Holly, an Obama summer fellow in Rhode Island, understands the urgency of this election, because the issues at stake have already impacted her life. She knows how important this election is, and she shares with us the powerful story of why she’s in:
Q1: What makes you tick?
Years ago, when my mother was in college, she had been planning on going to medical school, but, after having children, she decided against it. Then, when I was in 6th grade, my father lost his job. After the recession hit, he was left without a good career, making it really hard to provide for the family. Together, my dad worked some odd jobs and my mom began editing papers and doing research in order to provide for us. Unfortunately, my mother has Lupus, making it difficult for her to stay healthy. Our family was once insured under my father’s previous employer, but now we’re covered under COBRA—without which my mother wouldn’t have health care coverage. COBRA helps to pay for prescription medications that my mother so desperately depends on to stay healthy, allowing her to continue to work. This is why health care reform personally affects me and why I want to help re-elect the President.
Q2: What was your motivation for getting involved?
Besides health care reform, education is another issue that I’m passionate about. My parents always encouraged me to go out and change the world, and they knew that the best way to do this was through a good education. When I applied to college, my parents told me not to worry about the money. Honestly, filling out FAFSA was one of the best experiences of my life. I remember clearly, when I received a letter telling me that I could go to school on a Pell Grant, I ran to my mom and told her, “I can go to college!”—I’ve never cried so much. Now, I'm going to Brown University next year, and I’m hoping to pursue my mother’s unfulfilled goals of going to medical school. Now, thanks to Pell Grants, I have the chance to study autoimmune diseases so I can help people like my mother.
Q3: How would you characterize your experience with the campaign? Any advice for those who want to join?
This program is brilliant, just brilliant. You hear from so many amazing people and hear so many amazing things. As for advice, you have to put your heart and soul into it in order to get the same thing from your volunteers. Also, take advantage of the campaign’s many resources. Whether it’s Dashboard, the call tool, or anything really—use it. Capitalize on the opportunities presented to you.
Q4: What’s one skill you’ve most improved on since becoming a fellow?
You become much more aware of where people of different backgrounds are coming from. That is, you’re more aware of an individual’s struggles and experiences. Even if they don’t agree with you, you can at least understand them.
Q5: What’s the most memorable moment you’ve had so far as a fellow?
I went with a group of fellows to New Hampshire to see President Obama speak. We were standing at this rally in the pouring rain, soaked to the bone. It was amazing to see that when everyone should have been miserable, they were more fired-up than ever. Down pouring rain can’t stop passion.
Holly is just one of many extraordinary volunteers working to re-elect President Obama. Will you join her?