I first got involved with AboutFace back in 2004, when I was new to my role as Nurse Clinician for the Craniofacial/Cleft Program in Winnipeg, and I found an AboutFace pamphlet. As a mom of a daughter born with a Cleft Palate I had never heard of AboutFace and was excited to learn that Aboutface provided many of the things that I wanted to provide to families – networking and social supports for individuals affected by/living with a facial difference. My goal of a family picnic came true and having a Camp Trailblazers in Manitoba also became a reality!
My volunteer role is a little bit different because I am a healthcare provider, so I see everyday the impact that social supports has on families and individuals and I see the void that exists when supports are not easily accessible. I plan fundraiser events, volunteer at information booths, speak at conferences, plan family picnics, and connect families thru online social networking.
The most rewarding part of being an Aboutface volunteer is the “warm and fuzzy” we make for each other at Camp Trailblazers. A “warm and fuzzy” is a piece of paper that every camper has. It is passed around the room and everyone writes something on. Campers take the paper home and when they are having a challenging or rough day – they read the messages and are brought back to the fun, great, supportive place they were at in Camp! Some phrases on my sheets that encourage me on a daily basis include: Thanks for being amazing! You are the best! Thank you for your friendship. Thanks for FUN! Camp Trailblazers makes me happy and so do you! I can’t wait to see you next year! How can you not LOVE to volunteer when you hear and see these rewards!!