Girl Gives Back

Published in Black Hills Woman MagazineSeptember-October 2019

 

  • Briefly describe the organization(s) you volunteer for and your role(s) in the foundation(s).

I have been involved as a volunteer for the Rapid City Area Chamber of Commerce since 2009. I have served as a committee member for Young Professionals Group, Leadership Rapid City, Governmental Affairs, Public Policy Committee, and Creative Arts Industry. For the past four years, I have served on the board of directors. Beginning in October 2019, I will be the Treasurer for the Chamber board.

In 2016, I was designated as a civic leader for the Air Force Global Strike Command as a representative for Ellsworth Air Force Base (EAFB). The primary roles have been advocating for and educating the community about the base. The volunteer position allows for the opportunity to discuss community and base relationships to ensure that Airmen are welcomed and supported. Recent efforts have been focused on employment for spouses, child care centers, housing and community involvement.

  • Tell us something about the journey that led you to the organization.

As I moved into the community, I was encouraged to get involved through the Chamber. I was on the leadership team for a company located in Rapid City and applied for Leadership Rapid City. Through that experience, I became actively engaged with the Chamber and its committees. As a small business owner, I found that the opportunities to engage with other small business owners gave me the ability to connect and find mentors. I also was made more aware of how the nonprofits interact with the for-profit businesses.  As a result of the work I was doing with the Chamber, I was asked to serve as a civic leader. I had previously served in the Army, but had little knowledge of the Air Force. The impact of Ellsworth in our community, state, and region is greater than most of us realize. I feel fortunate to be asked to represent Rapid City and be a voice for EAFB at the national level.

  • What motivates you to stay involved?

Being a volunteer in our community is not about what the organizations can do for me, but rather what I can do to help the community and the organizations. What motivates me the most is when I learn of people making connections that help them with their work, improve their lives or makes them feel a part of something greater than themselves. When people know that someone cares about them, whether it be personally or professionally, they have a greater appreciation for the community around them. It is all about paying it forward.

  • Describe one of your favorite moments you’ve experience while volunteering.

Most recently, I attended a Chamber mixer. I was introduced to an Airman who is preparing to retire from the Air Force this year. As we were talking, he explained that he and his family want to stay in Rapid City. We exchanged contact information and since then he has secured employment with a local company in the field he wanted, he and his family will remain in our community and he got involved in the nonprofit I work for, Abbott House. It is one of those times when all of the work I do came together to help an individual and his family. We want our community to be a place that people want to raise their children.

  • Why do you believe it is important to volunteer?

My life’s mission is to make the world a better place. It may seem lofty or cliché, but the reality is that volunteering is a way to make the world a better place for those around you. It is most rewarding when it results in making life or a part of a life better for someone else. After all, this life is not about “me”, but rather, “we”.