Giving Back is the New Black

As we undertake our semi-annual 30 days for $30 campaign, we’re reminded of the strong spirit of generosity typically associated with the month of November. With Thanksgiving just around the corner, many of us pause to be thankful and pay it forward to others.

The Smolders family, though, has made giving back a habit all year long. Raymond, Amy, Dylan and Colin are frequent members at acac West Chester where they have inspired team members and members alike with their strong devotion to community service and support.

Over the years the family has packed meals for local shelters, collected donations for the SPCA, and volunteered with numerous organizations in Chester County, Pennsylvania that help to better the community. Each January, on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the family has a planning meeting and chooses personal projects to complete before the end of the year—acac West Chester has been fortunate enough to help with two such campaigns.

After a volunteer stint at Cradles to Crayons, an organization that provides essentials for children in need, the Smolders noticed a serious lack of resources. Their task was to use items from the Cradles to Crayons shelves to fulfill wish lists of needy children but, unfortunately, many of the lists could not be completed because there were no shoes on the shelf.

“It really hit home for the kids,” said Amy. “They knew that like most families, we have plenty of outgrown and extra [shoes] around the house.”

The brothers banded together and coordinated a shoe drive with neighbors, classmates, and acac—over 600 pairs of shoes were collected through a donation bin at acac West Chester!

Another altruistic occasion surfaced earlier this year when Dylan Smolders hosted a swim relay event with the ACST swim team inCure4Cam Swim honor of Cure4Cam, a local charity benefiting children’s cancer victims. He partnered with head coach Billy Gordon, collected donations with his teammates, and participated in a special relay event held at acac. Together they not only raised awareness about childhood cancer, but they collected over $2,800 for Cure4Cam!

The Smolders and their giving projects are a great example of what it means to live your best and help others do the same.

Our 30 days for $30 campaign is just one of the ways acac gives back to our surrounding community but, of course, there is plenty of need. Amy says, “There are so many wonderful opportunities in our area…they are always so grateful for the help—every little bit helps. Sometimes a contribution may seem small but it all adds up!”

Join acac for $1 a day during November and every dollar of your fee goes to support Wounded Warrior Project. To learn more, visit our 30 days for $30 page.