Being Part of the Solution for Children in Our Community
Rather than sit on the sidelines, Carlee Cramer decided to stand up and make a difference for the kids in Madison. For almost two years she has been doing volunteer work with the Rainbow Project, which offers specialized treatment and related services for children and their families who have experienced trauma. Here, she discusses why she became involved.
Madison Magazine: Rainbow Project offers such a variety of programs to assist youth and their families. What specifically do you do as a volunteer?
Carlee Cramer: I do childcare for the Grandparents Raising Grandchildren/Other Relatives as Caregivers group. The program offers grandparents and other relatives serving as primary caregivers for children monthly support, education groups, telephone resources, a monthly newsletter, and child development and management resources. I also volunteer at special events when needed.
MM: That’s quite a lot. What made you decide to get involved with Rainbow Project?
CC: I enjoy feeling like I’m contributing to a solution. It’s easy to just sit back and complain about various social issues. Volunteering with Rainbow, I feel like I’m helping an organization that truly cares about taking action to benefit our community.
MM: An action that you seem to have a big role in. You’re having such an impact on these kids. Do you get something out of it as well?
CC: I am grateful to have the opportunity each month to serve an organization that does so much to serve children and families in our community—that I get to help out by engaging in fun activities with a great group of children for a couple hours is certainly an added bonus.
MM: You’re obviously passionate about helping the youth in our community. Is this a solo act, or do you share this passion to volunteer with family and friends?
CC: My husband Rob is also very involved with the Rainbow Project. He serves on the board as well as volunteering for some of the special events throughout the year. Right now he’s working on the upcoming Rhumba 4 Rainbow.
MM: That’s a great connection you two can share. Can you elaborate on the Rhumba 4 Rainbow event?
CC: Of course. The event is our largest fundraiser, and Madison’s Premier Salsa Event, and helps prevent child abuse. This year, the day has been officially proclaimed Rhumba 4 Rainbow Day by the state of Wisconsin, Dane County and the city of Madison. It’s a fun-loaded event featuring live music, performances by World Salsa Congress Professional Dancers, a silent auction, dance lessons and lots more.
MM: Sounds like a packed event. Do you have any parting words for others interested in volunteering with Rainbow Project?
CC: It’s difficult to put into words the fulfillment or “glow” that I feel when I volunteer for Rainbow, but that’s what I would try to convey—there’s such great purpose and promise in the work that Rainbow does, why not do what you can to help in the advancement of those efforts?
You can do your part by joining Carlee at the 8 Annual Rhumba 4 Rainbow event on Friday, September 21 at Union South-Varsity Hall. Tickets and more information are available at rhumba4rainbow.org.