22-year-old Janae Innis has been involved in community service since she was a child, but describes how volunteering with Georgia College Miracle was a totally organic event, and was a result of her love for fun.
As a freshman at Georgia College, Janae spotted a flyer for a dance marathon that GC Miracle was hosting. She says she fell in love with the event and what the organization stood for: dedication to saving kids’ lives and making miracles happen through an extended network of events and fundraising. The Johns Creek, Georgia resident quickly became more involved with the program, first as the morale leader for the chapter and later by serving as director of morale and entertainment.
Dedicated to GC Miracle and service with Young Life, recent college graduate Janae made a difference in her community by serving over 1,000 volunteer hours as a student at Georgia College and is today’s Daily Point of Light award honoree. Points of Light spoke to Janae to learn more about her work with CG Miracle.
What inspires you to volunteer?
I never considered myself a volunteer, and I still think it’s weird to say I’m one. I’ve always gotten involved in organizations that do good for our community and the people around us. My service goes back to my faith. I’m here on this earth to love on people, places and to give back to those who are lacking.
What do you call yourself if you’re not a volunteer?
It sounds even weirder to say this word, but service comes to mind. I’m not a servant to these organizations or cause, but more so I’m a servant to the Lord. We’re all called to be of service to him.
What would the title of your autobiography be?
“Open hand, open heart.” I feel like it’s so easy to have a closed fist and be selfish with our time and energy. If we’re closed with our time, we’re closed off with our emotions as well. I remind myself all the time to have an open hand with the people around me, and an open heart will follow.
What’s been the most rewarding part of your work?
To be able to think about the things that I’ve done through my service and the impactful relationships I’ve made with children and adults. Also, getting to be alongside these families and support them as they go through whatever struggle they are facing. Those relationships will carry me through the rest of my life.
What have you learned through your experiences as a volunteer?
We all live in our own little bubble, which is why it’s so important to take a step back and look at what others are doing or going through. I could have never dreamt to know what it would feel like to be a 10-year-old hospitalized, but through Georgia College Miracle, I know what it feels like. All these experiences and relationships have opened my eyes to have a broader world view and to count each experience as a joy.
What do you want people to learn from your story?
I want people to pay attention to the communities around them. It’s so easy to be “us-focused,” and not look beyond what’s in front of you. Even if you don’t have an organized program in your community to volunteer through, there are always people and situations around you that need love and attention, whether that’s through service or just going through your day to serve the people around you.
Do you want to make a difference in your community like Janae Innis? Visit All For Good for local volunteer opportunities.
Post written by Marlena Militana.