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In the past, Aroona Toor had always thought of volunteering opportunities as more of an episodic experience. Just showing up to give your time for a day, posting a picture on social media, and then walking away from it. And that was not something Aroona was looking for. She wanted to do something bigger. “As millennials, when we volunteer we don’t want to just blindly go in and say we did something. We want to go in and say hey, I actually helped. This had an impact,” says Aroona. “We want to be very intentional about the work that we do and making sure it’s meaningful.”
So when the opportunity to participate in the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) National Leadership Summit and Lobby Day came up, Aroona jumped at the chance. National Leadership Summit and Lobby Day is an opportunity for volunteers to urge their members of Congress to make cancer a national priority by supporting increased federal funding for cancer research, among other issues. Aroona was surprised to discover that ACS CAN educated, trained, and empowered their volunteers so they can work on the front line. “When it comes to ACS CAN, the volunteers are the ones talking to the legislators. The volunteers are the ones who are making the phone calls. The staff is there to support us 100%, but they really allow us to develop as people and make the contacts ourselves.”
And the experience has been a lasting one for Aroona, even solidifying her growing interest in law school. “I was already looking at law school and studying for the LSAT, but that experience at Lobby Day really opened up my eyes and helped me realize what an impact working with legislators can have,“ says Aroona. “I love that a volunteering experience can have such an impact on my professional development while allowing me to make a solid, tractable impact in my community.”
I never realized the impact you can have as a volunteer.
ACS CAN Volunteer
Aroona is hoping to get others on board with volunteering with the American Cancer Society. She says that no matter what your interest is, there’s an opportunity for you. “You can contribute in any way you want to. It’s not tailored to a particular type of volunteering or to a particular a type of person. It’s very open and broad, and anyone that wants to help can help. It’s just about getting you plugged in to the right niche.”