We recently spoke with Sindy Wylie, Foresters Financial™ community involvement award winner, about her personal volunteering experiences. Sindy was recognized for her numerous volunteer activities, which included building seven playgrounds with Foresters Financial™ and KaBOOM!®. She is also a Foresters Financial™ member, and has participated in numerous volunteering opportunities ranging from packing meal kits for a homeless shelter to cleaning her local Ronald McDonald House®.
She shared with us what it’s like to be involved in enriching the communities around her. The positive impact that Sindy experienced as a result of receiving help and offering help is something many other volunteers have also seen. If you’ve never volunteered before, we’d encourage you to give it a try! If you have the heart to volunteer, you can definitely find the time as well.
Q: What does volunteering mean to you?
Sindy: I believe that it is our duty as human beings to help others, no matter what stage we’re at. I think we should give back and give to others when we can. If you give, then you will receive – at some point in your life.
Q: How has volunteering impacted your life?
Sindy: When I was 13 years old, I lost my arm to cancer. I was sick and my family didn’t have a lot. The community, friends and family stepped in, they hosted a spaghetti dinner fundraiser for me and were able to raise $8,000 for me. The local school also did many things to help me out and they helped pay for my tutoring while I was on chemotherapy. As soon as I got better, one of the things I did was I volunteered for the American Cancer Society®. I love helping and inspiring children. I want to let them know that no matter what their situation is, there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel.
Q: What motivates you to volunteer?
Sindy: Whenever I think back to my early days, I’m reminded of the help I received from my community and it always motivates me to continue spreading the love and giving back to the community. I love helping others, especially if it’s someone I can relate to. It really helps in my communication with them because I went through a similar situation.
Q: What have you learned from your various volunteering experiences?
Sindy: I’ve learned a lot from the other people who volunteer with me. In some cases, they don’t have very much themselves. Someone once told me a quote about how true giving is when we don’t have very much and we still give anyways. We don’t need a million dollars to give. We can start giving back right now. It’s not just about money, it’s also about the time you give.
Q: How often do you volunteer? Where do you volunteer most often?
Sindy: I’d always love to do more, but recently the things I’ve done is through Foresters- things like playground builds. Right now, I am also applying for a [Foresters Community Grant]* to be able to help children who were previously homeless (there’s about 70 children that we’re putting together backpacks for).
Q: Is there a cause that you’re particularly passionate about?
Sindy: I enjoy working with children the most!
Q: What was one of the most meaningful volunteer experiences you’ve had?
Sindy: There are so many, it’s hard to choose! I’d say that one of the playground builds here in Charlotte, [North Carolina] was the most memorable. 300 volunteers were there. It amazes me how they were able to get 300 people together, organized and building a playground together in 6 hours. After we finished, all the kids gathered around and were so excited to play in it. It was just so wonderful watching the kids get excited. It was great being able to help create a safe place for those kids to play and make memories.
Q: What tips would you give to others to encourage them to volunteer?
Sindy: Find the time. I don’t believe that anyone will regret the time they spend doing it. It may be them one day that needs the some help. We’re here for each other. Even though the volunteering they’re doing may not seem like it’s making a huge difference, if it impacts [just] one person – then it’s making a difference. Most importantly, people have to find a cause that is important to them (children, animals, homelessness, veterans etc.). If it’s someone they can relate to and if it’s something they’re passionate about and care about, then it will make them want to volunteer more. Become a Foresters member because it is a great resource to be able to do more volunteering!
*Foresters Financial member benefits are non-contractual, subject to benefit specific eligibility requirements, definitions and limitations and may be changed or cancelled without notice.
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