On April 8, 2013, Gabby Frost opened Twitter and saw that three girls in her network were contemplating suicide. After responding to them directly, she thought, “What can I do to prevent this from happening again?” The answer was Buddy Project. Combining her own experience with social anxiety, and the knowledge she’d learned from friends who had opened up to her about suicidal thoughts and self-harm, and the power of social media, Gabby came up with the idea of an online community where people could make new friends, support one another and become mental health advocates.
For the Elwy family, volunteering together is engrained in their lives. Rani, Sherin and their three children, 20-year-old Lucy, 17-year-old Ben and 13-year-old Charlotte, have spent hundreds of volunteer hours on projects ranging from distributing groceries at food pantries, to creating learning aids for ESOL students, to planting flags at dawn alongside Boston’s 9/11 memorial. The family of five has discovered that volunteering is the one thing that brings them all together.
This year’s Northern California wildfires burned more than 600,000 acres – the largest wildfire in California history. The fires were devastating, resulting in the destruction of numerous structures, the displacement of thousands of residents, and several fatalities. While first responders met the wildfires head-on, volunteers also played an important role, providing comfort and counsel for those at risk of losing everything. CSAA Insurance Group’s award-winning corporate volunteer program, AAA Volunteers, empowers and motivates employees to address diverse community needs through volunteer service. In response to the wildfires, employees volunteered to take time from their normal job duties and daily routines to contact impacted customers.
Lucretia Doyle is living proof that society’s expectations of you should never dictate what you choose to become. The daughter of a formerly incarcerated mother, Lucretia overcame the obstacles she faced at a young age and became passionate about empowering youth with the knowledge that they are capable of doing extraordinary things despite their backgrounds. She currently serves as senior program manager for recognition at Points of Light, overseeing the administration of the Presidential Volunteer Service Awards, a national volunteer recognition program that encourages citizens to live a life of service. Lucretia’s passion for youth empowerment led her to create the Patricia A. Doyle Foundation, in memory of her mother, to provide book scholarships and care packages to students who have a current or formally incarcerated parent.