It’s easy to love nonprofits. They bridge the gap that exists between government and business, where the needs of our most vulnerable citizens are often met. They do the things that business and government cannot, or will not do. They’re a critical part of the infrastructure that meets our most pressing challenges and provide a home where our better angels can take action.
Kalamuna team members Kristin Sartain and Sean Quigley took a moment to consider how nonprofits have impacted them personally:
Western Youth Services – Sean Quigley
When you learn that you’re going to be a parent you imagine graduations and birthday parties. You imagine Christmases and Halloweens. What you don’t imagine are the challenges that come to some parents with a special needs child. I never imagined the phone calls from school, the hundreds of appointments with doctors and agencies, the never-ending and ongoing need to advocate for my child’s care and rights. You never imagine these things when you first learn you are to be a parent.
When that became the reality for my family we struggled and persevered but became so exhausted with the ongoing day-to-day, 24-hr care and advocacy for our amazing daughter, that we didn’t know how to move forward. My wife and I would have to continually take time off work to deal with an emergency or to attend appointments and frankly we needed help. Fortunately we did eventually get that help through a local agency called the Western Area Youth Services, or WAYS.
WAYS provided us with the one thing we needed so desperately. Time. Through WAYS we gained respite services in the form of gifted young youth workers who would pick up our child from school, be with her as we finished our work day, spend time with our beautiful daughter during the summer holidays, and most importantly develop deep and lasting friendships with her over the course of a decade of service.
My wife and I often say that if it were not for the respite services we received from WAYS we don’t know how we would have survived as a family. It is agencies like WAYS that serve families like our so that we can grow and prosper, and in the end see our talented daughter go on to be the unbelievable success she is today. I am grateful for WAYS, and for others who have lifted our family up like CPRI, so much so that I can never repay the debt we owe them for a chance at the normal life we have enjoyed. Thank you WAYS for giving us the time to live and grow as a family. We are deeply and eternally grateful.
Girl Scouts of America – Kristin Sartain
I can remember watching my older sister go to her Girl Scout meetings and wishing I was old enough to join in the fun. Fast forward a few years, and I was happily a Daisy Girl Scout, excited to learn what scouting was about for myself. I continued with scouting throughout elementary school and enjoyed earning badges, going camping, and gaining great leadership skills along the way.
When my family moved to Virginia in fifth grade, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to continue scouting. My mom convinced me to stick with it and, even though my dad took me to the wrong building for my first troop meeting, I met a group of girls that would become lifelong friends. We grew up throughout middle and high school and helped each other earn our Silver and Gold Awards. Our troop leader gifted us with lifetime memberships upon our high school graduation.
One of those friends became my college roommate and we volunteered to lead a Daisy troop during our Junior year of college. Scouting had given us so much in our youth, we were excited to give back to girls in our college town.
I am so grateful for the wide range of skills that I gained from being a Girl Scout for so many years - courage, confidence, and character. The relationships I’ve made are precious to me. Thank you, Girl Scouts for all that you do to support our youth!
At Kalamuna, our livelihood thrives on the exercise of our values, and our ability to uplift orgs that support the most vulnerable and marginalized among us. We get to do what we’re good at on behalf of organizations actively improving the world we live in, and the rewards are manifold. It’s important to us that our work has a positive impact on our non-profit clients, because they have already positively impacted our lives and the lives of so many others.
“There is no such thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not live single-issue lives.”
– Audre Lorde