Everyone volunteers for their own personal reasons. For James, it’s all about returning what he has received. He says, “So many people help me out, so it’s nice to feel good and see the smiles and joy on other people’s faces.”
James and his grandmother, Jean, have been friends and volunteers of Children’s Home Society of Florida for several years. Their passion for volunteering with CHS grew from the tremendous experience his family had in receiving so much from others.
Jean explains where their passion for volunteering comes from saying, “James wanted to give back to the community because when he was born, he was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, and there was a therapy program in Poland that could help him become stronger that wasn’t available in the United States. A number of people got together and put on several fundraisers for him. Because of that, he and his mom were able to go to Poland so he could receive the therapy.” Though James’ passion for helping others began when he was young, as he grew older he was able to put his efforts full time into a fund that now bears his name.
The James Russell Fund began in 2018 and has grown each year. “We do a Toy Drive in December so kids can get presents and all they need for the holidays. We try to help more and more kids each year. Also, there is a Back-to-School Drive in August, and this past year we got the most money we have ever raised. They were a great success,” shares James.
Both James and Jean are so excited to continue to give back to the community through volunteering with CHS and growing their successes with each new year. Jean explains, “What we receive is better than what we give. It’s just so rewarding, and I enjoy the feeling I get when giving back. It is a blessing that we are able to give because we are so fortunate.”
James and Jean’s passion for volunteering not only provides much-needed support for kids and families we partner with, it also helps bring more volunteers into the fold. They truly embody the spirit of volunteering and work to bring more people into the CHS family. “I think more people need to give it [volunteering] a shot, and they would realize how much volunteering would make their heart feel good, if more people would try it,” James adds.
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