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Spotlight on a Give a Mile Volunteer – Riley O’Brien

Give A Mile is 100% run by volunteers, so we are incredibly fortunate to have such amazing group of people on our team. It is our privilege to highlight on our volunteer group, sharing the stories from some wonderful people that help us provide flights for families.

Riley O’Brien is used to keeping everything running behind the scenes so we wanted to shine the spotlight on him and show you all one of the many faces at Give a Mile!

1. Explain your volunteer position.
Along with a team of awesome people, I work on maintaining and improving the Give A Mile website. We’re constantly trying to make information about GAM easily accessible and the donation process as seamless as we can.

2. When did you join Give a Mile?
February 2019 via Dan Godsell, a co-worker turned friend.

3. Why did you decide to volunteer for the organization?
Having worked in travel for years, I’ve seen the power of it to open people’s minds. Give A Mile is just another side of travel but it’s opening people’s hearts. I had no personal tie to it at the time, but once I read up on GAM’s goals and how they were going about it, it was an easy choice to help them on their mission.

4. What’s the most fulfilling part of your volunteer position?
I recently lost my father and didn’t get the chance to say goodbye. Helping GAM give that gift to others is something I can’t describe in words.
 
5. Do you have a memorable GAM experience? Explain.
I live in downtown Toronto and was waiting for a busy streetcar one pre-COVID day when an email came in from GAM. In it was a thank you letter written by someone we had helped see their mother before she passed away and what it meant to both of them to spend those last hours together. Needless to say, I was a ball of tears and decided walking home was a better idea than sobbing on the streetcar! It just really hit home how direct GAM’s impact is in people’s lives, especially at such a tough time.