One of my most popular blog articles offered ideas about organizations where kids can do community volunteering. Recently I learned of an inspiring new (to the Bay Area) non-profit, run by San Carlos resident, Michelle Chang. I spoke with her about There With Care and learned about a number of opportunities for kids and families to get involved.
There With Care is a 501c3 non-profit dedicated to easing the burden of life’s daily obligations for families of critically-ill children, working with the NICU and pediatric oncology departments at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford.
Michelle Chang, Executive Director of the Bay Area Chapter of There With Care, recently accepted the challenge of re-entering the workforce and starting up this new chapter of There With Care, which has been operating in the Denver/Boulder area since 2005 and plans to roll out services nationwide.
How did you connect with There With Care? I was initially looking into volunteering with families going through a medical crisis. I have two children, and we went through two years of chemotherapy for my younger daughter when she was diagnosed with retinoblastoma at a young age. We had such an incredible support network during that time that I wanted to give back to others going through similar situations. I read about There With Care and was so impressed by their mission. I was even more thrilled to learn that they were expanding their services to the Bay Area.
Tell us more about the families you help? All our families are referred to us through the social workers at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford, with plans to eventually expand to UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital and Children’s Hospital Oakland. Many of these families have traveled far distances to these leading hospitals in the hopes that their children may receive the best in medical care, and are removed from their community and support networks. There With Care tries to fill this role with the utmost respect and care.
What are some ways that families in our community can get involved? We are fortunate to live in such a wonderful, compassionate community and welcome help of any kind. We are especially proud to welcome our smallest volunteers and have seen that children love to feel they have made a difference and are empowered by helping others. Some ways to help are:
- Hold a diaper and used baby clothes/toys drive with your playgroup to benefit our families and invite a There With Care representative to speak about opportunities to get involved
- Ask your school, troop, church group, or other social group to hold a diaper or used baby clothes/toys drive or fundraiser to benefit There With Care
- Attend a volunteer training (email firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up to hear about the next one) and help deliver meals and groceries to families, help with special event fundraisers, sibling childcare, and many, many other services
- Visit our offices to help sort through donations and fill our Baby Care bags which go to families in the NICU, or to help with office operations
- If you have a skill, we can probably use it!
We are always looking for donations of the following:
- Diapers & Wipes
- Infant toiletries (baby lotion, powder, shampoo)
- Clothing (gently used, clean, no stains) ages newborn-2T ** Especially needed **
- Clean, gently used baby items including strollers, slings, carriers, diaper bags, swings, bouncy chairs, exersaucers
Items may be dropped off at our offices at 3475 Edison Way, Suite H in Menlo Park. Please call before coming so we can make sure we have someone to greet you! We would love to give you a tour of our space. Please visit our websit at http://bayarea.therewithcare.org/ to learn more about us, or feel free to contact email@example.com with any questions you may have. Our families thank you!