Grace Vigil loves to travel. Lucky for the National MS Society, she loves to plan other people’s dream vacations, too.
Despite her busy schedule as a full-time marketing coordinator for an engineering firm and as a part-time travel agent, Grace wanted to do something to give back to her community. Her boyfriend’s father, along with a friend she calls her “hula sister” (they perform the Hawaiian dance together), both have MS. That made it an easy choice to volunteer for the Chapter.
After an assessment of her professional skills, Chapter staff found the perfect opportunity: planning trips and making travel arrangements for Family First Enrichment Grant applicants and recipients.
The Chapter’s new Volunteer Development Program is matching people like Grace with specialized tasks that might normally be done by staff members.
“Using skilled volunteers not only offers them the opportunity to make a real difference, it frees up our staff to work on other projects and duties. It keeps us even leaner, even more efficient and effective,” notes Erica de Klerk, who manages the new program. “It’s a flexible, meaningful way for someone to Join the Movement - to give of their interests, skills and passions.”
Grace agrees that it’s a great way to give back - and to have fun. She says she does “whatever families need” to make their excursions go off without a hitch. That might include making suggestions for fun things to do on their getaways, arranging for handicapped accessible hotel rooms, or making airline reservations. She also helps find the most economical ways to put together the grant-funded trips.