Over her years as a volunteer with the ALS Association St. Louis Regional Chapter, Diana Wunning has seen—and done—just about everything. She’s been volunteering long enough to remember the days when mailings were all done in-house and by hand. She recalls sorting postal tray after postal tray of envelopes by ZIP code. She recalls VERY early mornings at the Walk to Defeat ALS when she’d be out putting up signs to direct people to the right spot. Pretty much anything that needed to done, Diana has done it some point along the way. In fact, she recalls not just volunteering, but managing other volunteers.
“In the years before we had a volunteer coordinator I’d be there very early and help oversee the volunteers and make sure everyone was where they needed to be day of Walk,” she says. “You name it, I’ve pretty much done it.”
Continue reading “You name it, I’ve pretty much done it”—Appreciating Volunteer Diana Wunning for Volunteer Appreciation Month
The decision to volunteer is often an intensely personal one. Some decide to volunteer out of a sense of wanting to give back to the community after a long career. Others feel an affinity for an organization’s mission. Still others seek out opportunities that might inspire them creatively or for the opportunity to learn new skills. For some, it is an opportunity to meet new people and make new friends. This list goes on, and at the end of the day there is a story of “why” for every volunteer.
April is National Volunteer Month, a chance for us to say thank you to everyone who chooses to volunteer their time and talents to the cause of serving our ALS community and working towards the goal or creating a world without ALS. Still, for our volunteers and our organization—as for the entire world—the last year has been strange and challenging. The safety protocols the pandemic has required, especially for people with ALS and their families, has limited the volunteer opportunities available. As we all strive to return to something approaching “normal,” we are reminded that the passion of those wanting to help has not lessened, it has merely been directed differently.
Continue reading “Any Small Way I Can”—The “Why” Story of One Volunteer
In the last year, nearly 450 volunteers lent a helping hand to our Chapter in some way, shape or form. Some gave a few hours of their time, some dozens upon dozens of hours. Some came to us after having had a family member or friend served by our Chapter in the past; others came to us simply out of a desire to make a difference. These volunteers are young and old, from all over our region, and from all sorts of different backgrounds. Each is unique, and each has a story.
April is National Volunteer Month—a month when we recognize the contributions volunteers make when donating their time, talents, and energy to worthy causes. The ALS Association St. Louis Regional Chapter depends on the efforts of our volunteers to help support our many programs, and we are incredibly grateful for all that our volunteers do for our ALS community.
In honor of National Volunteer Month, we are sharing the stories of three chapter volunteers to shine a spotlight on their contributions in the fight against ALS.
Continue reading Not In This Alone—A Spotlight on Our Volunteers and Their Stories
High school students often get a bad rap. Sometimes it is
deserved. High school, after all, can be a challenging time. And while figuring
out this period of growth and change, students can and do sometimes make at
best questionable decisions. We can all probably look back at our high school
years and think of one or two (or maybe more) cringe-worthy moments. It is all
part of growing up.
But it would be unfair to not acknowledge that high school
can and do have much to contribute to the greater good. In some cases, their
dedication and energy towards a cause is nothing less than awe-inspiring. We
have been witness to just such dedication and energy here in our local
community in the form of John Burroughs School and the “Extra Hands for ALS”
Continue reading Extra Hands for ALS—John Burroughs Students Honored for Lending a Hand to Make a Difference
We’d like to introduce you to Sarah Diaz, our new Lead Outreach Volunteer (above left with her mother, brother, sister and father). She will be representing our chapter at community events around the region. We asked Sarah if she’d tell us a little bit her of story and she graciously shared the impact ALS has made on her life and how she hopes to impact the lives of others.
Continue reading Perspectives from Lead Outreach Volunteer Sarah Diaz
At the end of this month, Dave Van de Riet will complete his term as chair of The ALS Association St. Louis Regional Chapter’s Board of Directors. Over the past six and a half years, Dave’s leadership has been characterized by innovative ideas, strategic thinking and an overwhelming commitment to providing quality care to families facing an ALS diagnosis. His energy and passion for the mission will be difficult to match, but he leaves us a better organization and on strong footing for the future.
Dave will continue to serve people with ALS and their families locally in his role as the St. Louis Walk to Defeat ALS® Chair; as a member of the fund development, finance and executive committees; and in a national capacity as vice chair of The ALS Association’s Governance Committee and member of the Board of Representatives.
Thank you Dave, for your extraordinary leadership and tireless dedication to our mission and the people we serve.
In this post, Dave reflects on his tenure as Board Chair.
Back in July of 2012, I was honored to become the board chairman of the ALS Association St. Louis Regional Chapter. I had no idea what kind of journey it would be. Certainly, I had some idea of the responsibilities, the meetings and the commitment. I had the pleasure of serving as Vice Chair while watching past Chair Rick Palank ably lead the Board and along with our President/CEO – Maureen Barber Hill – establish a very strong foundation for the stability and success of the Chapter. What I didn’t know, however, was how much the job could change me.
Continue reading ALS Reflections from Outgoing Board Chair Dave Van de Riet
Volunteers are an invaluable part of the ALS Association team. Whether it’s providing patient support, lending a hand at events, or helping out in the office, their work and dedication is deeply appreciated. Each volunteer has their own reason for getting involved that is unique to them. In an effort to share their stories, here are insights from some of our volunteers.
Continue reading Volunteer Voices: Ted and Eloise
By Josh Rogers, Senior Vice President & Partner, FleishmanHillard
A few weekends ago, I was jogging past Steinberg Rink in Forest Park and I remembered the first Walk to Defeat ALS® that I attended. The Walk started and finished at Steinberg. That was 2005 or 2006, I think. I participated in two Walks at Steinberg. Then the event shifted to the Forest Park Visitor’s Center. And this year, we’re moving again to the upper Muny parking lot.
Each location to date has served us very well as the event has grown. And I know our new spot will be great too. Forest Park is such a wonderful institution … it’s impossible to go wrong with an event in the park.
Continue reading Josh Rogers: Why I Walk to Defeat ALS
ALS Association volunteers are a special breed of superhero — they are the heart and soul of this Chapter. They give up countless hours of their personal time to provide us with all manner of help – in the office, in the homes of people living with ALS, on our board of directors, as public policy advocates, on our committees, at our special events – without asking for anything in return.
So many of our volunteers have been personally impacted by ALS, and have seen up close and personal the devastation the disease brings upon a family. These wonderful people become volunteers to fight for a cure and to ensure that other families are supported physically and emotionally on their disease journey.
Two of those special volunteers are Don and Claire Bratcher, who have been ALS warriors and volunteers for close to 15 years. Claire recently agreed to share their story and we’re delighted to post it here in her own words.
Continue reading Don and Claire Bratcher: Imagining a World without ALS