When Margie Elkins of Niantic, CT, remembered the birthday of a dear friend she had watched pass away from pancreatic cancer, she felt a need to do something to give back to others facing the disease. She reached out to a friend who put her in contact with our Volunteer Care Team.
"I'm typically not a joiner, but I had attended a survivor luncheon right after my diagnosis and surgery," explained Margie, a two-year survivor of breast cancer. "During my recovery, I had an overwhelming feeling of isolation and loneliness. I didn't want others to feel the same."
Once Margie was connected to the Volunteer Learning Center, she was off and running taking the necessary training sessions to be an active volunteer. "I trained as a Reach To Recovery visitor and as a Road To Recovery driver," she said. "I haven't driven yet for the Road program, but I have spoken about the need for new drivers to groups I meet with, and successfully recruited two new drivers in our area."
In addition to program-specific training, Margie has taken advantage of training on the Volunteer Learning Center to enhance her leadership skills, volunteer-staff partnership, and public speaking abilities. "I hope to be an example that something positive can come from something negative," she says. "I want to be a voice for those that can't find theirs."
"I encourage all potential volunteers to visit the Volunteer Learning Center and take a look at the training sessions that spark their interest," said Margie. "The session on Creating a Mission Statement was my favorite so far. The passion from the volunteer facilitators was moving."
Margie also got involved in her local Making Strides Against Cancer and met her staff partner Cate Reid, community development manager. She is currently working on a fundraiser that marries her interest in blues music with her passion for Making Strides Against Breast Cancer. The event is called ACS Blues meets Pink and will be held at Stonington Vineyards to raise money for her local Strides event.
The American Cancer Society's Volunteer Learning Center provides a wide variety of online training opportunities for volunteers. To view current curriculum, visit the Volunteer Learning Center at https://volunteerlearning.cancer.org.