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Why I Volunteer

By Brooke L.

Watching my mom struggle to raise her three daughters, it became clear early on that education can change your life and the patriarchy thrives on keeping us down. An avid reader, I absorbed stories of women’s challenging lives across various economic situations, education levels, races, ethnicities, and countries. Attending Siena College, I learned the joy of giving back through volunteering and the power of marching in solidarity at the Rally for Women’s Lives in Washington, D.C., in 1995. Wearing my first NARAL (National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws, now known as Reproductive Freedom for All) T-shirt and listening to the powerful words of Gloria Steinem and others, an enduring fire for reproductive rights and justice was lit.

That summer found me stuffing envelopes at Planned Parenthood’s Syracuse health center, and I’ve honestly never left. My Planned Parenthood volunteering has run the gamut from conversations aimed at reducing HIV stigma at extended family holiday dinners, to nine transformative years on the PPCWNY Board of Directors in various leadership positions, to recently collecting donations for RESTORE clients. The depth and breadth of the ways PPCWNY staff live and breathe their commitment to serving every patient, no matter what, continue to inspire me to identify ways my privilege and positioning can support PPCWNY and the patients seeking and receiving comprehensive sexual and reproductive wellness and care. Please join me.

Image: Brooke (right) and her wife, Bakita, after marching with PPCWNY in the 2023 Rochester Pride Parade.

Image of Brooke and her wife

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