PPSAT Volunteers in SC, WV and VA share their experiences volunteering with Planned Parenthood and other local reproductive health community organizations
I have always supported Planned Parenthood, but I had never really thought about getting involved in the organization. That is, until the 2016 election. The discourse that took place in debates and the horrifying statements regarding women made me realize that I was taking certain rights for granted. I received an email that mentioned volunteer opportunities, and I knew right then and there that I had to do something. I contacted our community organizer, Ashley, and we met soon after to discuss what volunteering would entail. I started out with political campaigns for Virginia’s election in November, going door-to-door and making phone calls to the community. Once the election was over (with a phenomenal victory, might I add!) I started volunteering more generally, from clinic greeting to phone calls and tabling. I have also joined some affiliate programs through my university, and it has completely changed my outlook as both a student and a community member. I have met wonderful, strong, and dedicated people who possess such a strong desire to change the world for the better; it’s truly inspiring. I maintain a separate and unique admiration for each staff member, patient, and volunteer I have met.
Working with Planned Parenthood has allowed me to witness first-hand just how much this organization inspires, influences, and assists such a multitude of people. The experience is not one hundred percent simple; sometimes I worry that I’m not actually making a difference or influencing change. I recall crying in my car after one shift because I felt that my clinic greeting on a slow day really did not matter in the grand scheme of things. However, I recently tabled at an event and the keynote speaker, Khzir Khan, visited the Planned Parenthood volunteers. He held my hands and told me to stay strong and continue my work. He explained his understanding that some days I might feel insignificant, but each and every person working for such an important cause together makes all the difference in the world. And especially in today’s climate, we cannot give up. That really stuck with me. We do not even realize how many people we have motivated to vote and get involved, or how many minds we have changed through providing information. Then, in his keynote address he affirmed that sentiment via his statement; “Bad prevails when good remains silent.” No matter how insignificant we may feel, we are not. This is what keeps me going back to Planned Parenthood. Hopefully my consistency and refusal to stay silent will make a positive change in the world somehow-I like to think that it will.
— Dana Needham