philanthropist_pack

Leader of the Pack

Name:
Marie C. Fernandez

Organization:
Pack of Dogs
www.packofdogs.org

Background:
As acting Managing Partner of  Imagery Creative Communications, Fernandez spends much of her day immersed in the world of corporate marketing and communications, but it was her role as mom to three boys that sparked the idea for Pack of Dogs. “My children and I were looking for volunteer opportunities and kept hitting a roadblock,” she says.  “Even when we reached out to charities, they did not have any activities organized for children. That’s when we decided to create our own portal that connects kids with existing charity work.”

About Pack of dogs:
Launched in September 2014, Pack of Dogs works with charities to provide volunteers between the ages of 10 and 18. Charities submit events electronically to the organization and, once deemed child-appropriate, the event is e-blasted to POD’s database. “The exciting aspect of the group is that the volunteering opportunities vary,” says Fernandez. “The kids can sign up for what they are interested in and it does not become monotonous.” The pack now boasts more than 50 members and Fernandez says events often see entire families come out to connect with community. “Our first outing was visiting Chapman Partnership for the Homeless,” she says. “We played sports with the kids, conducted arts and crafts activities and brought them holiday gifts. I knew we were on to something when there was nothing but silence in the car on the way home after that experience. This is not about purchasing a gala ticket and making a donation. This is about the real experience of volunteering and being directly connected to the cause.” And about that name? Fernandez says though it was inspired by her own running joke about her sons and their many friends, it has a deeper meaning. “Packs usually stick together, creating a bond that lasts an eternity.”

Upcoming plans:
Fernandez hopes to inspire more and more pack members to join the group, with younger siblings and friends taking over for her existing pack as they grow. She also has hopes for a possible scholarship as well as expansion into other parts of the country with new chapters. “Eventually, the Pack of Dogs can become a force within the community that can create the community leaders of tomorrow, children that already know what the feeling of giving back is,” she says. “Kids should learn to give back at an early age so we foster this experience early on, ultimately creating the community leaders of tomorrow.”

 


 

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Do you know someone who has dedicated their time and efforts to a community cause?
We want to hear from you. Nominate them for our monthly Philanthropist column by visiting www.thefloridavillager.com/nominate.

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