Valentine’s for a cause

COURTESY | PHI MU SORORITY - GVSU’s Phi Mu sisters volunteer for Helen DeVos Childrens Hospital Wednesday, Feb. 8 

COURTESY | PHI MU SORORITY – GVSU’s Phi Mu sisters volunteer for Helen DeVos Childrens Hospital Wednesday, Feb. 8 

Ty Konell

The popular phrase “children are the future” was honored by the Grand Valley State University sorority Phi Mu Wednesday, Feb. 8, when the Greek organization volunteered at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital.

The organization’s event at the hospital involved the sorority members making Valentine’s Day cards with the children. It was said by Phi Mu members that activities like this allow the children to feel an escape of sorts from the daily struggles of their illnesses.

“They get to do normal things that they might do in school if they were healthy enough like make Valentines at a Valentines party at school. They also talk with us about their dreams and what they want to be when they grow up,” said Anne Dunbar, member of Phi Mu’s Philanthropy Committee. “It’s funny to have playful conversations with them. It also gives the parents a little break, so they can get coffee or give attention to a sibling. Some parents thanked us for that.”

“The event allowed members to see the children we help year round raising money,” said Quintanilla Dowdell, community service chairman for the sorority, “But also to see how the children still has a smile on their face. Allowing cancer not to bring them down, but to make them into a stronger person.

“As the leader of the event and the person who made it all happen, I was so incredibly proud and blessed to have sisters in my chapter willing to give up some of their own personal time beyond education and Phi Mu to help impact people’s lives who need it the most.”

Moreover, partaking in the event benefitted both the Phi Mu members as well as the children.

“My favorite part of the event was just knowing that I was making someone happy, making a difference in their day, getting to see a smile,” said Dunbar. “I also am so excited that working with kids and in the medical field is something I get to spend my whole life doing.

“Spreading happiness and being optimistic is very important to me. I had so much fun, I hope we get to return soon.”

Furthermore, the members said physically volunteering with the children was particularly special because the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital is part of the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, Phi Mu’s main philanthropic focus.

This past year the sisters raised $28,000 to give to the hospital, and in 2016 they raised $32,000 making a grand total of $60,000.

“We hold a record at GVSU for most money raised for an organization by a student organization,” said Dunbar. “It is also very hard to get to volunteer with sick children, so many girls jumped at the opportunity to volunteer with an organization we directly give back, too.”

“Helen DeVos has a very special place for every lady in my chapter,” Dowdell said. “We work hard to help save children’s lives and allow them to experience another day.”