MDA Welcomes National Volunteer Month with Gratitude
By Rebecca Hume | Friday, April 1, 2022
For over 70 years, MDA has led the way as the #1 Voluntary Health Organization in the U.S. for people living with neuromuscular diseases. We build on our legacy of innovation in research, care, and fundraising by celebrating National Volunteer Month, to thank our volunteers who work tirelessly to support MDA’s mission and the families we serve.
Volunteers have been an essential part of MDA’s success since our inception. In the past four years alone, more than 6,000 volunteers have registered to volunteer in-person or virtually, and/or logged volunteer hours with MDA. We would not be able to continue to empower those living with neuromuscular disease without the dedication and passion of our volunteers.
Volunteering significantly impacts the lives of those we serve – as well as the lives of our amazing volunteers! In addition to the many personal benefits of dedicating time to volunteerism, volunteering with MDA allows individuals to hone new skills, connect with new people, serve in leadership and/or committee roles, support events across the country, and work hand in hand with our families.
MDA has had an increasing interest in and need for virtual volunteer opportunities. We have truly revolutionized the virtual volunteer experience by providing technology, training, and an unparalleled experience to engage with MDA in some of our signature events. And as we move ahead re-introducing in person events this year, the need for volunteers to support MDA at events has never been greater. We have virtual and in person opportunities at MDA Summer Camps, Fill the Boot, Burn Bootcamp, MDA Muscle Walks, Team Momentum events, Golf Outings and Galas, and so much more. We are excited to come together in communities around the country this year to thank you! “Strength in unity. Strength in community.”
MDA Summer Camp volunteer counselors make a difference
MDA Summer Camp creates a world of possibilities for children living with neuromuscular disease. Camp gives kids a chance to discover new interests while gaining self- confidence, making lifelong friendships, and experiencing the independence and potential of being away from home. The camper experience would not be possible if not for the support and dedication of MDA Summer Camp volunteer counselors. Serving as a counselor at camp offers an opportunity to positively impact our campers, a reward impossible to quantify, while also providing a unique environment for counselors to grow personally and professionally.
Doug Bristow started volunteering at MDA Summer Camp when he was just a teenager. Having spent years serving as a counselor and cabin leader, he credits his experience at camp with broadening his perspective, increasing his empathy and love for others, and teaching him that there is joy and happiness to be found even in challenging situations.
“I get a tremendous amount of joy from watching the kids at MDA camp blossom in their friendships and with participation in games and events,” Doug shares. “I’m always grateful to be in the presence of phenomenal kids and other volunteers.”
He also shares how much his experience volunteering, both in-person and virtually, has shaped his leadership model in his professional life. Doug pays accolade to the key lessons that he learned by being a unit leader at camp – lessons that set him up for success and continue to serve him. “I learned to bring volunteers together and focus their energy on the enjoyment of others over their own.”
Find more information on volunteering for virtual or in-person MDA Summer Camp here.
Fill The Boot fills the hearts of MDA families and volunteers
Since 1954, fire fighters across the country have collected critical funds in the community – one dollar at a time – as part of the Fill the Boot program to raise money for MDA. The incredible partnership between MDA and the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) began when the IAFF signed a proclamation designating MDA as its charity of choice, vowing to continue raising awareness and funds to ensure effective treatments and therapies are found. The dollars raised through Fill the Boot fund MDA’s mission of empowering people living with neuromuscular disease to achieve their potential and have the highest quality of life.
Jennifer Mirabal has served in many roles with MDA as a volunteer, a former employee, and the mother of a child living with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). Fill the Boot is one program that she is exceptionally passionate about. She has volunteered for Fill the Boot for many years, both virtually and in person. Jennifer shares that volunteering with MDA gives her purpose and allows her to feel like she is taking action in a situation that often feels as though she has no control. As a parent of a child living with a neuromuscular disease, volunteering offers her a space to champion for her child, make a difference, and support the amazing firefighters who give their time and resources to raising money for MDA.
“Fill the Boot has become a huge part of my mission. These men and women give of their time so selflessly for people they may never meet. They are heroes without capes,” Jennifer says. “I am honored to stand alongside them and fight. They are giving me the gift of time with my son. Every donation is funding research that is changing the lives of all affected. How can I ever repay them for that gift? I will spend a lifetime trying.”
MDA Muscle Walk: Walk to empower
The MDA Muscle Walk is an inspiring event that unites communities throughout the country. . Participating in Muscle Walk enables our supporters and champions to create a team, work together, fundraise, and cheer each other along . Check out upcoming events here.
MDA Muscle Walks connect our families, our Care teams, our employees, and our neighbors to serve one mission. In addition to volunteering to participate in Muscle Walk, the execution of a successful event would be impossible without all of the hard work that our volunteers do behind the scenes. MDA is currently seeking volunteers to assist with event registration, along the route, at our Muscle Walk headquarters and greeters/parking. As with the events itself, this volunteer opportunity is great for families and groups.
Make your mark
Looking to get more involved? We welcome your talents as part of the MDA volunteer family. Register as a volunteer for virtual or in person events today: www.mda.org/volunteer and dedicate your time to help empower kids and adults living with neuromuscular diseases.
Disclaimer: No content on this site should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.