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The American Cancer Society is the nationwide community-based voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by preventing cancer, saving lives, and diminishing suffering from cancer through research, education, advocacy and service.
American Cancer Society South Atlantic Division
250 Williams St. NW
Atlanta, GA 30303
Find American Cancer Society South Atlantic Division opportunities on VolunteerMatch.
Like many Millennials, Jenna Whittingham has a lot of fun at work. As a graphic designer, she does work for some very successful companies, and she finds her projects quite rewarding. But there's always been something missing.
"It's always been important to me that I do something personally to help people or organizations that spend their days making a difference," she says. "It gives my work much more meaning."
Jenna decided to browse VolunteerMatch.org to find a way to give back. She was surprised to see how many opportunities there were to use her graphic design skills to help others. She found a posting from American Cancer Society South Atlantic Division looking for a virtual volunteer graphic designer, and immediately reached out to them.
The mission of American Cancer Society is to eliminate cancer as a major health concern through public health education, cancer research, and patient programs and services to ease the burden of a cancer diagnosis. For Jenna, the organization holds a very personal significance.
In 2009 Jenna's father was diagnosed with cancer. While undergoing surgeries and receiving many months of treatment in Philadelphia, her parents were able to stay at an American Cancer Society facility called Hope Lodge at no cost. "Giving my parents a place to call home while being surrounded by such an amazing support system of volunteers and others going through similar situations during this difficult time was invaluable and something that I will never forget," Jenna relates.
The day Jenna heard back from American Cancer Society about the volunteer listing happened to be the same day that her father had a cancer-free CT scan result. It made the opportunity to give something back even more exciting for her.
As a virtual volunteer, Jenna wasn't able to meet with her volunteer coordinator in person. As Carrie Klamut, Community Manager of American Cancer Society South Atlantic Division explains, training consisted of a few e-mails and links to examples of what we were trying to accomplish through Jenna's work. And it was exciting work.
ACS is currently undertaking one of the largest cancer prevention studies in the world - Cancer Prevention Study-3. This historic study is like no other in the United States and will provide researchers and health professionals with knowledge to develop future technologies, treatments, screenings, and prevention strategies in years to come. Jenna's job was to create infographic marketing materials to encourage people to sign up for Cancer Prevention Study-3.
Even though they were virtual, Carrie and Jenna made a great team. "Sometimes it can be challenging to collaborate with someone from afar and talk via email, but we had great communication," Jenna remembers. "Any questions I had about the project she was able to answer very clearly for me."
Carrie was similarly impressed with Jenna. "I have not always had great experiences with virtual volunteers - it's difficult to find someone who is a self-starter with the time and talent that a great success like this brings." But according to Carrie, Jenna quickly educated herself on the organization, its goals and the project, and her first design was right on point!
Carrie describes the impact Jenna's work has had on the CPS-3 project. By providing an infographic, the study became far more shareable via social media and other online platforms. Additionally, Jenna's design is transferrable to all of the other enrollment sites across the country for the study, so the impact of her work can grow exponentially.
"When you find someone who is really in their element, it is a great reminder to meet the volunteer where they are, with what time they have, and see some amazing results!" Carrie says.
As for Jenna, she's just happy to have made a difference. "There are so many ways to volunteer," she says. "I didn't realize I could use my design knowledge to help. I learned from browsing VolunteerMatch that there are so many people out there trying to make this world a better place, and I hope that more people lend a hand to them. They won't regret it."