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September 21, 2021

Staff member finds purpose and passion in service work around the Magic City

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Candash RMHouse resizeHolly Chandash, office associate in the Department of Anesthesiology Residency Program, has volunteered around Birmingham for nearly 20 years. From serving at food banks and working with the homeless population to hosting charity dinners and organizing fundraisers, Holly has worked with over ten organizations across the Magic City.

While she’s worked in temporary positions at UAB for years, Holly is a new full-time employee, beginning her most recent professional chapter in the middle of the pandemic. Previously, she worked for Alabama Power Company, where she was first introduced to service work.

Holly’s resume of volunteer roles is lengthy. Since 2002, she has volunteered at the Children’s Hospital of Alabama, the Ronald McDonald House, various food banks, March of Dimes, Botanical Gardens, Oak Mountain State Park, Vestavia Hills City Schools, Helping the Hills, and Three Hots and a Cot—just to name a few.

As a six-year active member of the Junior League of Birmingham, she serves as chair of Little Leaguers/Junior Volunteers. Her current placement as a leader and mentor is co-chairing events at the Exceptional Foundation. She is former chair of volunteering at McCoy Adult Day Care.

It’s safe to say that Holly’s passion and purpose is serving others.

The School of Medicine communications team sat down with Holly to find out more about her inspiring roles in volunteerism.

Q: What prompted your volunteer work?

When I worked for Alabama Power Company, they strongly promoted volunteer work. I joined their civic group called “Alabama Power Service Organization (APSO)” and began volunteering in 2002. I served on the APSO board for two years.

Q: Where is the first place you volunteered?

Botanical Gardens Plant Sale

Chandash with kidsQ: What has been the most meaningful volunteer experience?

The Carnival at Children’s Hospital of Alabama was the most meaningful for me. Our last carnival participant was a young boy that had just come from surgery. His dad wheeled him in a Red Flyer wagon to come to the carnival. It touched my heart. Providing dinners at The Ronald McDonald House and monthly crafts with the McCoy Adult Day Care have also been very meaningful. My father died of dementia and I like spending time with the elderly community in Birmingham.

Q: What is the benefit of volunteering numerous places around town?

I see the multiple needs of our community. If I cannot supply my time, I donate money to help with areas, such as diaper banks, essential pantry needs, and most recently, the Fultondale tornado victims.

Q: Why should others volunteer?

It fills my heart to know I am doing good deeds where there is a need. I strongly suggest volunteering when possible.

Q: How do you stay balanced/well with kids, full-time work, and volunteering?

I am currently in my sixth active year in Junior League of Birmingham, and my kids are able to volunteer with me there. I have spent lunches, vacation days, and weekends volunteering and taking my children.