Volunteer Profile: Laurie De Jesus
For Laurie De Jesus and her mother Sandy Miller, giving back is a family affair. Like so many others, Laurie and Sandy have had their lives permanently altered by cancer. The disease that took her father when Laurie was 17, and later took Sandy’s best friend, is not strong enough to dampen their altruistic spirit and energetic drive to help the participants of the Cancer Support Community.
When Laurie moved to California in 1996 with her husband Alberto and their two children, she knew she wanted to volunteer in the community. When her mother’s best friend, Gloria Moorman, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, Gloria started participating at CSCVVSB and would tell Laurie and her mother how much she loved it.
“The highlight of every day for her was going to the Cancer Support Community,” says Laurie. “She talked to me so much about it that my mother and I decided we wanted to help them.” Gloria brought Laurie to the Westlake location to introduce her and show her around. “It was so warm and cozy,” says Laurie.
Shortly after visiting, Laurie and Sandy started helping CSCVVSB with its outreach effort, distributing brochures to doctor’s offices in the San Fernando Valley. “I would go with my mom, and we’d go out for lunch and just make a fun day out of it,” says Laurie.
Laurie also volunteered as a front-desk receptionist, and since 2009 has been an instrumental part of the annual Gala, one of CSCVVSB’s largest fundraisers. She has served as committee chair twice, and for the last two years has chaired the celebrity and entertainment committees. Sandy has also made a difference through her volunteer work as front desk receptionist and serving as a docent at the Holiday Homes Tour.
“Laurie is a tremendous asset to the Cancer Support Community,” says CSCVVSB President Suzanne Drace. “She brings a combination of experience, talent, energy and generosity that has made an incredible impact on our ability to support people affected by cancer. We love that volunteering gives Laurie and Sandy a way to spend time together while making a difference.”
As Group Coordinator for Conejo Valley real estate team The McLaughlin Group, Laurie wanted to use her real estate experience to help CSCVVSB in a new way. In May of 2013 the group decided they would donate 20% of their sales commission to CSCVVSB for any real estate transaction where the client requests it.
“The really exciting thing about this initiative is that it allows people to give back without having to write a check,” says Laurie. “People who would be buying a home anyway can now use that purchase to make a significant charitable contribution, and nothing additional is coming out of their pocket.”
For more information, please contact The McLaughlin Group at (818) 610-9995 or www.themclaughlingroup.com.