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The Power of Volunteers

Joseph Maley Foundation volunteers are an integral part of what makes our mission a reality.  This week’s post highlights the efforts of two JMF volunteers and their impact as we enter our tenth year of “serving children of all abilities.”

This year, the Joseph Maley Foundation is on track to serve 26,000 students in central Indiana.  We partnered with over 100 schools, nonprofit, and corporate organizations to fulfill our mission, “serving children of all abilities.”  JMF staff dedicates many hours to ensuring our programming continues to educate participants about the importance of acceptance.  However, the effort behind this endeavor goes way beyond the JMF staff commitment.

In 2018, JMF will celebrate ten years of serving children of all abilities.  The growth of the Foundation in these ten years would not be possible without the dedication and efforts of our remarkable volunteer base.  These individuals volunteer their time and talent across all of our programs.  They are JMFitness mentors, speakers for our disABILITY Awareness and HOPE programs, attorneys with JMFamily Support, and students who serve with local nonprofit organizations as part of the Service Day program.  They organize transportation for JMFriends puppeteers, and share the Joseph Maley Foundation message of inclusion on social media.  In short, volunteers make the JMF community bigger and better every year with the selfless act of giving their time and talents.

Stephanie Cabral is a community volunteer at Shamrock Springs Elementary School in Westfield.  She connected with JMF when the disABILITY Awareness program was implemented at Shamrock Springs during the 2015-16 school year.  Stephanie generously offered to share her story as an individual who is blind.  Her favorite experience with the program is interacting with the students.  She says, “They ask a lot of questions about Braille and using Siri.  They think I have pretty cool tools!”  Stephanie now speaks at other schools with the disABILITY Awareness program and wants people to know JMF “is really helpful” in educating students about the importance of inclusion. Her willingness to volunteer with JMF makes that message of inclusion possible.

As the PTO President at Our Lady of Grace Catholic School in Noblesville, parent volunteer Jaime Baldwin worked closely with JMF Assistant Director Allison Boyll to establish their own JMFriends Puppet Troupe this year.  Jaime spent many hours coordinating with puppeteers, parents, and JMF staff to ensure that this inaugural troupe would be a success.   She enjoyed, “Seeing the girls become a closer group, even though they may not have been close friends before joining JMFriends.  They are a hilarious group of students and watching them form close relationships while helping each other become better puppeteers was amazing.”

On being a JMF volunteer, Jaime shared, “It’s so rewarding.  JMF gives students the opportunity to learn how they are alike more than they are different.  It breaks down barriers in ways that many schools aren’t able to utilize.  When I volunteer, I get to see those ‘Aha’ moments where students grow as individuals.”

The Joseph Maley Foundation values the work of our volunteers in so many ways.  With their help, we enjoy a much larger bandwidth to serve children of all abilities.  We are on track to serve 30,000 students in 2018.  Thank you to Stephanie, Jaime, and all JMF volunteers who make this number possible.

Post written by:

Courtney Basso, Events and Communications Director