Index of Updates
2009 CCCSFAAA President
You make a living by what you get,
but you make a life by what you give.
-- Winston Churchill
I have recently begun to ponder why I have devoted many hours of my "free" time to
volunteer for CCCSFAAA. Why have I done it in the past and why I plan to do it in the future.
To understand that, you must understand a little about me, where I came from and the values
that were instilled in me at an early age.
I have a history of volunteering. It started when I served on the Youth Council in High
School. This was an advisory body to the Torrance City Council. At the early age of 16,
I was chair of a Vandalism Task Force for the City of Torrance where I led and directed
meetings with adults 30 years my senior. I also was a precinct Captain for a local city
clerk race where I oversaw a team of volunteers.
After graduating College, I would continue my volunteer efforts with the Gay and Lesbian
Resource Center of Santa Barbara and the Greater Santa Barbara Community Association
(a gay and lesbian business and professional association).
What or who inspired me to do this then and still today?
The simple answer is my parents. They both instilled in me values that guide me today.
My father modeled what it meant to be a hard worker and lead a team of individuals as a
Vice President of Sales. His calm demeanor is something I try to aspire to and remember.
He traveled a lot for business when I was growing up and even traveling internationally at
the end of his career. As a young boy, his traveling seemed glamorous to me - getting on
airplanes, staying in hotels in far away cities. As I have traveled for CCCSFAAA, the
travel in itself does not seem so glamorous.
My mother was and still is the ultimate volunteer. She has been recognized by so many
organizations for her dedication and service - too many to name. I remember as a young boy
seeing her volunteer for the local PTA at my elementary school and lead the homeowner's
group in the area I grew up in Torrance. Her simple cause was to see a park built at the
end of our street for myself and my brother and other youth in the area. While the park did
get built, I was grown and moved out. However, my niece and nephew have had the opportunity
to enjoy it as they have grown up. Later she continued to volunteer for the City of
Torrance as a member of the City Council and eventually as Mayor.
As I have mentioned I grew up in Torrance in an upper middle class household. Unlike many
of the students that we work with, I grew up in a comfortable existence. My family afforded
me the opportunity to travel by plane and take vacations to far away places. However, with
this opportunity, my father and mother raised me to believe that with opportunity comes
responsibility. I should give of my money and more importantly my time for causes and
issues that are important to me personally.
Soon after joining the Community College System five years ago, I was asked to become
involved in CCCSFAAA as a representative for Region 6 and continue my volunteer efforts.
The person that asked me to step up and contribute was Beth Asmus, your CCCSFAAA Past
President. I know that Beth saw willingness in me to serve and someone who could at one
time become a leader of this organization. She has become one of many mentors that I have
looked to for guidance in my professional life.
As my role in the organization has changed from region representative to Treasurer,
President Elect and finally your 2009 President, I have become to understand why I
volunteer. Ultimately, I know the work we do in our profession makes a difference in the
lives of the students we assist. My work in CCCSFAAA is simply an extension of my day to day
work but on a more global level to advance the profession of financial aid in the California
Community College system. My life has been enriched by the people I have met and the
opportunities I have experienced as a result of my volunteer activities.
Initially volunteering can seem scary and uncomfortable. It is not unlike the time that I
hiked up Long's Peak in Colorado. This Peak is 14,259 feet tall. Most time of the year, the
peak is covered in snow and requires technical abilities and equipment to climb to the top.
During one summer several years ago, my boyfriend and I left before dawn in the dark to
start the 8.4 mile round trip climb from 9,400 feet. Our destination was Chasm Lake at
11,760 feet just below the summit of the peak. There was uncertainty to this hike as I was
unfamiliar with the route not unlike the feeling when considering a new volunteer
opportunity. There was a bit of danger with the hike as we needed to off the mountain
before lightning storms came in as we would be above tree line for much of the way. The
sense of accomplishment that I felt was overwhelming when we reached that beautiful alpine
lake and I briefly dipped my toes in the frigid water. It is not unlike the feeling I get
today when I have accomplished a volunteer task.
I ask each of you to consider giving a little bit off your time to volunteer for CCCSFAAA.
You should have a volunteer form at your table. We ask you to consider filling that out and
leaving that as you exit. Volunteering can mean staffing the registration table at the
conference for an hour or two, it can mean serving on a committee with periodic phone
meetings, it can mean writing an article for the newsletter. CCCSFAAA has opportunities
based on your level of interest and your available time.
Your 2009 CCCSFAAA Board and I look forward to serving the organization and the membership.
I invite you to join us in doing that. Together, we can help make a difference in the lives
of our students.
CCCSFAA President, 2009