Hello! I’m really excited to introduce you to one of my favorite people that I’ve never met: Megan Seese Livingston. I respect her for her benevolence towards others, and I’m thrilled that she has started the first East Coast Chapter of the Family Service Club in Pennsylvania. I asked her to share her story with us, and I’m sure you will enjoy it as much as I did.
Isn’t it great how life has a way of connecting people at the right time even from opposite sides of the country? That’s exactly what happened a few months ago when I got a message from my Gamma Sigma Sigma sister, Liz Bidula Peak, asking me to check out a new group she was a part of called the Family Service Club. Little did Liz know I had been looking for a way to take my volunteering in a new, family oriented direction…one message from the west coast to the east coast between college friends, who haven’t seen each other in years, and a volunteer spark was made.
So let me step back a minute and tell you a bit about myself, my name is Megan Seese Livingston and you could say I’m a bit passionate about volunteering. If I could be a full time volunteer, I totally would! For me, it’s just been a way of life; I was raised in a family where service and giving weren’t things you were told to do, they were things you wanted to do, it has always been part of the fabric of who I am. Ten years ago, I started a local prom dress project here in my hometown of Johnstown, Pennsylvania. My mom, having been a high school teacher, noted the amount of girls in our community who could likely not afford to attend the prom. After watching an episode of Oprah about prom dress projects, and knowing that my sister and I had our fair share of once worn dresses, we decided to give it a try. Now ten years later, the Johnstown Cinderella Project has helped over 900 girls across five counties in 27 different school districts attend their prom, free of cost and we have over 1,000 donated, new and/or gently used dresses to choose from. But this project is about more than just a dress, it’s about building self-esteem and reaching teens who need to know that someone cares. Many girls come to our project without a parent so having our volunteers spend time to make them feel special is often a rare experience. It’s so much more than sequins and sparkles, there’s just something about that moment when a girl looks in the mirror, her eyes light up and you know that she believes in herself. It’s proof that one thing truly can make a difference.
Over the past several years, I’ve become committed to improving my hometown. We’re a former steel town trying to shake the rust off and bring the positives of our region to light. I am a co-founder of our local young professionals group and a member of a variety of committees, boards and community initiatives. My work through these groups has given me the opportunity to connect with many of our area’s needs. Often people have come to me and asked about volunteer opportunities that their family can take part in. Last year, I created a list during the holidays of ten things families could do to give back locally. It was not long after that when Liz reached out, at the time I was also pregnant with our second daughter and contemplating how we would teach our girls about giving. You could say it was chance or the stars aligning but for me it was all happening for a reason, one I may not fully know the depth of right now but when all signs say go and are pointing in the same direction, I’ve learned to pick up my bags and follow. So I took the leap forward and connected with Kellie to launch the Johnstown chapter of the Family Service Club. The response in our first few months has been great, I love seeing even the smallest connections of love and service to others we have helped to spark but I also know there is much more awesomeness to come. Mother Theresa said, “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples,” we’ve cast the stone here in Johnstown and I’m looking forward to seeing the many ripples!
As you can see, Megan is a leader who cares for others. I am thrilled that she started an FSC chapter, and her group is off to a wonderful start. If this post inspires you to start a Family Service Club of your own, please get in touch, and I can help you get started. Thanks for reading, and let’s go love people on purpose. Sincerely, Kellie