Jan 2007 Article
My journey as a new member to starting a new region
By Lisa Kelly
I joined HAIN in Oct 06. I knew about the organization for a while thru having Mary as my MySpace friend and I knew once I joined it would become a fulltime job for me so I put it off for a little while until one day I knew it couldn’t wait any longer. I joined the forum which took me a while to figure out how it works but as soon as I did it was a great motivation to know the work I had ahead of me. I started off by buying a few wooden boxes and gift boxes at the dollar store to make memory boxes out of. As a life long artist I felt a need to hand paint most of the boxes. After seeing all the wonderful items the fellow members were making especially the crocheting/ knitting / sewing garments- I really pushed myself to learn to make some kind of garment. Last time I crocheted was when I was 12 and all I ever made was a small square blanket. Well I bought some yarn and a crochet hook and just started making things from the top of my head. My favorite thing to make is burial buntings especially for micro-preemies. Especially after losing 2 babies in the first trimester, it is a special mission for me to do things for the tiniest of babies.
I had been extremely motivated from the beginning of joining HAIN to make a big impact especially in my local area. I was told a hospital I was familiar with had a request in. I actually went to this hospital for special high risk treatment with my last pregnancy with my son. I was thrilled because I was really looking forward to being responsible to provide a hospital with this very special service. To be honest, it was way more work then I thought it would be. I worked 2 months straight but all I could think was how each item was going to be so precious to a grieving parent. That kept me driven, even those nights I could barely keep my eyes open while painting boxes while my toddler slept. I had a major blessing when Peg, a member from PA sent me a bunch of preemie & newborn hat & bootie sets she made. I knew this hospital had a wonderful NICU so it would be much needed and put to great use. I felt like my package was complete and arranged to drop it off in person. I brought it to the NICU where they were so overwhelmed with appreciation. Of course it gave me the most satisfaction because I knew I just made a big difference to many people .For me, honoring a precious little baby means just so much to me.
From since I started, I wanted to make a big difference. I have always been the type of person that takes a leadership role. I decided since my region was not active and didn’t have any active members that I knew of at the time that I would step up and try to change that. Mary made me an offer to become president of the Northeast region which I was overjoyed about but in order for that to be official I needed volunteers in my region for board of directors. My main task is to get as many volunteers as possible so I can have as many helping hands as possible so we can provide this very important service to as many northeast hospital as we can. I decided to have volunteer sign up event. I started out by finding a place to donate place for the event. Then I made a flyer for the event along with a letter describing what we do at HAIN and sent it to over a dozen churches. I also put volunteer ads out online. I spent about a month making samples to showcase along with the displays. At the event, I honestly didn’t get the turnout I hoped for. I did have a mother and daughter who came and was very passionate about becoming HAIN volunteers and were very interested in what I had to say. To me, all that hard work was worth it if it means I got 2 volunteers. Anytime anyone can help, just one pair of helping hands can go a long way. Someone making 1 memory box or 1 crochet item, it makes the world of difference for a grieving parent.
Amazingly enough just from 1 online ad I put out, I received 3 wonderful large donations of supplies. The first one I received was from a lovely lady Kathy Belanger. She sent me a few bulks of beautiful white fabrics to make garments & interiors along with all kinds of pretty laces and trims. She regretted she couldn’t do any crafting herself due to a stroke she had. She says she would continue to send whatever supplies she had at hand. I also received a wedding gown donation. But the most moving donation I received is from Denise Jacaruso, who’s mother was a crafts loving women but she sadly passed away. She had all of her craft supplies and wanted to donate in memory of her mother Fran Jacaruso. This week I received 2 very large boxes filled with almost everything I could possibly need to make items for Northeast region of HAIN . It just moved me to tears. She said she really believes this is would of made her mother so happy to put these materials to such a good use.
Right now even though I have gotten a lot of responses to my volunteer advertisements of HAIN, I have not really had many who’s stepped up to the plate. I understand in a way because I delayed my own joining of HAIN because I felt I wasn’t ready for the commitment because I know once I get involved in something especially something like this I knew I would make it a much bigger job for myself. But for an advantage person, it doesn’t have to take up a lot of time. You can crochet a hat while watching your favorite TV show. You can take an hour making a beautiful memory box that would mean the world to grieving parents for a lifetime. It doesn’t have to take a lot out of you. Even the smallest of things go such a long way so all it takes is a little effort. I just hope someone will finally see there can be such a wonderful reward in the end knowing you warmed the heart of the most broken hearted. You can make their last memory of holding their baby a more pleasant one remembering the beautiful garment someone especially made them or helping them thru grieving process by giving them a memory box that would create a beautiful way to reflect on the memory of their baby.
Even though I wish my region was booming with new volunteers despite my hard work and effort but this is just pushing my motivation further. I plan on holding another volunteer sign up event in hopefully in March in Long Island NY. I also plan to adopt another hospital site very soon with the help of another volunteer, a wonderful woman Pat Kelly who I met thru my volunteer advertisement online. She is about to send me over a package of sets she’s worked on so I will make sure to gather enough of the other items to be able give another hospital a complete package of full range of items like memory boxes, burial buntings & garments as well as items for babies the NICU. I will continue spreading the word on HAIN and the need for volunteers who will open their heart and hands to creating the items we need in order to provide this very important precious service to others. I think many HAIN members would agree with this but when you discover this organization, it truly feels like this life calling from a higher being. I hope and plan on finding others who will be as touched and honored to take part of this like myself. I know I will make the Northeast region more of a success in the upcoming months and I look forward to updating in the future on the exciting progress we have made.