I decided last year that I would be a troop leader for my daughter’s Girl Scout Daisy troop. I thought it would be a great way to spend some one-on-one time with her, while volunteering for a cause I believe in. It started off positive; I met with the other leader, we had all these great ideas for what we would do! This was going to be so fun! Well, time went on, and the meetings seemed longer and longer; the craft ideas were getting much less creative, and by the end of the year the girls were playing tag for the last 15 minutes of the meetings because we had run out of things to do. I realized that I really am not the best “traditional” troop leader, but I still wanted to be involved in a leader capactiy. I know! I will be the cookie coordinator for the Girl Scout cookie season! I can use the skills I am much better at (organization, metrics), and not have to be creative or crafty. Perfect!
We are two weeks into cookie season, and I would like to give the job back. I am completely obsessed with cookies. I think about them almost all day; I dream about them at night. I am placing cookie orders, counting cookies, schlepping cookies, EATING cookies. Here is a picture of my family room. This is what it looks like all the time. I have a “cookie spreadsheet”. I have nightmares that it will get accidentally deleted somehow, and that would throw my life into a tailspin. Continue reading “Confessions of a Cookie Mom”
I don’t know about you, but I’ve had several people close to me- friends and family, that have fallen ill, had surgery or car accidents and needed blood transfusions to stay alive. The reason my friends and family were able to overcome those situations was plain and simple: other people took time out of their busy schedules to donate blood. Your body holds about 10 pints of blood, and the typical donation is one pint. Your body will replenish the lost blood in about two months. If you give only one hour of your time every 56 days, your donation can save up to three lives!
If you choose to donate, Red Cross staff will collect personal information like your name and social security number. You will be asked to answer a series of questions about your health and lifestyle to determine if you are eligible to donate. Collection of information is done in private and is kept highly confidential. Once your blood is collected, there is no personal information on the label. Your blood will be screened to ensure safety and will be labeled with a tracking number that can be used only if you need to be contacted regarding test results.
What if you don’t qualify to give blood? After all, only 38% of the population is eligible to give blood. You may have travelled or gotten a tattoo and been deferred from donation for a year. Maybe you have an illness or engaged in risky behavior that prevents you from donating. Maybe you just hate needles. You can still help! The Red Cross always needs volunteers to help coordinate drives or to serve refreshments to donors after they have finished. If you’re not sure if you should give blood, you can find the information on the Red Cross website, call and speak to a Red Cross representative, or ask one of the nurses at a blood drive.
I could quote all kinds of facts, figures and studies that support the importance of positive adult influences in a child’s life and the impact of mentoring relationships. This is one case, however, where I believe you will learn a lot more reading about one volunteer’s personal experience. This month, I will tell you about Amy Kruchten, a Promega employee who serves our community in a number of ways. Amy gives us a brief description of her work at Second Harvest Food Pantry and with the Madison Coalition of the Elderly. She goes into more detail about her work with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Dane County (Amy is on the left in the picture with Bucky Badger, her Little Sister is on the right).
1. How long have you worked here at Promega and what do you do?
Six years, I take care of the [document] scanning for several departments throughout the company.
If you are a scientist you know the American Chemical Society (ACS) for their high quality journals (all 39 of them) and for their annual meetings and conferences. But did you know the ACS also focuses on community education and outreach? The ACS mission is “Improving people’s lives through the transforming power of chemistry.” According to their website, ACS has 189 local chapters at colleges and universities around the country. Bharat Mankani (in the white coat in the photo) tells us about his work with the ACS chapter at Texas A&M.
Promega employees earn their living researching, marketing, manufacturing, writing, teaching, shipping, and designing. What do they do when they are off the clock? For the next few months, I will post interviews with my coworkers describing how they give back to their communities in their spare time. This month, Nadine Nassif describes her work with the Dane County Humane Society (DCHS) and their groundbreaking ringworm treatment. The photo on the left shows Nadine keeping some cats company during a DCHS event.
How long have you worked here at Promega and what do you do?
I joined Promega in November 1997, so just over 13 years. I’m a research scientist in the Genetic Analysis group.
(Author’s note: Nadine develops kits that are used by researchers for purifying DNA and studying gene expression.)
What do you do at DCHS?
Most of the work I do with Dane County Humane Society involves the cat population. Specifically:
Cleaning cages and feeding the cats.
Socializing cats; in particular, the ones that are shy or scared or over-stimulated, the ones that need the extra attention in order to acclimate to the busy shelter environment and find a home.
Shooting and editing YouTube videos for the shelter; some of the videos spotlight various cats and dogs that are available for adoption, while some highlight various programs that the shelter is trying to promote.
Fostering cats in my home, often kittens that are too small to be available for adoption; I raise them until they’re about 9 weeks old, at which point they can be neutered and are sent back to the shelter to find new homes.