Mothers and daughters raise awareness about The Longest Day®
The Alzheimer’s Association® is one of the National Charity League’s (NCL) national philanthropies. Orla Gallagher, Co-Vice President of Philanthropy for the NCL’s Crystal Springs Chapter, partnered with the Association to raise awareness among fellow members about Alzheimer’s and other dementias. She talked to us about the event and the benefits of mother-daughter volunteerism.
National Charity League
The National Charity League is a philanthropic organization of mothers and daughters who volunteer their time with local charities. The Crystal Springs chapter, based on the San Francisco Bay peninsula, partners with 27 non-profits, including the Alzheimer’s Association.
Each chapter consists of young women (and their mothers) who can join the organization in 7th grade continuing until 12th grade. As a group, the young women come up with a plan for the year ahead on how best to support their philanthropies of choice. Additionally, both mothers and daughters are expected to take on different roles within the organization.
While NCL encourages each chapter to find local charities to support, there are four nonprofits that the organization promotes nationwide. One of these is the Alzheimer’s Association.
Reconnecting with other members
After having spent the last two years volunteering remotely, Orla and the philanthropy committee wanted to have an in-person event. “We’ve been separated, and the last few years have been hard,” said Orla. “We’ve had to be creative. There has to be some service involved, since we’re not allowed to give donations. We were putting bags together with personal notes at home, just by moms and daughters. There wasn’t a connection. We felt like we needed to get people back in person.”
Wanting to do something with one of NCL’s national partners, Orla reached out to Alzheimer’s Association staff. “We wanted to create awareness and build our community,” said Orla. “We have two meetings a year where we come together as moms and daughters. We thought it would be a nice way to rebuild a bit of community and show our solidarity [with the Alzheimer’s Association].”
Orla reached out to the Alzheimer’s Association and asked if someone could come to their mother/daughter meeting and talk about Alzheimer’s and what they could do to raise awareness.
Learning about the disease
In March, Nancy Westcott, Board President of the Alzheimer’s Association’s Northern California and Northern Nevada Chapter, spoke to the group. She explained what Alzheimer’s is and what the 10 signs are. She also talked about The Longest Day.
The Longest Day is the day with the most light — the summer solstice. On June 21, people from across the world will fight the darkness of Alzheimer’s through fundraising activities of their choice.
“Nancy was fantastic,” said Orla. “She hit a note with people. We forget how teens are affected by [the health of] grandparents and parents. Afterwards people gravitated towards Nancy. A lot of people had a story or were concerned about a neighbor. Nancy highlighted that there is help out there and resources available.”
After Nancy spoke, the women went on a short walk. “People took turns walking with Nancy,” said Orla. “It was a nice community event. We’re happy that we brought her to the chapter and that we are partners with the Alzheimer’s Association.
“Since then, I’ve reached out to other chapters in our district. I know that two chapters have gotten in touch with Nancy about doing their own events.”
Promoting The Longest Day
While the women of NCL are not allowed to raise funds, Orla and her chapter continue to raise awareness about The Longest Day and the Alzheimer’s Association. Orla includes information about The Longest Day in their weekly newsletter and on their internal website.
“We did set up a fundraising page, if they would like to donate,” said Orla. “We remind everyone in the newsletter that donations are optional.”
The benefits of coming together
Orla believes that doing things with nonprofits like the Alzheimer’s Association is a way for her and other mothers to bond with their daughters. “It’s about giving your daughters that experience,” said Orla. “[It’s good to] be with the people in your community who need help in a given time.
“You never know when you’ll be a recipient of people helping you. We’re all one big community and we have to help each other out.”
Orla also shared that an event like the one they did with the Alzheimer’s Association is a good conversation starter between a mother and daughter. Orla said, “It’s something you can talk about on the drive home or over dinner.”
Because of the work done through NCL, Orla has noticed a change in both of her daughters. “They’ve gotten more involved in their schools,” said Orla. “They’re more inclined to get involved, be leaders and they’re more confident. I feel like I’ve gained personal growth through it too. It’s been a positive experience for all of us.”
Start a team for The Longest Day by visiting alz.org/thelongestday.
Interested in becoming an Alzheimer’s Association volunteer? Visit alz.org/norcal/volunteer.