Holly – Minneapolis, MN
For National Volunteer Week, we're celebrating the grassroots volunteers who power Planned Parenthood and Planned Parenthood Action Fund by sharing their stories.
Tell us a little about yourself.
“I moved to the Twin Cities eight years ago from North Dakota with my husband, Jared. We've lived all over the metro area and are currently in Golden Valley (with our two cats ... I'm obsessed:)). I work in corporate communications in downtown Minneapolis. My family is all spread out, but I've made some amazing friends here and love being a Minnesotan!”
Why did you choose to volunteer for Planned Parenthood?
“On the night of the 2016 presidential election, I was feeling the same way as over half the country: horrified, disgusted, scared and sad. But I was also immensely disappointed in myself for my lack of prior involvement and for being so naive and blind to the issues so many had been facing for so long that I was just then opening my eyes to. I knew from then on that I could never be as disengaged and uneducated as I had allowed myself to be up until that year. I decided to pick one area of focus to dedicate more time and energy towards, and Planned Parenthood Action Fund popped into my head. That night I googled how to become a volunteer and signed up for orientation that weekend; it ended up being their biggest orientation ever, I believe, as I definitely wasn't the only one feeling that way.”
What’s the best and worst experience you’ve ever had volunteering?
“The best experiences have happened while canvassing when I talk to someone who admits they aren't following the elections and then, because of our conversation, pledges to vote for the candidates I'm out there supporting. Hearing someone say ‘thank you’ and really mean it after having a face-to-face conversation is so encouraging and fills me with hope, something we don't feel a lot of these days. The worst experiences are surprisingly not when I come across someone who is anti-Planned Parenthood but when I talk to someone who flat out tells me they don't vote and don't pay attention to politics. Nothing is more infuriating to me!”
What motivates you to volunteer for Planned Parenthood?
“I know I'm making a difference, even it if doesn't always feel like it, even though it's not some huge, momentous act. Sometimes it gets tiring, but being with other strong women (and men) who are like-minded and continue to fight inspires me to keep going. This is such a crucial time in our nation's history, and I cannot imagine looking back on my life in 5, 20, 50 years and saying I did nothing to try to make things better. This fight for better health care access, for inclusivity, for better treatment of populations for whom it is so overdue, is incredibly important, and it takes every single one of us to do what we can as often as we can, and I have no excuse to not do my part.”
What would you tell someone who is afraid to do it?
“Frankly, I would say to get over it because it's about so much more than just yourself. Every time I dial a number at a phonebank or approach a new door while canvassing, I have to push back on the fear that comes bubbling up. I'd be lying if I said it wasn't always there. I'm an introvert; talking to strangers is terrifying. But this is so much bigger than me. The conversations we have absolutely need to happen and they need to happen more often. You always have support, you will build confidence and you will never regret time spent trying to help make this crazy world a little bit better. Also, the more I volunteer, the more I learn and the more I realize how much more I still have to learn. It's a great way to continue to educate yourself and meet amazing people along the way.”
Want to hear more from volunteers? Check out our stories from other volunteer leaders.
Become a Volunteer
Volunteering is a great way to build power in your community and meet other folks who share your values. Sign up to become a volunteer for the Planned Parenthood Action Fund in Minnesota today.