By Lisa Capobianco
In 2007, breast cancer survivor Joyce McAloon started volunteering for the Southington Relay for Life. At the time, McAloon began her role as a school liaison, speaking with the members of district-wide PTOs about forming teams to help support Relay for Life.
Since then, McAloon has made it her mission to serving others who are affected by cancer.
“I really feel it’s a part of being a person,” said McAloon, a teacher at Flanders Elementary School. “If you’re involved, you make a difference in someone’s life.”
In 2008, McAloon served as chairperson of the relay committee with two other volunteers, ultimately becoming the sole chairperson this year.
During the 2014 Southington Relay, McAloon received the Sandra C. Labaree New England Volunteer Values Award from the American Cancer Society (ACS).
She was one of eight winners in the New England Division of the American Cancer Society. The award, which honors accomplishments of volunteers, was named in honor of the late Sandra C. Labaree, a founding member of the New England Division Board who served as a long-time ACS volunteer from Maine, according to the American Cancer Society’s website. Labaree lost her battle with breast cancer in 2000.
Every year, members of the New England Board of Directors and delegates choose the most passionate volunteers who live by the American Cancer Society’s organizational values of Mission, Stewardship, Diversity, Data-Driven and Respect.
“It is always something that has come natural to me,” said McAloon, noting how volunteering has always been a part of her life. “Being a volunteer and working with the community gives you a sense of accomplishment.”
From teaching religious studies at her local parish to working with families and colleagues on school PTO’s to serving on the school district’s Veterans Committee,
McAloon has put on a variety of community hats over the years.
McAloon also once served on the Drug Task Force, and was elected to serve as the corresponding secretary on the state board of the Alpha Delta Kappa, an international honorary organization of women educators.
Whether planning for the Southington Relay or helping a child, one lesson McAloon said she has learned over the years is to listen—a lesson that has played a role in accomplishing her mission to give back.
“You have to be a good communicator and a good listener,” said McAloon. “You have to listen to the people you are working with.”