Big Ideas

The Spirit of Giving

My September column was written weeks ago; the goal was to highlight the generosity of our members and encourage others to share their stories about how they give back to their communities.

But like many of you, I’ve watched the staggering and heartbreaking effects of Hurricane Harvey in Southeastern Texas unfold over the last week. As a result, this column took on a new meaning. As Legal Management was going to press for September, the ALA community was organizing ways to help the devastated Houston-area. The Boston Chapter began by donating $5 per member to the Red Cross. They then challenged other chapters to do the same. The response has been overwhelming. As of September 1, they’ve raised nearly $25,000. It reminds me of how incredible our ALA community is, and it makes me proud to serve as President to such a remarkable, generous group of people.

Check your inbox in the coming days for more information about ALA’s efforts, as well as a more in-depth coverage in the October issue of Legal Management, due out October 13.

Volunteers are the heart of ALA.

It’s a cliché, but it’s a cliché for a reason: You get more out of volunteering than what you give. I’ve found that to be true each time I’ve volunteered, no matter the cause.

My volunteerism with ALA has made me a better legal management professional. But I’ve also given my time to other organizations over the years.

Recently, I volunteered as a reader for Every Child a Reader in Escambia (ECARE) where the mission is to build a strong foundation for students entering the education system. The time I spent with my reading pal was some of the most fulfilling times in my life. When I started working with him, he could not totally spell his name correctly. But with help and support at home, in the pre-K classroom and the ECARE volunteers, he learned. And when the school year was over, he drew me a card where he wrote his name … perfectly.

I’m sharing this story in the hopes that you will share your experiences as well. ALA wants to highlight how our members are making an impact in their communities. Maybe you’re training for a marathon, and running it to raise money for your favorite animal shelter. Perhaps you volunteer your time at your child’s school, lending your excellent planning skills to their latest fundraising efforts.

Or maybe you are like member Jean Pimental, from the Jacksonville Chapter, who has been giving her time to the Boy Scouts of America for nearly 12 years. She started when her youngest son was a Tiger Cub. Now, he and his brother are both Eagle Scouts. I invite you to read her story, and see another example of how much we get when we give our time to others.

We hope to feature more of these stories in upcoming issues. You’ll find them in the “Member Spotlight” in upcoming issues of the “ALA Faces” section. And if you have a volunteer story you’d like to tell, just email the ALA publications team at publications@alanet.org.


Phone: 850-208-7053