As a fairly recent addition to Southern Maryland’s non-profit scene, the Fairy Godmother Project provides assistance to families of children battling pediatric cancer. This week’s Friday Focus caught up with Vicki Hoffman, the project’s chapter coordinator, who spoke to us about the organization’s work and one particularly special experience with a family it was able to help.
Q: Tell us about your organization. Who do you serve?
A: Fairy Godmother Project began in Fredericksburg, VA in 2011. The mission of the organization is to ease the burden of families who have a child in treatment for a form of pediatric cancer.
Fairy Godmother Project supports parents in crisis so they can spend more quality time with their children. Day-to-day tasks and household chores take a backseat when you have a sick child. These parents in pediatric cancer families need extra support because what they are facing is unimaginable. Some of our services include: meals, lawn care, professional house cleaning, date nights, haircuts and professional photography. Gas cards are also donated to these families to help ease the cost of gas for endless trips to the doctor’s office.
Since the organization’s formation in Fredericksburg, two more chapters have been added to our service area, one in Richmond, Virginia in 2012 and another here in Southern Maryland in the summer of 2013.
Southern Maryland’s chapter currently has over 20 volunteers and currently serves two area families and the requests continue to come. We currently serve only Charles and St. Mary’s Counties. Our goals for 2014 are to add two more families and would like to add Calvert County to our service area.
Q: What has been your favorite “moment”?
A: Recently one of our children suffering from cancer was honored at a local sporting event as a community hero. Our chapter coordinator, Vicki Hoffman, who also served as this family’s lead volunteer, had the privilege of spending the game with this family and all extended relatives. She was honored to meet grandmothers, aunts, uncles, cousins and many more. She was welcomed with hugs and much gratitude and introduced as “the fairy godmother”. She was so humbled to be called “family” by this wonderful group of people. Their appreciation that day and the invitation into their lives was by far the best moment. Vicki was moved to tears and was ever so confident that her hard work in bringing this organization to the Southern Maryland community was one of the best decisions she has made and this “job” was by far the best and most rewarding.
Q: What is the biggest challenge facing your organization?
A: Our biggest challenge so far is being able to serve all of the families in the Southern Maryland area in need. We are looking to increase our volunteer base in order to be able to meet this need and have concentrated a great deal during our first year on fundraising in order to be able to service any family that may apply for assistance.
Q: How can people really help?
A: We are always looking for volunteers to help with meal making, fundraising, and in many other roles and capacities. We have many different opportunities ranging from a few hours a month to a few hours a week. All volunteers must go through an application process, and can apply online at www.fairygodmotherproject.org. We are also always in need of donations to help us further our mission to ease the burden of everyday life for these families. In order to provide services to one family for one year, we must raise $5,000.
Q: Advice for someone looking to work for a non-profit:
A: Non-profits can be the most rewarding job you will ever undertake. You need to be a very organized person and be prepared to juggle many tasks at once. Non- profits are a tremendous amount of work, but just knowing that you are giving back and making a difference in the lives of others makes it all worthwhile.
Q: Do you have any upcoming events?
A: Our second annual Silent Auction Fundraiser Event is currently being planned for the Spring. Please like us on Facebook Fairy Godmother Project Southern Maryland Chapter or visit our website to keep current with our upcoming events.