Youth Volunteer Guide Book from Volunteer New York

An Interview With Jake Gallin, Founder of Stars For Cars

What’s the most fun you have ever had volunteering? 

That’s a difficult question because there have been so many wonderful experiences throughout the six years I have been volunteering.  I probably had the most fun volunteering while selling our magnetic Star decals in New York City with my friends before Memorial Day 2015.  Another fun experience was hosting a baseball clinic for Military Families at MCU Park last summer.  It is always fun attending the Volunteer Spirit Awards!

 

Looking back at the time you’ve spent volunteering, what are you most proud of having accomplished?

It’s not the accolades and the awards, although I am very grateful that people have given me a platform to talk about Military Families, but I am most proud of the relationships that have been formed.  I am proud to have formed lasting relationships with Volunteer New York!, the USO, Prudential Financial, the NY Yankees, and schools all across the country. The most important relationship is with the Gold Star Mother who inspired me to found Stars for Cars. If I can inspire one person to acknowledge the sacrifices of the “Blue Star” and “Gold Star” Military Families then that’s an accomplishment to be proud of.

 

What’s your advice to other youth? 

Connect with something that you feel passionate about. Take that passion and inspire others.  Conversely, if you see that passion in someone else, let that inspire you to serve.  We serve each other to move the world forward. Our generation can move the world forward when we have passion and we inspire each other.  The world can change because we move it, together. 

 

What does it take to be a great volunteer?

If you are volunteering just to check a box, that isn’t a lot of fun.  Engaging in a fun activity with a positive attitude makes a good volunteer.  Passion makes a great volunteer.

 

What has volunteering prepared you to do, what are you working on next?

Volunteering helps to fine-tune my leadership skills and to visualize what real progress can look like.  Within the past week we expanded the “3 Holidays Announcement” from 10 states to 23 states.  Over the next few weeks (after finals), I plan to reach out to national organizations to ask them to say the announcement in their stadiums.  During the summer, I plan to contact every U.S. Military Base in the world to let them know that the announcement is being said at home because people haven’t forgotten about their families.  Since Military Families move on average nine times during a school career, it is important to let them know their sacrifice is acknowledged by whatever community they are in.