Opening Speech at the 2024 CTC Breakfast

written and shared by Ben Israel 

Good morning and welcome to the 2024 Cherish the Children of God Breakfast.

It is another incredible gathering of support and I am happy to see so many familiar friends along with some fresh faces in the crowd.  I’d like to particularly welcome those first-timers today – please raise your hands so we can give you a round of applause.

And I’d like to give another big thank you to the table captains that have worked so hard to bring everyone here this morning.

Lets give them a round of applause.

Without their hard work, we could not pull of this incredible event.

I was first intruduced to Volunteers of America through my wife Lecie.  When we moved to Shreveport, she began working as a grant writer for the organization.

Through her work, I was introduced to many of the outstanding programs that are provided in the Shreveport-Bossier community – programs like the Veterans Home, the LightHouse, and their assisted-living facilities.  I was mostly impressed with how Volunteers of America treated their clients with the compassion and kindness that each one deserves.

After seeing the organization’s impact, we quickly became Cherish the Children Society members, and for a brief time, I was a mentor for a LightHouse kid.

While life progresses and Lecie no longer works for the VOA, I have stayed involved as a board member, our children are now volunteers, and we have since become Evergreen Society members.

Volunteers of America is rooted in the concept that our community can best help itself through philanthropy, volunteerism, and civic engagement. The individuals and corporate partners that give of themselves truly help facilitate the very real success stories that we will hear today.

We read and hear about the many issues facing the children of our community and it is not always clear what can be done to help.  Well, Volunteers of America is here to alleviate some of the burdens.

Through partnerships like Communities In Schools, they are not only providing physical assistance but they challenge the students to meet educational goals that will make them stronger and healthier students.

When I was asked to speak here this morning, the recommendation was to speak about ‘my why’.

Why do I serve on the board? Why do we donate our time and money to this organization? Why do we encourage our children to be involved in the LightHouse?

When I started thinking about it, I thought of something my late father used to say to me – “Well if you don’t do it Ben, then who will?”.

Over the years, I have taken that mantra to heart and now we donate our time and our money to Volunteers of America because it needs to be done.

Because the assistance they provide needs to be available to those less fortunate.  And because our city needs organizations like this one willing to do the hard work.

So, I’d like for you to remember those words when you’re listening to the stories today and think – If I don’t support Volunteers of America, then who will.

Thank you.

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