There are many reasons to donate to charity. In many cases, the reasons are deeply personal and moving. Several commonwealth employees were kind enough to share their reasons for donating to SECA charities, in the hope that their stories will inspire others to give.
Jack, my great-nephew, was born with Myelomeningocele, the most serious form of Spina Bifida. The first few weeks of his life included several surgeries, including repairing the opening in his spine and placing a shunt in his brain. Early Intervention (EI) services were immediately put in place to assist Jack with learning new skills and conquering Spina Bifida-related challenges.
Jack is now two years old, continues to receive EI services, and will receive Spina Bifida support for years to come. EI services currently include physical therapy and support services for Jack, his family, and others living with Spina Bifida. Additional services will be available to Jack as he gets older.
These services are supported by my SECA contributions. I proudly participate in SECA, knowing that my contributions are providing valuable services for Jack, his family, and others living with Spina Bifida.
Jack is a happy, healthy, toddler who will have some different "norms" than other children. He loves his puppy, family, trains and trucks, playing outside, feeding zoo animals and jumping waves. Thanks to organizations receiving my SECA contributions, Jack has a bright future ahead of him.
It was not until my youngest son was born that I realized how much SECA can make a difference in our communities as well in our personal lives. My son was born with End Stage Renal failure. Through the many organizations available, my family was able to work with them to gather all the supplies and assistance that were needed to bring him home from the hospital and allow us to be supported by our friends and family.
While my son and family no longer need assistance from these agencies, I continue to make a generous donation each year through our SECA Campaign. The SECA Campaign is emotional for me, as I believe that without the donations made by my fellow employees to these organizations that my family would have had greater hardship. I continue to make these donations to ensure that my community and my co-workers are able to benefit in their time of need.
I encourage you to take the time and read the information provided by your SECA coordinator. Don't miss your opportunity to do your part for your community. You have no idea what your support means to families like mine.
After being laid off from a job that I worked for years, losing my home, having my car repossessed and divorcing, I figured life had to get better. It had already gotten worse. I put on a bright smile that hid the fear and panic that was brewing beneath and loaded up my kids and headed for the highway.
I drove through five states to get here and was constantly looking in the rear-view mirror at everything that I owned: 3 kids, a bag of clothes and half empty cereal boxes. I can still see the blue writing on the "Pennsylvania Welcomes You" sign.
After staying in a hotel for the night, I woke up and wondered what my next steps would be. One of the employees who worked at the hotel, "Ms. Mary," befriended my kids and stopped by to meet me. I explained to her that I was new in town, with no family or friends and needed somewhere to stay. She told me that her shift would soon be over and that I could follow her to a place that could help us, which turned out to be a SECA charity.
To say that this placed "helped us" is an understatement. We were given a clean, safe and secure place to stay. We were offered job training, counseling, legal assistance, as well as access to computers and child care. It was here that I was able to regroup, refocus and heal. I have since furthered my education, purchased a home and have three kids in college. That was 11 years ago and I have never looked back. Just remember your donation may seem ordinary but causes extraordinary changes in other peoples' lives.
The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation is an organization offering programs that support the survivors and reduce the number of line of duty deaths. One of the responsibilities of foundation is the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial, which contains the names of all members of the fire service who have died in the line of duty since 1981. The names represent men and women, young and old, from across America. Each of these individuals served their communities with valor and perished as a result. The memorial, and the eternal flame contained therein, are a symbol that the nation will never forget them. Pennsylvania has, unfortunately, not missed a year in being represented on that memorial.
My dedication to this charity revolves around my volunteering there. Each October, a national service of remembrance is held at the memorial in Emmitsburg, MD. The weekend is a chance for families to come to the memorial, see the chapel, attend a candlelight service, visit the walk of honor and meet other families who have experienced a firefighter loss. The weekend ends with a public service on Sunday with various dignitaries, speakers and singers. In that service, each name is read aloud, and the family is presented with a flag, a rose and a badge. For the weekend, I serve as a family escort, ensuring that anything the family needs is provided and helping to guide them through the events. As a firefighter myself, I'm committed to the foundation and serving the families of those lost.
On May 17, 2018, my father passed away from a rare and incurable brain disease. Most neurologists have never heard of it, let alone seen a case in their office. We watched helplessly as the disease slowly took away all of the things he loved – going to work, fixing cars and motorcycles, drawing pictures and carving wood. Then, we watched as it took away all the things we take for granted – the ability to walk, speak, get dressed, feed yourself and so on. All we could do was try our best to preserve his quality of life and make him comfortable. We lost a devoted husband, a wise father and a loving grandfather.
Because there are so few people with the disease, there is little research being done into treatments or a cure. I support SECA charities working to cure Alzheimer's and dementia. My hope is that a cure for Alzheimer's may someday lead to a cure for what took my father. I give so that, one day, that no one else will have to suffer from these terrible diseases.