Published in JDRF Orange County’s January 2012 Newsletter!
Volunteer Spotlight: Silly Hats & Caps
What exactly is Silly Caps & Hats? Founder Jeanne Mansfield tells us “I had always wanted to be part of the Red Hats’ Society when I retired,” but she gave it a different twist. She started by gathering a group of people with whom she could meet on a weekly basis for a common purpose. They would share friendship, fun, and camaraderie in the process, and while it began with her close friends, it would be open to anyone who wanted to join.
Their purpose was easy to define: to build awareness of JDRF and type 1 diabetes, and to create opportunities for people to get involved –whether for outreach, friendship, social activities or fundraising. Jeanne and Bob’s grandson Robby has type 1 diabetes, and they have been involved with JDRF ever since he was diagnosed several years ago. “One of the big reasons that JDRF was the chosen charity, besides the fact that my friends all know and love Robby and want a cure for him, they also learned that JDRF research is shared and is helping many other auto-immune diseases as well! They all have family with some form of autoimmune disease and feel that Silly Hats is helping them as well.”
In addition to their regular meetings, they have been engaged in many activities: representing JDRF at volunteer and health fairs, creating centerpieces for our Walk activities, and many grass roots fundraisers, including a garden party, pot lucks, bowling, a cookbook and the first annual Peanut Butter & Jelly Golf Tournament, to name a few. The ideas keep on coming!
So where do the hats come in? “The hats are a real conversation starter. Every time someone asks who we are, it gives us a chance to share our purpose with them – tell them about type 1 diabetes and why we need to find a cure for our loved ones.” She adds, “of course, it’s just plain fun to be a little silly and see who has the craziest contraption on their head!”
There were six people at their initial meet-up last April: Jeanne and her husband Bob, their friends Jan and Bob Woolford and Diane and Bob Bratcher. More people have joined the group, with 22 people showing up to their last gathering. And according to Jeanne, the more, the merrier! They meet Tuesdays and 8:30 a.m. at Watson’s in downtown Orange.
Silly Hats & Caps are a great example of how a small group of people with an idea can make a difference. If you would like to join Jeanne, or have an idea that you would like to pursue, please contact Melissa Soderbloom, our volunteer coordinator.