Samantha Grove can’t remember the first time she volunteered to help the Pa. Breast Cancer Coalition. “I’ve been going there and helping out pretty much since I was born,” the 18-year-old said.
These days, however, Samantha—“Sam,” as her friends call her—understands how a few hours a week can make a big difference in changing lives.
“I started volunteering with my mom,” Sam said. Her mother is Tricia Grove, the director of finance and administration for the PBCC. “I enjoy volunteering. I got a taste of it early and it’s been one of my favorite things,” she explained. “I like knowing that I’m going to be helping someone.”
One of the tasks Sam works on is to put together “Friends Like Me” care packages, which are sent to newly diagnosed women. She also helps with events, such as the Pucks with Pros hockey event. “I’m a huge hockey fan,” Sam said with a grin. “Last year, I helped run a table … and I got to wear a Stanley Cup ring!”
Sam is passionate about hockey, but she’s just as passionate about the PBCC. “They’re going out and helping so many women throughout the entire state of Pennsylvania,” she said. “They do so much. You can really see how many women they are helping.”
And the admiration is mutual.
“Sam’s help makes a huge difference to the PBCC because she is able to assist staff with their workloads and take tasks off their plates,” explained Jennifer Pensinger, executive director. “We are able to send her to events and have her do jobs around the office that normally a staff member would have to do so having her help in invaluable. She is a wonderful asset to the organization.”
Pensinger said Sam’s long-time experience gives her a definite advantage. “There was very little learning curve for Sam since she was basically born into the organization,” she explained. “She knows our programs and services and is able to speak about the PBCC with people she meets at local events and fundraisers. Sam is also very mature for her age and is able to quickly pick up new tasks.”
Sam is a senior at Cedar Crest High School, where she is president of the drama club. She also works at the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire. “I’m a Lady in Waiting to Catherine of Aragon,” she said. “I walk around with the king and the queen holding a basket or carrying water.”
After graduation, Sam hopes to study psychology at Slippery Rock or Bloomsburg University. But she doesn’t plan to give up volunteering. “I would enjoy coming back and helping,” she said.
Andrea Ciccocioppo is editor of Central Penn Parent.