My Nonprofit Reviews

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Review for Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation, Chicago, IL, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

I first became aware of Bear Necessities and its multitude of services in December of 2004, soon after I was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia during my freshman year of high school. Knowing firsthand the devastating impact that this one disease can have on a child, I feel as though I can offer a unique perspective, especially considering the fact that I have seen both sides of this organization—both as a child served through its “Small Miracle” Program and, more recently, as a volunteer intern during this past summer. As mentioned by previous reviewers and as mentioned on its website, Bear Necessities strives to serve the immediate needs of children and families affected by pediatric cancers while also searching for a cure that will provide for a brighter cancer-free future. While undergoing nearly three years of grueling chemotherapy treatments, the small miracle that Bear Necessities worked in my life helped me through the most difficult ordeal I have ever experienced. Indeed, with the years of seemingly endless hospital visits, nausea, and pain, dealing with cancer became less of a task and more of a lifestyle. Yet, with the small gift that Bear Necessities was able to offer, I was able to break the cycle—even if only momentarily—of chemotherapy treatments, spinal taps, and radiation. That, more than any monetary token, is what inspired me to give back to this organization that already gives so much to the community. In working with non-profit organizations within the public service sector, I feel as though one thing above all else stands as a critical element in one’s gratification and success, and that is, put simply, agreeing with the organization’s mission. While any non-profit can publicize and promote a cause, what’s unique about Bear Necessities is that its staff and volunteers exude and live for the cause. Each day, I am inspired and touched by the motivation I see around me. And what is particularly beautiful about this foundation is that it accepts volunteers and members from various backgrounds and of various skill levels. No matter what you feel you can contribute to this organization, you can (and will) have a say if you feel that you personally agree with Bear’s mission. As a local but quickly growing foundation, there is definitely a lot you can offer. Again, the organization has a beautiful mission, and its members make every effort possible to make that mission a reality.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the smiles of the children who come out the events, the gratitude of the families whom we serve, and the satisfaction I feel before going to bed every night.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

its ability to cater to volunteers of all skill levels. If you feel motivated enough, you can definitely find yourself a place within this organization. As a student at Harvard University, I can definitely say that they keep me busy (in a good way)!

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

wonderful. They are all gracious and completely dedicated to the cause. I felt immediately welcome upon entering the doors on my first day. That memory is something that I'll likely never forget.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

*it WOULD devote it all to its mission.

Ways to make it better...

there were more staff or volunteers to help facilitate the work and improve efficiency. And, as trivial as this sounds, the computers are a bit slow. But the triviality of this complaint should only show you how great my experience has been with BN.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

the lack of nationwide recognition. It's not a largely staffed organization, so a lot of work falls into the hands of a few people.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?


Role:  Volunteer & I served as a volunteer summer intern.