Volunteer Spotlight: Virginia Cepeda

Virginia Cepeda
Meet Virginia Cepeda,
Connection Board and Gala Volunteer!

Tell us how you first got involved with The Connection
When we moved to Summit in 2004, my husband and I attended The Connection’s fundraiser, Winterfest, before we started a family. My first daughter was born in 2005 and we joined The Connection to meet other parents and toddlers.  For more than 13 years, my three daughters have benefited from parent-child classes in the gym, the Dance Team, TOPS gymnastics, and swim lessons. My two oldest girls learned to swim at The Connection and now swim competitively year round.


Since we loved being a part of The Connection community, I wanted to get involved and work with others who believe in the importance of improving the lives of others in our area.  I have been a member of The Connection’s Board for six years and have chaired the fundraiser, worked on the Strategic Plan, and served as President for three years.   I am grateful for all that I have learned as a volunteer and proud to be a part of such a tremendous organization.


How have you seen lives/the community impacted because of your efforts?     
I have worked on The Connection’s fundraiser for 6 years and believe the funds raised are critical to supporting members of our community. Whether it is learning to swim or learning English, everyone has access to all of the programs through the scholarship assistance fund.


Can you share a personal experience you’ve had while volunteering?
In 2014, I attended Pathways 20th Anniversary celebration and it was a testament to the program to meet so many cancer survivors who volunteered for Pathways Cooks and the Patient Educator Program.  Two years later, I was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 40.  With three young girls, it was a very challenging year for our family filled with critical medical decisions, surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation and more surgeries.  During my three months of chemo, we were the beneficiary of delicious meals from Pathways Cooks every week.  The meals were not only nutritious and convenient, they provided me with strength to forge ahead knowing Connection volunteers cared about my family during a difficult time both physically and emotionally.


What do you wish other people knew about The Connection? 
The Connection is not just a place for children to take dance classes and adults to exercise.  ESL teaches members new to our community how to improve their English and apply for jobs.  The afterschool program allows working parents a safe environment for their children to complete homework and participate in a variety of activities so they can spend quality family time together in the few remaining hours in their day.   Pathways provides support to women battling cancer and truly explains to doctors what it is like to be a cancer patient so they can provide better care.  Adaptive Aquatics teaches special needs children and adults how to swim and socialize.  The programs offered at The Connection make our community a better place for all.


What do you do when you aren’t volunteering?
Typically taking care of my three girls and goldendoodle with my wonderful husband, Shawn!  In any spare moments, I enjoy exercising, reading a good book, watching the latest series on Netflix or cheering on my beloved Tar Heels. 


Anything else you’d like us to know about your experience?
The incredible Connection staff is unlike any other in our area.  They are wholeheartedly committed to this organization and constantly striving to develop new programs and evaluate and improve existing ones.  The long tenure of the full-time staff exemplifies how much they enjoy teaching and value the services that they are providing to all members of The Connection.