Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Why Volunteer? WHY NOT?!!

We all have such busy lives- professional lives, family lives, and friends. It’s sometimes hard to find a minute in the day to touch base with those you love and when you do, its mundane conversation like ‘whats for dinner’ or ‘can you pick up Matthew?’ We have such minimal time left for things that really matter- like the love and friendship of strangers, who may or may not, have similar life experiences.

How do you become involved with something that has absolutely nothing to do with you? Why would you bother? How can something that you never thought about ever in your life become a major life force that not only changes your life, but also drives your behavior? What entity can give you so much energy in the middle of your busy, busy life?

Volunteering. When you volunteer you expect nothing in return. You are giving your time, energy and efforts to something you know you won’t gain anything tangible but you will gain something that money can’t buy… a full heart. Volunteering is a way to share with the world your interests or talents that are unique to you.

A few months ago, WAG volunteered to assist in an invitation for a local fund raising event. The group, Corey’s Crusade, is a Piedmont, California group dedicated to raising funds to help find medicine and a cure for ALS. WAG assisted by creating the artwork for the invitation- a small task for a design firm. As every design project requires some insight, (we don’t design in a vacuum!) we had to do some research to see exactly what the cause was for, who the target audience was and the best way to communicate the message. As WAG began to ask these questions, WAG saw a need to further offer assistance to Corey’s Crusade and their battle with ALS.

Ted, Wendy, Corey and Claire Reich lead Corey’s Crusade. Together, they have raised over $1 million for research and are leading a national campaign to create a ‘Young Faces of ALS’ (YFALS) group. As Corey was diagnosed with ALS at the age of 21, the Reich Family has vested much of their time to bringing awareness and funding to this under-researched disease. Corey say’s it best on the YFALS Facebook page:

"For 70 years Lou Gehrig has been the face of ALS. Sadly, in that time, not a single effective therapeutic has been discovered and most Americans know little to nothing about the disease. It is time to put a new, younger, face on the disease. I hope to be that face, and raise not only awareness, but also the funding necessary to put an end to ALS."

How can that be?! How can the infamous speech of Lou Gehrig on the 4th of July 1939 have gone unheard? One of the most famous speeches in American history?! Lou Gehrig didn’t mention he was sick with a disease that would kill him in less than 3 short years – he died June 2, 1941. American’s loved Lou but they didn’t realize nor did they understand the full impact of his retirement; no momentum was born to assist others with the same disease that took the beloved New York Yankee’s first baseman. Not until now!

The Reich family, along with other families across America, are vigilant in working for a cure and they need help! They need research and research costs money! Who will contribute? How can we build awareness of this horrible disease? How do you get others to care? Why would anyone volunteer to help if they weren’t personally affected? This is a big challenge.

I can only think of one reason anyone would volunteer and that only reason is love: love for each other, love for mankind, love for people who have been given a diagnosis that one wouldn’t wish on their worst enemy. Can a design firm share this ‘love’? Can a design firm spread the ‘love’? WAG said YES we can! So WAG started a Facebook page for YFALS and in less then a month, the page had over 1000 fans but we didn’t stop there!

WAG designed the YFALS logo, awareness button, powerpoint template, letterhead, a restaurant promotion (thank you Adesso, Oakland!), t-shirt and we’re planning a Pub Crawl in Walnut Creek, CA in December. It wasn’t hard to get involved- we just utilized what we had- our design and promotion expertise! Everyone has an expertise and every expertise can be utilized by any group of volunteers.

You can volunteer too! You don’t need to have the disease or know someone with the disease – you only have to want to share your expertise with a group that really, really needs your help. You won’t get a paycheck or a free lunch, but your heart will fill with contentment knowing you are working to help others and that is something money can’t buy.

Please help WAG to bring awareness and funding to YFALS. Support the YFALS Facebook page by becoming a ‘fan’ or contact us to offer your expertise. WAG can assure you you’ll be glad you did, we are.

Click here to see more of WAG’s work for YFALS!

Click here to become a ‘fan’ of the YFALS Facebook page!

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