When I retired in 2015, I knew I wanted to find some useful way to spend my “free time.” I had never volunteered before but thought it might be something to try. As it happens, I passed by the CAC every morning on my way to work and wondered about the blue and white pinwheels in front of the building. So I went online and checked it out. When I found out that they are a non-profit and that they help abused children, I immediately thought it might be a good fit since I love children and I have a history of child abuse in my life as well.
Not sure what use I would be since I only have a high-school education and my only work experience was in the secretarial field, I walked into the office anyway to talk to someone about it. That’s when I met Faith Boehmer. I’m not sure she knew what to do with me, but she gave me some forms to fill out, had me submit a background check, and I was all set.
My first day on the job started surprisingly soon when Faith called me to help with a mailing. To my surprise, the first person I saw when I got there was Jackie O’Donnell, with whom I went to high school way back in the “Stone ages.” While busy stuffing, sealing, and addressing what seemed like mountains of envelopes, we became reacquainted since we hadn’t seen each other since school. We ended up spending most of the day there, but time really flew. There were several other volunteers helping that day and we enjoyed sharing stories as we worked. I left that day feeling that I had done something worthwhile and met some great new friends at the same time.
I’ve been volunteering now for over five years and even recruited my husband, Stan. Now he is a regular too. We’ve done everything from mailing newsletters and fundraisers, assembling and delivering pinwheels, making bows, and decorating the blue and white CAC Christmas tree. Probably the most meaningful thing I have done was visiting various elementary schools around our community and reading stories to the children.
Along the way, I’ve also made follow-up phone calls to parents that have used CAC services. That’s when I found out how much the Center means to these families. And I also see first-hand how many children come in with their families and how they are treated by all the staff. I see the child-friendly rooms in which they meet, and the toys and blankets they give to the children. It’s a total child-friendly atmosphere. And I feel privileged to be a small part of their organization.
Stan & Cecile Griffin
Child Advocacy Center