It was a tragedy that made volunteering and helping others the center of Danica Hubbard’s life. Reading about Danica’s volunteering journey reminded me of Gazala and how it was a near tragedy that made volunteering for organ donation a focal point for her.
Hubbard, a resident of Naperville, Chicago, acknowledges that she did some of the typical volunteer activities one might expect to do in Girl Scouts or through church. But it was a tragedy that made her see the light. Her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and then died when Hubbard was 21. The family found themselves on the receiving end of much generosity.
“We experienced charity in reverse,” she said. “People stopped their lives to help us, and the whole process was a turning point for me.”
In March, Hubbard along with her husband, Brian, and their teen girls Morgan and Madison, travelled to Costa Rica for spring break where they renovated a bathroom and painted a classroom at a church. And while they went to help others, what they gained for themselves was much larger. Each experienced something unique from the volunteer travel.
The girls had experienced various volunteering experiences, including at Hesed House in Aurora, but this was a big step, trekking to Central America where poverty is rampant.
Water was limited, the power went out, and creating the colours they wanted meant mixing paint from the few cans they were given.
“I think they need to know that it’s easy in Naperville, that there is a lot of access to resources,” Hubbard said of her daughters.
And Hubbard knows she gained much more than she gave on that trip.
“We had to jump in and get out of our comfort zone,” she said. “I learned more about myself than anything else.”