When we opened our small business 10 years ago the first charitable commitment we made was to the Alicia Rose Victorious Foundation. My wife had known Alicia in elementary school and at summer day camp. The tremendous strength, passion and commitment that Gisele and Mario demonstrated for this under-served group was just so inspiring, we just had to be involved. ARVF is a one of a kind organization with a powerful mission and drive to back up its uniqueness. We are so proud to be a part of this wonderful foundation.
My association with ARVF has been truly fulfilling. Alicia had many outstanding qualities; inner strength and determination were two that came through to anyone who met her. It was her vision to establish teen rooms and provide teen kits to hospitals where teens with life threatening illnesses are treated. So it is not surprising that ARVF volunteers work tirelessly to deliver her vision with that same resolve. Even though many of them only get to see the impact of their work through video clips, pictures and letters, they continue to successfully deliver Alicia's dream year after year. I have been fortunate to represent the Foundation at a number of the grand openings of our teen rooms in hospitals across the country. Meeting the doctors, nurses and child life specialists and hearing how much of a difference the teen rooms, teen kits, proms and pizza nights mean to their patients is gratifying. However, meeting the teens and hearing how much our efforts mean to them is the biggest reward. It has been my experience that you receive much more than you give when you volunteer for a charitable cause, and that has never been more true for me than my association with the Alicia Rose Victorious Foundation.
When I first started volunteering with ARVF I was not sure what to expect. They were in the middle of a transition with staff and the Executive Director and co-founder was looking for expertise in Human Resources, strategic planning, etc. Having spent my career in the private, for profit sector there was some skepticism. Within a week I was converted to the power of focused, passionate individuals who are deeply committed to serving an underserved, almost forgotten segment of the population - teenagers with cancer and other life threatening diseases. ARVF has an outstanding leader who is able to unite a band of volunteers that would take a highly skilled project management team in my experience to accomplish what they accomplish week in and week out, not to mention large fund raising events. This foundation is not about the founders, it is about the kids. Every decision, choice and expense is focused on how this helps the kids. Amazing organization with an amazing team.
Having just celebrated the first Teen Cancer Awareness Week in the state of NJ, we are so validated that the work of our charity is fruitful and fulfilling. We had an opportunity to meet with over 30 surviving teens, who came back to their treating hospital as we provided a Teen Social. Check our NJN News Report with Sara Lee Kessler on Jan. 19, 2011, or our web-sight and watch the governor sign our bill into legislature. I am proud and honored to be on the Board of this very worthy foundation.