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Why I Volunteer

By Christine Kemp

When I was in graduate school for public health, I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do with my career. I was always passionate about health care, especially reproductive health and justice, but I didn’t know how to channel that energy. I applied for an internship at Planned Parenthood in Buffalo, and landed in the Community Engagement department, where I worked on Public Affairs, fundraising, social media projects, and so much more. Even though it was only a few months, the internship changed the course of my career. I learned I loved working at health centers like PPCWNY, places that cared for patients no matter what brought them through the door.

After my internship I stayed involved with PPCWNY through volunteer opportunities such as fundraising events and elected official visits. In my career, the staff I looked up to as an intern became my colleagues. I was driving home from work one day a few years later, and I got a phone call asking whether I’d be interested in joining the PPCWNY Board. I was honored to be asked, but I had a little bit of imposter syndrome, too. I had never been on a board – did I have what it takes?

I took a leap and said yes, and it was one of the best decisions I’ve made. Early on, I tried to learn as much as possible about how to be a good board member; I had a lot of great board colleagues to learn from. I’ve been on the board for seven years now, and I became the Board Chair in 2022.

It is an honor to serve in this role. Witnessing the hard work and dedication of the staff is a true privilege. It’s also been an opportunity to encourage others to get involved in causes that are important to them, even if they’re not quite sure where to start.

For me, volunteering with PPCWNY has been a bright spot in times where the reproductive justice world has grown darker. I hope you, my fellow volunteers, have been able to feel a little bit of that light, too. Thank you all for everything you do to help this mission.