Shared or similar life experiences can bring people together. When Jessica and Michelle met and discovered that they both had experienced the loss of a child, an instant bond was formed. And that bond and friendship has led to Michelle’s involvement with Dolls for Daughters®. Jessica and DfD are extremely fortunate to have Michelle in their “lives”!
1. How did you first learn about Dolls for Daughters®?
I first learned about Dolls for Daughters® when I moved across the street from the founder, Jessica Bachus, in 2011.
2. Some people are drawn to DfD because of their own personal experience, or the experience of someone close to them, similar to Jessica’s. Why did you decide to volunteer with Dolls for Daughters®?
I chose to volunteer with Dolls for Daughters® because of my own loss. My husband and I lost twin daughters when I was seven months pregnant on November 12, 2002. Jessica and I shared our losses with each other as we discussed her charity. I was so moved and impressed with her mission to help children in need in spite of her deep sadness. I was thrilled to channel my feelings of loss into positive experiences for other children. I volunteer in honor of my daughters, Halle and Grace.
3. What has touched you most about the work DfD is doing?
I have been touched the most by Jessica’s determination and passion for her charity. Her energy and commitment to making a difference for needy children is contagious. I am inspired when I hear her talk about losing Kenzi and so proud to be her friend and have the opportunity to work with her. It is impressive to see how far Dolls for Daughters® has come in such a short period of time. Jessica has amazing friends and volunteers who support her.
4. How long have you been a volunteer with Dolls for Daughters®? What is/are the biggest reason(s) for staying involved with DfD?
I have volunteered with Dolls for Daughters® since 2011 at the toy drive. Once I learned of their mission and how many lives they touch, I was hooked. I love to see the children and their parents at the toy shop when they select their toys and then express their gratitude as they leave with all of their goodies.
4. What is your most memorable experience volunteering with Dolls for Daughters®? Please describe your experience and what made it stand out for you.
My most memorable experience is the first time I volunteered at the toy drive in 2011. When I pulled up to Stanley British Primary school a little before 8:00 a.m., I saw a line of 100+ people. They were waiting in the cold for the toy shop to open. I could not believe how many people were in line. It almost wrapped around the building. Once I found parking and walked by the line, I could see that these families were cold but eager to take part in the toy shop. It moved me to tears that day and it still does. After that experience, I pledged my commitment to seeing that line year after year.
5. Have you participated in any of the DfD fundraising events? If so, which one(s)? Also, please tell us about at least one significant memory from one of the events.
I attended the auction/party and my husband plays in the golf tournament. I love the party with so many friends being generous with their money and time. I love to see the same people year after year and also welcome new faces. I took some friends to the party this year and they volunteered at the toy shop. They all said that they would come back again. The party/auction allows people to learn more about the charity and have a nice venue to share with friends. We will attend the bowling event this year and my family is excited about that.
6. Have you shared your volunteer experience with your friends and family? If so, what was their reaction? If you did share your experience, have any of your friends or family become Dolls for Daughters® volunteers because of it? If you are able to identify their reason(s), why did they decide to get involved?
I have shared my experience with many friends. I have had many of them volunteer at the toy shop. They are moved like I am to see all the families. When I ran the volunteers at the toy shop this year, I asked several friends to volunteer and they did. Some brought their own children and were moved by the volume of toys and children. It was very cold this year and I had to ask some of them to go outside and assist families with their packages. I also enlisted a friend to help translate with our Spanish-speaking families in line outside—she was awesome. She stayed for four hours in her cold weather gear, not complaining, always smiling. They all said they would do it again and I hope it is warmer this year for our families and volunteers.
7. With so many organizations in need of volunteers for so many different purposes, what suggestions or advice do you have for people who consider volunteering? In particular, how should they choose the organization and how should they decide in what areas of the organization and how much the will help?
When people are looking at volunteering for a charity, they need to feel connected to the mission of the organization. They need to know how much time and effort goes into supporting the mission. I feel personally connected to Jessica and Dolls for Daughters®. So, it is easy for me to know how much time, energy and resources it takes to get that toy shop funded and staffed. I was able to shop with Jessica for toys at Kohl’s this year and knowing what she does will keep me connected. Not everyone can have that close, personal connection to an organization, but I think that it helps to volunteer where you can experience a direct impact. I get to see the children who come to the toy shop and it warms my heart. I hope to give more of my time because it seems like there is always more to do. If people are considering volunteering, they should meet Jessica because she will give them a job that will have a direct impact on families in Colorado.