23750761303_7766b16525_zWow – there are so many reason why I am ambassador. I could go on and on and on. I never leave a Diaper Bank meeting, the warehouse, an event or the Web site without feeling inspired and proud. I have the biggest smile when I come home see a porch full of diapers or when I get to work and you can’t see my desk because it’s buried in diaper donations from a colleagues son’s first birthday party. 

When I tell the story of the Diaper Bank, inevitably people ask how we collect donations.  It’s my favorite question, because it introduces the Ambassador Program.  I get to describe a network of 100 families spread across the greater DC region, who make our work possible by accepting donations and sharing our mission with neighbors, friends and coworkers.  They are an inspirational community!

All you really need to be an Ambassador is a place to collect diapers and a willingness to chat about diaper need with folks and occasionally bring a trunkload of donations out to the warehouse.  Super simple, right?  But this community takes the experience of being an Ambassador so much further.

18467686312_673ea47025_zThey make it a family affair.Philanthropy is part of my day everyday. And the Diaper Bank is part of my family. My daughter lights up when she gets to host an event for the Diaper Bank, my son gets really excited when he gets to stack the newly bundled diapers at the warehouse and my heart flutters when I think about what the volunteers and leaders are doing to help the families who need us.

They make it a mission.  A few Ambassadors took this article from last July’s Atlantic and made it a rally cry on their neighborhood list serves, which increased our donations and added more Ambassadors.  Thanks to a few emails, we are able to support more families.

They make it personal. I ambassador because after my first child was born, I had massive complications and absolutely every task became an ordeal.  So many friends and family members reached out and did “little things” for me that meant the world to me.  When I read your mission statement, I knew I wanted to help out because something “little” like a $10 package of diapers could really mean the world to a struggling mom.  Being a parent to a child in diapers is hard enough without worrying about the ability to afford those diapers.  So impressed with all you’ve done to make the world a better place!

15828316515_9a80fd6b7d_zThey make it meaningful.As a school psychologist I am well aware of the importance of early secure attachment and how it can impact all aspects of a child’s development.  I think using diapers as a “gateway” service to support families in need and get them hooked up with additional services and supports is critical work that can make a huge impact on the long term success of families and children.  I am new to this but I look forward to learning more and supporting the mission as much as possible.”

They make it count.
I work full-time, have two kids, volunteer on an international board, coached a girls’ running team, and I NEEDED to do something about this diaper issue. Diapers should not prevent parents from working, from placing their child in daycare. Diapers shouldn’t be reused and shouldn’t be shoplifted. So when there was a FB post about joining DCDB’s Ambassador program, I immediately emailed the person who posted it. OF COURSE I was going to be an Ambassador–how could I not? How could I sit in the comfort of my home, knowing I can provide diapers to my own children when there were parents out there who couldn’t? How could I raise my children to be generous and kind if I couldn’t give up my time to do something so powerful? To me, there was no question about it. It was something I had to do. I love being an Ambassador. It is such a powerful, impactful volunteer role and one I do not take lightly. I know that doing something as simple as collecting diapers in my neighborhood significantly impacts the lives of those in need IN MY OWN COMMUNITY. And there’s simply no reason on earth I could say no. We’re all busy. But that should never be an excuse not to help those in need.  Why do I ambassador? Because I can’t NOT ambassador. 

15218397843_a5c2ddaf30_zDCDB runs on volunteer power and no volunteers are more committed or more enthusiastic than our Ambassadors.  Their energy and effort goes well beyond their front porches, and it really matters- to DCDB, the families we support, and the communities we serve.

Want to be a part of this amazing group of volunteers?  Email info@dcdiaperbank.org for more information!

-Lisa Oksala