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Rylea Luckfield has volunteered with Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri for a little over two years. She is always ready to help in so many ways with data entry, phone-banking, staffing outreach tables at events and canvassing to register voters. Grassroots Organizer Stacy Sherrod asked Rylea a few questions about volunteering:

Q: Why is it important to you to volunteer for Planned Parenthood in Missouri?

A: It’s important because bodily autonomy is such a basic human right and is sort of the basis of all other civil rights. The ability to make decisions about your own reproductive and sexual health needs to be protected and the Missouri Legislature is always attacking reproductive rights. It seems like there’s a new TRAP (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers) law all the time. Also because Planned Parenthood health centers have always been open and welcoming to patients, I see that when I do Patient Advocacy in the Health Center and have experienced that as a patient myself.

Q: Do you have a favorite volunteer experience with Planned Parenthood?

A: Working the Springfield and Joplin PRIDE Festivals is probably my favorite because as a queer person, LGBTQ rights are very important to me. When I work the Planned Parenthood table and canvass at PRIDE, I am able to work for two causes I care about at once. Plus, the PRIDE Festivals are just really fun.

Q: What else would you like to share with readers about volunteering?

A: Volunteering can make you feel really great; it’s a way you can make a difference. Though you may not see instant results, know that you’re helping. When you represent Planned Parenthood in the community, you are making their work and the health care they provide more visible. You are giving a face to Planned Parenthood and that can help with misconceptions people may have. Folks may not always understand all the types of health care that Planned Parenthood provides our community and as a volunteer you can talk to people about that and inform them. Even if you don’t see a difference instantly in people’s lives or in the legislature, know that you are making a difference. Adding your voice always makes a difference.

Q: And finally, just for fun, what is your favorite food?

A: Steak and Shrimp.

Stacy Sherrod is a Grassroots Organizer with Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri.

Tags: SWMO, Volunteering, Volunteers, advocacy