We hope their stories will entice you to Join Us as a volunteer!
After moving first to Paris, then to London for an MBA exchange program in 1976, Carol quickly ended up settling down in London after meeting her future husband, and began working in international banking. She later learned about Democrats Abroad from an American colleague, and began volunteering with the Democrats Abroad Global Primary in 2004 during the Bush/Kerry election: “I was adamantly opposed to the war in Iraq and wanted to see Bush defeated.” She continued to volunteer with Democrats Abroad, phone banking during the 2008 Obama campaign, and helped to run voter registration at UK college study abroad programs. In 2015, Carol’s involvement with Democrats Abroad grew when she was asked to run for Chair of Democrats Abroad UK, a position which she held for 10 months, and led to her starting the UK branch of the Women’s Caucus.
“While Chair, I met several DA members from France who had established a Women’s Caucus 20 years earlier. With Allison Gilbert, a grad student who had worked for NARAL back home, in January, ‘16 we started a DAUK Women’s Caucus which grew very quickly during the 2016 Clinton/Trump campaigns and even more quickly after Trump won!” said Carol. “There are now over 400 women members on the DAUK mailing list!”
Other projects Carol has been involved in with Democrats Abroad include, helping to organize over 300k Democrats Abroad UK members to march in the first Women’s March in London, setting up a Healthcare Reform Group in the Democrats Abroad UK Policy and Resolution Committee, and serving on the Steering Committee of the Global Women’s Caucus to support Democratic women running for Congress in 2018, a role which expanded in 2020 when Carol chaired the Candidate Information Action Team, connecting DA members with the fantastic women running in about 25 races through online panels, articles and links to their virtual town halls.
Why volunteer specifically with Democrats Abroad? Carol saw Democrats Abroad as a great way to get involved with politics back home, despite living an ocean away - and, it has become a way to connect with other Americans abroad. “With a job and two children, I wasn’t going to be able to go back to the States to volunteer, so DAUK seemed a way to get involved. It has been wonderful to connect with Americans abroad who are also committed to these issues . . . and it has been quite fantastic to connect with American women around the world who share these passions to find ways to be active from abroad.”
Carin’s motivation for volunteering started in childhood; “My sisters and I were raised to understand the duty/responsibility/joy in helping others. When I was in high school and university, I volunteered all the time (even earning a leadership award from Barnard College for four years of service to the Barnard Community). For all of this, I was following the example of my parents who were always doing something for their neighborhood or community.”
So, after Carin moved to the Netherlands in 2017, it was unsurprising that it didn’t take long for her to start volunteering with Democrats Abroad. “The following spring/summer (after moving abroad), I started looking for volunteering opportunities, and found DA Netherlands. That fall, I returned to university for my Master’s in Public Administration . . . and in the beginning of the term, I attended a DA meeting, and met key leadership for the local chapter.”
From there, her work with Democrats Abroad quickly blossomed. “The following year, November 2019, I saw a job posting for the Global Women’s Caucus IT Liaison and applied. At that time, I volunteered close to full time hours, working on the Global IT Team, plus the Liaison role. Then, I began doing some communications work in advance of the February 2020 Global Presidential Primary (GPP). During GPP, I met Martha McDevitt-Pugh, Co-Chair of the LGBTQ+ Caucus, and began volunteering as IT Liaison for that caucus in March 2020. In summer 2020, I started as GWC Comms Co-Chair working with Stacey Kruckel. We continued serving as Co-Chairs through the election. Today, I've stepped away from the Global IT and Comms team, and now, I'm only working as the IT Liaison for the LGBTQ+.”
“It feels like the world is in great need of kindness and selfless volunteers,” she added. “And, I cannot begin to express my gratitude for the professionalism and dedication of DA's volunteers, especially the Global IT group. Without fame or recognition, that group keeps the lights on! I've so appreciated my time working with them.”
With the 2020 elections finally wrapped up, and Democrats coming out on top not only in the Presidential election, but retaining control in the House and narrowly flipping the Senate, some may feel as though now is the time for a well-earned break. However, as recent events have shown us, the specter of Trump likely won’t be leaving us for some time, even after he’s out of office. That’s why, Carin affirms, the role of volunteers during the upcoming ‘off-season’ (i.e., non-election years) will remain incredibly important.
“It's my belief that we lost down ballot races because too many voters believed the lies about the Democratic candidates, and we (as a party) need to take responsibility for letting the GOP set our narrative. Therefore, in the "off-season,” it's so important that volunteers stay involved and share their creative ideas for engaging potential Democratic voters. . . The Democratic Party needs to build deeper bonds with voters so they know to ignore the lies; we need to figure out a way to write our own narrative and deepen the engagement with casual followers of politics.”
Carol agrees, and adds a reminder that it’s still possible to get involved with local politics back in the US, even from abroad. “Volunteering for Democrats both here in London and in Florida comes from a passion to see our country get back on the path to a more equal and just society . . . Democrats Abroad needs to promote our members to connect with their local Democratic party and candidates to improve on policy and legislation at county and state level. It is so much easier now with online access!”
We’d like to thank Carol and Carin for all of the amazing work that they do! If you’d like to learn more about volunteer opportunities at Democrats Abroad, visit our website: https://www.democratsabroad.org/volunteer. To get started, fill out this form.