As soon as she heard Shelley's speech, she was hooked.
Brittany Campbell’s journey giving back to Mothers with a Heart for Ethiopia started – as it does for so many volunteers – at Gems & Java.
“I attended a Gems & Java in 2014 with my mom, so she brought me to my first event,” Brittany said. “I thought ‘this is amazing! This is a great way for me to get involved.’ So I put my name on the (volunteer) list.”
The rest is history.
The organization is a great fit for Brittany, who had long wanted to give back to those in developing countries.
“I had always wanted to go on missions trips when I was growing up, but my mom was too afraid of me getting killed,” she said with a laugh.
It was Shelley’s heart-wrenching stories about the realities of daily life for millions of people in Ethiopia – and perhaps most importantly, the difference that Mothers with a Heart for Ethiopia is making in those lives – that grabbed Brittany.
“It really brings my mind back to what people are going through there. It's so easy to forget - you’re so wrapped up in your life,” she said. “Every time I hear Shelley speak I go ‘Wow. I can remember that suffering,’ and it just sparks the passion again.”
When she first began volunteering, Brittany sat on the Promotions Committee. But then she began to transition to a much larger role. For close to a year now, she’s been chairing the committee.
Brittany has been at the helm for two annual volunteer appreciation events, most recently the end-of-summer corn roast to celebrate Mothers with a Heart for Ethiopia volunteers and all that they do.
Though the event looked and flowed as if it had been carefully curated during months of planning, in reality it came together in just a few weeks.
“It was a lot of organizing and planning and scheduling and delegating and being creative with roles,” Brittany said, noting that she couldn’t have done it without all eight members of the Promotions Committee.
“(We knew) it was going to be a lot of work, a lot of planning, in a very short amount of time. And everyone needed to be on their A game.”
Brittany was certainly in the thick of things at the corn roast. She was crowd control, the fire starter, and the campfire song leader.
Despite all the work – even postponing the event due to rain – seeing volunteers meet and chat and engage with one another makes it all worth it, she said. The event was somewhat bittersweet, because Brittany is stepping down from her position as chair to go back to school.
“We’re a team, right? I believe in a lot of teamwork and when you don’t get together with your team, you feel like you’re operating in a silo, and you start to lose your passion for the cause,” she explained.
“You feel alone and not very excited or enthusiastic about the work the organization is doing. If you can come together as a team, and even just talk casually, it really amps up your motivation and makes you feel supported.”