During a time when all too often bad news tops our headlines, I often wonder why the media doesn’t try to find more positive news to report. If they would only take the time to look, they would certainly find extraordinary people, newsworthy stories of those who give selflessly everyday. Here at the Arthritis Foundation Upper Midwest Region, we are fortunate to have many extraordinary people. They are our volunteers.
Elyse d’Agrella is an extra-extraordinary 12 year old youth that came to the Arthritis Foundation five years ago at the age of 7. At that time, Elyse came to our office with her mother and colored in her coloring books, played with dolls, ran around the office, stuffed goodie bags, put together unthinkable numbers of jingle bells (for our Jingle Bell Runs/Walks), and also building the morale of staff with her dazzling smile and cheerful demeanor. I’ve seen Elyse grow from a very playful 7 year old child into a stunning 12 year old pre-teen who actually performed registration duties for our recent Sheboygan Arthritis Walk (inWisconsin). To say that Elyse has matured beyond her years is simply an understatement. At the time of the Sheboygan Walk, Elyse performed the duties that only adults are assigned to.
While other 12 year olds are out enjoying summer vacations, Elyse is all too happy to come into our office to work. She has sacrificed weekends, spring breaks & winter breaks during the school year to help the Arthritis Foundation. I once asked Elyse why she likes coming into our office. “Because I like to help people,” she responded unassumingly.
Elyse’s growth into such a remarkable person makes her more than a volunteer and it is with great pride & delight that I proclaim today, July 21, 2011 as Elyse d’Agrella Volunteer Day throughout the Arthritis Foundation Upper Midwest Region.
With deepest appreciation,
Operations & Volunteer Administrator