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Volunteer Voices: Jessica, Fusion

For this episode of Volunteer Voices, I wanted to hear from Jessica, a member of the Fusion team, about how she volunteers personally and professionally, and why. Her three "whys" are worth a listen or read below. 

Preview image for the video "Volunteer Voices: Jessica, Fusion".

Katie: Jessica, thank you for joining me for this Volunteer Voices conversation. I love hearing from volunteers like yourself about why you do what you do and encouraging other people to join in alongside. So, thanks for joining me for this conversation. 

Katie: Can you tell me a little bit about how you volunteer here in the Omaha area?

Jessica: Yeah. So, I am an employee of Fusion so a lot of my volunteer opportunities have come through Fusion. They're very big on being out in the community and giving back wherever we can. So a lot of lot of the things that I've done recently besides my church opportunities are related to Fusion.

Jessica: Would you like me to go into some of those activities? Yeah, lots of different ways that we're out and about. We go to The Stephen Center every month and prepare a meal for the people. They're experiencing homelessness and we have the opportunity to serve them. We also are very active with QLI in Omaha, which is a long-term spinal cord injury recovery center. Very near and dear to me. We are out there and have first Friday breakfast, and our friends out there look forward to having us come out and help serve them breakfast, and just have quality conversations with them and enjoy their company.

Jessica: One of my absolute favorite organizations that we work with is Angels Among Us. Angels Among Us is a nonprofit that is helping families faced with pediatric cancer, with the financial and social support, getting through times and crisis in their families and have somebody to lean on.

Jessica: Fusion is partnered with them to do different activities. My favorite throughout the year is we always have a holiday party with them. For the kids and families come, and we decorate the office and have food and snacks, and Santa, Mrs. Claus and games and all sorts of fun holiday stuff for them. And in the meantime, we're sneaking big bags of gifts to the family cars, so we've all provided to the families and things like that. It's just a night full of joy. It just kicks off with full Christmas spirit. 

Katie: I can tell the love that is poured into that event. It's not just a task that you guys are doing. It's not just volunteering. It's truly creating this experience. 

Jessica: It is, it definitely is. You start to see some of the same families through the years, and then you always see new families. But it's always just fun to have connections with people you know that way, and just know that people care about them. There's people that we've seen through the years that became friends. And we're just really glad to be able to be part of their support network to be able to get them through that time. That's hard, hard for their families.

Katie: Why is it so important for you to work somewhere that encourages you and supports you and your desire to volunteer like this?

Jessica: Yeah, volunteering is important to me for probably three big reasons. My faith. At the core of my faith is just giving back and serving others. I grew up in a small Iowa rural town. The town wouldn't function without volunteers. The whole town is run by volunteer medical squads and fire to, you know, things like that. The church has their activities. The community, you know, members doing fun things for the community. That's a big part of just how I grew up as a small town kid, and then my son had an accident. When he was 15, almost 15, he had a life threatening traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injury. So he had long recovery. We got the miracle that everybody asked for. He's fully recovered with the help of great medical team. We went to Nebraska Medicine, Madonna Rehab Center, and had an amazing support system around us. But after he was recovered we vowed that we always be doing everything in our power to pay it forward.

Katie: I can. Oh, I can feel your why. But what are you also learning while you're volunteering? What are you getting out of it? What’s coming back to you? 

Jessica: I think selfishly I get so much out of it myself. It just fills my fills my bucket. It's always one of those things that just…You feel so good when you're when you're done doing it, that you've maybe put a smile on someone's face or made their life easier, or whatever the case is. Whatever you're doing, I just try to be really present at the moment. Like the Nebraska Diaper Bank. My team went to the diaper bank last spring, and you know, I'm thinking, okay, this would really help a family in need. They're going to be so thankful to get this pack of diapers. I'm sitting here wrapping and having fun with my team, but just knowing that there's someone on the other end of it that maybe I can help just in a small way make their day better. So that's why it's important to me.

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