For our most recent Board of Directors blog, the Joseph Maley Foundation would like to introduce Monica Buchheit. Monica, an employee at Charles Schwab & Co., is an avid traveler and passionate volunteer, who dedicates her time and energy to helping JMF serve children of ALL abilities. Keep reading to find out why Monica loves volunteering with JMF, and why she comes back year after year to serve on our board.

Why did you join JMF’s Board of Directors?

I was aware of JMF for many years but I lived out of state. After I returned to Indiana, I was looking for volunteer opportunities where I thought I could really contribute. I started attending JMF events and was interested in getting more involved. After coffee with Vivian, I was convinced that joining the board was the opportunity that I was looking for…and it has been!

What is something about JMF that you think is unique?

The way that JMF celebrates our differences. “We’re all different and we celebrate those differences” isn’t just a catchy phrase, it’s at the heart of all of the JMF programming and I love that!  I’d also say the Junior Board. I don’t know of any other nonprofit that offers high school students the opportunity to learn about nonprofits, and how a Board of Directors works. It’s such a great opportunity to for them to learn, grow, and contribute!

You’ve participated in a service day for JMF, can you speak to that experience?

I work at Charles Schwab & Co., and each year all employees are granted eight hours of time away to do volunteer work. In May we have an organized ‘Volunteer Week’ where Schwab organizes several sponsored volunteer activities each day. I have had the opportunity to sponsor a day at JMF for the past couple of years. It’s been great!  It not only provides our volunteers with an opportunity to give back, but it’s also a great opportunity to spread the word about JMF. I actually had a surprise this year when two of the Schwab volunteers indicated at our planning meeting that they had volunteered for this opportunity after their kids came home talking about the JMF activities at their school (Westfield).  One co-worker had even volunteered at the school during the JMF programming and spoke about her experience. How great is that?!

Have you spent time volunteering at any of our events or programs? If so, would you please share your experience?

At one time or another over the past few years I believe that I’ve volunteered at most of the JMF events. I honestly believe that I get more out of the experience than I give. I’ve had the opportunity to interact with the incredibly impressive JMF staff, Junior Board members, other volunteers, and the kids and families that we serve. I think my favorite is the Run, Walk, Roll.  We arrive very early in the morning, but all of the volunteers are so enthusiastic. When the participants begin to arrive and the event comes to life, it’s great to see so many families and individuals of different ages and abilities all fully participating in the event. It’s great to talk with folks about why they’re participating and hear the stories of how they know JMF.

This is our year of stories – what’s your favorite JMF story?  

That’s a great question. I don’t know that I have a single favorite story. When I think about that question I keep coming back to the story of JMF over the past 10+ years. While it might not feel like the growth has been quick to those who’ve been working since the start, JMF has really grown tremendously and I love the way that programs are always evolving and changing to meet the needs of individuals, schools, and groups where they are.