a few hours to spare. In addition to setup and breakdown, day of volunteers do everything from greeting walkers, distributing flowers at the flower garden, running the food and beverage station to helping with registration. Volunteering is a great way to take part and contribute to the Walk if you don’t have a team.
The Walk to End Alzheimer’s brings together a community of people whose family, friends and loved ones have been touched by Alzheimer’s and dementia. Volunteering with the Walk as a Committee Member or Day Of Volunteer is special because it allows you to connect with and serve that community in big and small ways that change the lives of people in your community. The many hands that come together, rain or shine, bright and early on Walk mornings facilitate the powerful experience of the Walk for everyone who attends. I’m excited to be diving head first into connecting with volunteers from across our service area as we kickoff the Walk season.
Interested in learning more or becoming a volunteer? Visit our website or contact Ester at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ester Allen joined the Alzheimer’s Association Washington State Chapter in August, 2015 bringing with her years of experience as a nonprofit volunteer. After graduating from St. John’s University, Ester pursued her passion for nonprofit work as an Event and Volunteer Coordinator. She continues to grow her impact by inspiring others to lend their time and talents to community organizations.