Role: Volunteer and Network Liaison
Number of years involved: 5 years
AnneMarie Hernandez’s favorite organization: Fish for Life! A nonprofit organization headquartered in Southern California with a charter to enhance the lives of special needs individuals by inviting selected groups to enjoy a complimentary half day fishing trip on the sea. The program is designed to provide love and inspiration to a multitude of special needs people while teaching fishing skills and ministering to the value of life.
Recently the Givsum Team had a chance to interview AnneMarie Hernandez regarding her work with Fish For Life. The following are her answers!
How did you first get involved with Fish for Life?
Fish for Life was a Future Leaders of Our Community (FLOC) featured nonprofit in August of 2011. It’s funny because I actually missed that awareness event! However, I have always had a soft spot for the “special needs” community, so I signed up for their upcoming fishing trip hoping to find out more. FLOCers were to meet and greet with all the youth before they left on their trip and share in the send-off ceremonies. The whole experience was so uplifting! I knew at that moment that I was going to continue to be involved. Not too long after, I discovered that the founder Jim Holden knew my best friend’s husband. His description of Jim just made me even more comfortable working with such a great organization and amazing man.
Why did you choose to support such an organization?
The way Fish for Life celebrated those with special needs was infectious! I find that a lot of the special needs people that I have met see things EXACTLY as we all do. They still have ups and downs, they still hurt and feel joy, but they also have this amazing openness. They share their love so freely. That is the most touching thing. They love big, like really big, as does their founder Jim Holden. He is the most loving man I have ever met. He hugs you with all his heart each time he sees you. His love for those kids and people in general is also super infectious. Their motto “We’re Spreading the Love, One Boat at a Time” is no joke!
Was there anything in particular about the mission of the foundation that made you want to
get yourself involved?
I think mostly that they honor those with special
needs. They treat them like movie stars
on that special fishing day. They lay
out a red carpet, tell us all about their lives, we cheer for them and just
make them feel like they should always feel.
They get to fish and spend time with new and old friends. The whole day is centered around pleasing
them and making sure they have the best day!
It is a love-fest!
What do you do for them? Is there a specific moment or challenging experience that you are most proud of?
I do whatever I can. I try to stay in touch with Jim to find out what his needs are for Fish for Life. There are several events and
fishing trips throughout the year. I try to help with awareness, brainstorming, volunteers, and volunteering. It varies depending on the event or trip. I am always ready to step in wherever I can. I don’t think it would be fair to be proud of my own actions, because this is one thing that I don’t do for myself. Although, I do selfishly get a kick out of seeing those kids enjoying themselves! I always leave them with a full heart. I’m proud to be associated with such an authentic, loving organization.
Are there other philanthropic organizations in which you are involved?
I have been involved with several other organizations through Future Leaders of Our Community. I have “dabbled” in some charities and nonprofits as we learn of new causes. I have had a very personal connection to CASA, Mission Hospital, Mauli Ola, and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. I have also volunteered for Surfrider, Oceana, Women Helping Women, the AIDS Foundation, and a few others. I am working toward fine-tuning my involvement with all so that I can be productive in what pulls at my heart the most…and for me that is Fish for Life.
How have you used Givsum to track the events & hours?
Givsum has been such a great tool for me. I like to have things organized. Since I am the administrator for Fish for Life and also a member of Givsum, I have been able to see the benefits of both sides.
On the administrator side, it allows me to upload any upcoming events or activities quickly and easily. There is also a merchant option, which is extremely helpful. Once you have the merchant side set up, you have a place where a member can volunteer, donate, and/or purchase tickets to events/activities. This is helpful in a world where we have A LOT going on at one given time. It also helps to keep a log of past volunteers so that you can invite them to participate in the future.
On the member side, it allows me to carefully track all that I’m involved in and I personally feel that it helps me to inspire others to participate. Not only can they see what I (and others) am doing, but if they feel a tug to get involved, they can go to
one place and find out more, get signed up, donate, share, and connect with other like-minded individuals. They can also explore other opportunities.
*How does one become a Givsum Superhero? When a Givsum user participates in a charity fundraiser such as a walk/gala, volunteers at a local homeless shelter, works to clean up the environment, mentors a child, or simply donates to their favorite 501c3 charity, they become a local hero for their community. As one tracks their philanthropy on Givsum, and inspires others to do the same, their Givsum Score will grow. Any Givsum Score above 100 is considered superhero territory and is worthy of celebration.
For a limited time, users with a Givsum Score above 100 can email their score to firstname.lastname@example.org and receive a Givsum Superhero mask. Be sure to include a mailing address!