Message from the President
Volunteering for Life
I have been volunteering in my community since I was around twelve years old. I remember staying after school in seventh grade to make meals for Ronald McDonald House. The summer after eighth grade, a girlfriend and I helped out at the VA Hospital. In high school, along with more Ronald McDonald House meals, during the Red Cross blood drives every year I was the “bag lady”. I would take the blood bags from the beds to the nurses’ station because I was the least squeamish of my classmates. I guess a career in healthcare in some fashion was inevitable. :-)
Volunteering kicked into high gear in college. The Honors Program at Southeast Missouri State University required a certain number of volunteer hours in some classes. The Learning in Volunteerism (LIV) Chair and Committee helped students find places to volunteer. Starting on the committee as a freshman and taking over as chair the following year, I helped students volunteer with Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity, becoming conversation partners with exchange students from Japan, among others. Participating in LIV and giving my time to these activities as well, greatly enhanced my college experience. After finishing school, I first went into the non-profit field working in museums. As any non-profit employee will tell you, there are the hours you get paid to work and the hours you volunteer to work. The non-profit field pulls people to it due to the belief that what you are doing for a living is helping others.
After changing careers to healthcare management, I began to look for volunteer opportunities again. The majority of these have come for MGMA of Greater St. Louis. In just the past four years, we have volunteered for Rebuilding Together, walked with Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, raised money for Operation Food Search, and made dinners for Ronald McDonald House. In addition, both our Practice Manager and Business Partner members have charities they are involved in with their companies and personally. In our September newsletter we started actively asking for information on the volunteer work of our members. We want to highlight past activities and upcoming events. Not only will others get new ideas for how to reach out in their community, we can also support each other’s projects as well.
Over the years I have noticed that one of the best ways to connect to other people is through volunteering. MGMA of Greater St. Louis is a great example of this. Whether it was helping a family with their home improvements, raising awareness and funds for breast cancer, or making dinners for families of sick children, these group activities not only gave a deep sense of personal gratification for helping others in need, but brought our members closer as well. The community our members have created will continue to grow as we share our personal reasons for volunteering and share our projects with each other.
Barbara Faupel, MA, CMPE
President, MGMA of Greater St. Louis