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These volunteers bring valuable knowledge to roles

MaryBeth Hollinger has been called an angel … several times.

Julie Gortze has received tearful gratitude.

MaryBeth and Julie have a passion for volunteering, and MitoAction is a grateful beneficiary of their work.

They offer something very valuable to the Mito community. They’ve been there and they understand. Julie has Mito; MaryBeth’s family has been touched by Mito as well.

They have both heard “you made me feel better. No one has understood me before.” To the Mito community, that’s a life-changer.

“Volunteers are the heart and soul of our mission,” said Cristy Balcells, RN MSN, executive director of MitoAction. “To be a volunteer, helping another family and knowing exactly how it feels to be in their shoes, is a gift and an incredible opportunity for both the volunteer and the person receiving support.”

Said Julie, “I’ve been in that place and if I can help someone else to have an easier time, instead of feeling overwhelmed … I can make a difference. I feel I can offer something; I’ve learned it firsthand.

“To speak with someone who knows where they’re coming from, it makes a difference. I want to share that.”

MaryBeth is MitoAction’s Mito411 coordinator, a support group moderator, and a member of the Advocacy Task Force.

Julie’s volunteer duties are too lengthy to list, but the highlights include Mito411, support group moderator, Advocacy Task Force, the driving force behind the Navigating newsletter, Mito Social host, Mito Support of New England founder, and legislative advocate.

“It’s that feeling you get when you help someone,” MaryBeth said. “I like that people feel less stressed and more empowered by knowledge.”

When MaryBeth fields a call from someone who is in a low place, she’ll tell that person: “Let’s break it down … you can do this!”  And it’s an amazing feeling when the caller realizes it, too.

MaryBeth believes deeply in volunteerism. “You can make your corner of the world a better place,” she said. “You get rewards you didn’t even know you needed.” In addition to her MitoAction work, MaryBeth volunteers with Therapy Dogs International and has coached sports teams, managed music groups, and more.

“It’s the satisfaction of helping others,” Julie said. “It’s such an awesome feeling when someone comes up to you and says, ‘Thanks so much, you were so helpful.’”

Julie and MaryBeth are both nurses … and advocates. MaryBeth stopped working after her fourth child was born; Julie is medically retired. “Volunteering now is a huge thing,” Julie said. “I believe in stepping up if there’s something to do.”

MaryBeth and Julie both stress you don’t need to be a medical professional to make a difference. “Life experience is hugely important,” MaryBeth said. “What you’ve experienced and how you’ve handled it … take that and help others.



To volunteer for the 2015 Derby Day event or the 2015 Energy Walk & 5K, go to VolunteerSpot!