Ambassador Reflections: What Volunteering Means to Me

What Volunteering Means to Me

by Julie Cupp

My name is Julie Cupp, and I am a volunteer with Community Lodgings. I was born and raised in the area and through the years have wanted to volunteer in my local community. I’d donated to national charities, mostly in honor of my brother who died in 2005 from cancer, and had even tried to offer my time but found most national organizations were looking for monetary support. I tried volunteering briefly with an animal welfare league in Fairfax several years ago, but my fear of dogs ultimately held me back. The years went by and I still hadn’t found my volunteer home.

It wasn’t until 2016 when I attended the Community Lodgings Spring Forward event that I felt the urge to reach out and offer my time. Through a friend, Jane Collins, I was invited to an Open Doors Tour to learn more about the organization. As I listened to Jasmin [Witcher, Director of Development] describe what Community Lodgings does for local families, I felt a connection. Here was an organization helping my neighbors—people I would see at the store and had children that would attend schools in my neighborhood. I wanted to be involved in the positive impact Community Lodgings has on the community.

But what could I bring to the table? I’d worked as an event planner for various associations in the area for more than 15 years and was now working in the publishing industry. I had no experience working with families or mentoring children, but I thought there might be use for my event planning skills to help Community Lodgings plan their fundraising events. I spoke with Jasmin and the rest was history!

As of February 2018, I’ve served on the Events Committee for a year and helped plan the Spring Forward event, Open Doors breakfast and the recent 30 Year Anniversary Pearl Gala. I’ve also served on the Development Committee as a liaison between the two committees and have gotten to know board members, staff and volunteers who make Community Lodgings run so smoothly.

I’m so lucky to have found a place I can call my volunteer home—a place where I can do good in the community. Not only am I helping neighbors, I’ve made connections within the organization and am grateful for the chance they’ve given me to continue honing my skills as an event planner. I’m proud of my affiliation with Community Lodgings and look forward to contributing even more in 2018 and beyond!

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