Many people are familiar with Planned Parenthood. Most people only know of it as a health center. I would like to share a different perspective of this organization I have great respect and admiration for.
It all began routinely: I went to Monument Square during my lunch break on March 8th for a rally for a Day Without Women. A volunteer from Planned Parenthood approached and asked if I supported the services Planned Parenthood provided and if I would be interested in volunteering. I said yes to both.
I was delighted when I received a call a few days later inviting me to an Hour of Power open house event. When I walked in the door, I was greeted with a warm smile and a nametag and I knew I was in the right place. I listened to passionate people speak about the work Planned Parenthood would be doing in the coming year and how I could get involved with positively impacting the community locally and nationally.
I was hooked.
I grew up with Planned Parenthood. I knew the health centers as a place to get birth control, but that was about it. Today, I also know Planned Parenthood as a beacon of hope and an advocate of reproductive justice.
I’m not proud to say it, but I was a sporadic voter, not engaged politically. After the election I was extremely concerned about the future of healthcare, human rights, and equality in general. I worried that my previous lack of involvement had allowed the current political climate to take root.
The Planned Parenthood organizers provided tangible ways I could contribute. Each week there was a plan and specific tasks I could feel proud to accomplish. During a time of uncertainty and fear, they provided a warm, welcoming place where I and other like-minded people could work together and take positive action.
With each passing week my anxiety over the future decreased as my commitment to the movement increased. I am proud to say I have called and emailed my senators and legislators often this year to share my concern over various bills and pending votes. I am certain without the encouragement and vital information about upcoming bills and votes I would not have acted.
The Planned Parenthood Maine Action Fund is a heart-centered organization where I feel like every task I complete is relevant and helping someone.
I have volunteered on many of the teams and while it’s hard to choose a favorite I do enjoy the data team immensely. Having the ability to quantify thoughts and feelings allows the other teams to be strategic and efficient. I feel like data is the “special ingredient” in the PPMEAF soup.
I am grateful to Planned Parenthood for fostering a welcoming community where I belong and can make a meaningful contribution. I am proud to stand with Planned Parenthood and am so glad I accepted the invitation to volunteer. That was one of the best choices I have made in a long time.