i believe it’s important to donate to causes—money, time, materials, whatever you can afford to give. that’s why this weeks intention is about volunteering. like so many before it, this intention didn’t turn out how i expected. but i am so proud to be the new marketing director of pile of smile, a wish fund for kids with cancer.
i’ve been a longtime friend of nonprofits. the majority of my marketing career has been focused on helping them increase their membership, fundraise, and support their mission. admittedly, it started by chance. but my fondness and admiration for the work quickly grew. i’ve always had a soft spot for organizations that help children. so helping pile of smile was a no brainer.
there are so many amazing things about this organization, not least of which is how it got started. pile of smile is the vision of imogen adams, then just 8 years old. she has typical interests for her age like playing outside, dancing, and painting. but she’s anything but typical. her spirit is otherworldly. her ability to turn her empathy and passion into advocacy is beyond her years. after watching a family friend struggle with cancer, “she expressed a desire to sell children’s art, and use the proceeds to give children living with cancer opportunities to enjoy an experience of their dreams.”
kids are usually a product of their surroundings. so if imogen is as wonderful as she is, it didn’t happen by accident. i met her mom through my yoga studio. she was a teacher there and i was instantly drawn to her classes. she guided you through 90 minutes of strength, focus, and breath. she’s now pile of smile’s community director. imogen’s (step) dad is an amazing artist and photographer. he also happens to be the organization’s president. the entire family is helping to makea difference in the lives of others.
but friends are family too. and pile of smile has a lot of friends that donate their time to the organization. it’s completely volunteer-run.
obviously i have my own ties to art. it’s beautiful. it’s creative. it’s therapeutic. what i love about pile of smile is that it “encourages boys and girls to create and donate their art as a deep act of compassion in support of ill kids.” i’ve had the pleasure of attending a few of their art workshops. whether young or old, sick or healthy, you can see the joy on everyone’s face as they create. a sweet release no matter what they have going on in their life.
so many ways to help
they’ve created so many creative ways for you to get involved. see if you can answer yes to any of these questions:
- do you shop at amazon?
- do you like to make things or do yoga and drink beer (the latter for adults only of course)?
- do you have $10 to spare for an activity book?
- do you know kids that would like to donate their artwork?
i hope i can help imogen continue her dream of fulfilling wishes. i hope the work we do together puts piles of smiles on children’s faces. 9 down, 43 to go.
All photos by Jan Hanus.