Cancer Kindship founder Yolanda (Yoli) Origel is just one of UHSM’s ambassadors doing amazing things in her community. As a 15-year cancer survivor and nonprofit leader whose mission is focused on addressing the diverse needs of the local cancer community, she realizes the impact of Cancer Kinship’s mission is made possible by the power of nonprofit collaborations, community partnerships, and volunteerism.
Throughout the past fifteen years, she has had first-hand experience of the profound impact that nonprofits have on the cancer community in Orange County, California. Daily, she sees the impact Cancer Kinship has on the lives of local cancer warriors. Moreover, nonprofit service deeply shaped her youth and continues to impact her professional adult life in a meaningful way.
What began as a simple volunteer service project more than 30 years ago in in her small hometown of Exeter, CA in 1993, has led her down the path of personal and professional development. As a teen volunteer, she learned about the power of collaboration when a group of concerned community leaders put their heads together and decided to invite a small group of kids to help determine what to do with an empty grocery store in the middle of town during the height of the methamphetamine crisis in rural Central CA. The group became a Youth Advisory Council, and with help and guidance, they developed what later became the Exeter Boys & Girls Club, which still stands today as a part of a much larger network called the Boys & Girl Club of the Sequoias.
So, when Yoli decided to develop a nonprofit organization, she ensured that Cancer Kinship directly addressed health equity and social determinants of health, which deeply impacts cancer patients’ ability to not only beat cancer but thrive after a diagnosis. From providing emotional support in the form of peer mentorship to organizing educational workshops, providing free wigs, and community resource navigation services, Cancer Kinship offers tailored solutions that address the specific needs of cancer patients, survivors, and thrivers (defined as those living with metastatic and incurable cancers).
Recognizing that the needs of the cancer community are so vast and diverse, building collaborative partnerships was and continues to be a priority as we address the needs of our cancer community. Cancer Kinship, and nonprofit community partners like UHSM and others who have supported our growth throughout the past five years, tackle health equity head-on by establishing initiatives to bridge gaps in care. The work is powered by committed volunteers, donors, members, and community partners that empower us to serve, and we rely on their partnerships to keep our missions alive.
Nonprofit staff and volunteers work tirelessly to improve their communities, often within the most at-risk or underprivileged neighborhoods. They provide valuable insights, serve as trusted messengers, and as a voice for those they serve. They ensure that community members have access to resources and support that make a difference on their quality of life, overall health, and wellbeing, yet many nonprofits accomplish their missions with limited financial resources.
Our hope on this National Nonprofit Day (August 17) is that you will consider joining forces with a local nonprofit organization whose mission speaks to your heart. How can you support their growth as a volunteer or donor? Are you willing to serve on an advisory council or board? Do you have a particular skill set that can make a difference for your favorite nonprofit organization?
Blog Contributed by UHSM Ambassador Yoli Origel.