For one local mother of three, Chanael Warren, volunteering has always been a way of life. Originally from Gary, Indiana, Warren has lived on the East Coast for barely two years but that hasn’t stopped her from getting involved and making a difference.
When she and her husband Shawn decided to move their family to Wilmington in the summer of 2010 they knew that without a doubt, it was going to be a huge change. With no family or friends in the area, they set out become a part of a whole new community and set of friends.
With their oldest son playing Pop Warner and their middle daughter involved in cheerleading it wasn’t long before Wilmington began to feel like home. The community, however, that their children were quickly becoming a part of was as Chanael pointed out, a lot different from the one that she grew up in.
The Warren’s knew how lucky they were and that was in many ways, the reason Chanael was determined to find a way to help people who were not so fortunate.
“Both my husband and I grew up in neighborhoods that would be more similar to Dorchester/Roxbury than Wilmington and we know first hand that it is possible to be successful in spite of your circumstances,” she explained. “This makes volunteering in those communities important to us.”
For Chanael the opportunity to make a difference came in the form of an organization called United Sisters of Color.
“I got involved in United Sisters of Color because they stand for two things that are dear to my heart - building bonds between women and volunteerism,” she said.
A perfect fit for Chanael’s desire to volunteer, the United Sisters of Color’s mission statement sums up the goals that she is so passionate about.
"United Sisters of Color is a human service organization of women who are committed to promoting social justice and providing services to youth, adults and families from underserved urban communities. Through our grassroots efforts we will achieve this with opportunities for development, mentorship and pathways to education and employment."
Recently Chanael began supporting one of the United Sisters of Color’s causes - "Operation Backpack."
The United Sisters of Color Operation Backpack Benefit Run/Walk, scheduled for Sunday July 22, is as their website explains, “an effort to provide 400 school bags filled with supplies for Boston children in need in grades K-12."
So much more than a simple fundraiser, Operation Backpack is an event that is meant to provide hope for the future.
“As we struggle and fight to get a new technologically sound high school built for our kids in Wilmington, it is easy to forget that there are kids who go to school every day without the basic school supplies of pencils and paper,” Chanael explained. “And whether their parents are struggling to make ends meet or just being irresponsible, the children deserve a chance at creating a better life for themselves and education is a critical part of that…this is why I am involved in Operation Backpack.”
On July 22, Chanael plans to run 2.5 miles around the Franklin Park Golf Course and hopes that at the same time, she can raise both money and awareness for Operation Backpack. If you are interested in donating to the event please visit Operation Backpack online.