As we all know, volunteers are extremely valuable to us at Dance for the Cure. They are the reason we can do such great things with this organization, since it is solely volunteer based. We have two very special volunteers in the spotlight this month: Linda Colatriano and Annamarie Masler.
Linda Colatriano began volunteering for DFC in 2017 in memory of her late mother, since she had loved going to the event. They had first gone together to support Arleen Kornbluth, a loyal Dance for the Cure volunteer. Arleen encouraged Linda to start volunteering in memory of her mom.
“One fun memory is when I first walked into basket central. It was so big and organized just like a small business. Never expected the place would be so big. I continue making fun memories with all the other volunteers especially the basket genies.”
When asked why volunteering is so important to her, she responded “I was raised to always give back.” Her parents were the prime example of working hard and accomplishing great things from doing so. Coming to this country prior to knowing the English language and with very little money, they still managed to give to those in need.
“I just feel giving back is the way it should be. Fills my heart. It is wonderful seeing the generosity from volunteers and those in attendance.”
During a summer of 2018 potluck hosted by none other than Kathleen Cirioli, Dance for the Cure Co-founder, and her husband Bob Cibulskis, Annamarie Masler became interested in volunteering at Dance for the Cure. Judy Craven, a long-time DFC volunteer, had been talking about building raffle baskets for the Ribbons of Hope event that occurs each October, and it caught her attention. She often made gift baskets for family and friends, so she thought she would love to help.
Annamarie soon began volunteering her mornings and was shocked by the utter talent of the basket genies. She referred to them as “basket geniuses”—they had endless creativity and engineering skills in being able to piece together each basket to create masterpieces. Thanks to some awesome mentors, it did not take long for her basket-making skills to reach their level.
The core basket genie group consists of a number of energetic women. Annamarie says, “these women are fun to work with. There is always a little teasing, but mostly the ladies are wonderfully selfless and generous with their contributions in time, money and spirit. I feel inspired to do a little more each year because of them.”
She explains that “our volunteers are truly a blessing and a big part of the success story that is Ribbons of Hope. But no organization, business, or for that matter, family would be a success without great leadership. We are fortunate to have founders that lead by example. They are fantastic and they work even harder than we do.”
“I don’t know why I have been spared a life-threatening disease, but I am grateful for my good health. I do this work because I enjoy it and as a gesture of gratitude I also do it to honor those women who, but for the grace of God, go I.”