At first HEROs was only something to do. Joining the special events committee was decided on a whim to put some focus into my life and do something out of the ordinary. In this committee, I met two of the nicest human beings, leaders in charge of hosting a 200 person gala on a minimal budget and in about 2 months.
Although I never experienced what HEROs was really about, my two leaders’ hard work and obvious passion for what they were doing led me to be interested in this amazing cause.
After the gala, I signed up for the opportunity to be a driver for the HEROs Spring Kids day where I drove with a partner to Atlanta to pick up the kids and bring them to Athens. Not knowing what to expect, I met 14 amazing “kids” half of whom were over 16 years old.
The events we host are just a small part of the benefits that come from the money UGA HEROs raises, but even that little bit means so much. There is no way to describe how HEROs affects me. Yes, we raise money. Yes, we help kids. But if you’re on the fence about joining, I will say this: HEROs puts a smile on both the faces of children and my own. That’s worth it. The effort we put in, the lives we can affect, and the fun we create make me happy. You’ll read hundreds of testimonies about how HEROs changes children’s lives, but it also changed my heart.
All I knew at the time was that I wanted to join a large UGA organization because it seemed like the right thing to do.
I started out freshman year in the Special Events committee. Words can’t describe how terrified I was walking into that first HEROs meeting. I didn’t know anyone in the committee, and I had absolutely no idea what to expect.
Instantly the wonderful Bayley Bennett (Special Events Exec. Chair/Committee Leader) made me feel right at home, and I felt like I didn’t have that much to fear anymore.
Soon after joining the committee, I interviewed and became a member of HEROs Freshman Council (DO IT). Never have I met such a great group of inspiring individuals—led by one of the greatest human beings in the world, Mr. Kyle Southerland. My time in freshman council was what really made me figure out how much of an impact we as HEROs members have on our precious gifts, THE KIDS!
When the spring rolled around, I joined the Alumni Relations committee with a stud named Aubrey Wheeler (Alumni Relations Exec. Chair). I interviewed to become a Team Leader and soon received the news that I had been selected, along with 27 of some of the greatest people you’ll ever meet. When we had our first meeting, there was little awkwardness between us. We all just became best friends.
I think the stars aligned for us with our fearless leaders Sarah Kate Johnson and Hamilton Way. Using the term as a compliment, these two are freaks. I don’t think either of them could ever run out of energy (trust me, I don’t think I’ve ever seen them calm).
Crazy as they may be, they both have the biggest hearts for HEROs. We as TLs will always try our best to reach the passion they have for HEROs, but I don’t think that will ever be possible—I think I speak for all of the TLs when I say that I am freaking pumped to get my philanthropists this fall.
I want to do my best for them, and I’m sharing my story with y’all so you can join with me to help give these children the amazing lives they deserve. When you make the decision to become a member of HEROs, I guarantee you are making the best choice of your life.
I have not been in HEROs very long, but every minute since I joined has felt nothing short of amazing. Even as an outside observer, HEROs always seemed like a large community deeply connected by one important cause: to help children know they are more important and loved.
That’s what HEROs means to me. Family. We help families while we build our own. Every day I am inspired by my fellow HEROs and their unwavering dedication to our kids. Each level of our organization, from team members to the Board of Directors, is bursting with passion and compassion, driven to make a tangible difference.
It’s easy to look at a big organization like HEROs and only see our fundraising goals, but if you look a little closer you’ll see we are much more than that. And I am so honored to be a member.
I didn’t quite realize how much of a difference HEROs makes until I met the HEROs children.
Seeing their joyful smiles and hearing their laughter showed me the impact this organization can achieve when we work together to make a difference in the lives of children infected with and affected by HIV/AIDS.