My SAM Story

Deborah O’Hara

Deborah O’Hara

After a career in education I joined the Hoover-Metro Kiwanis Club out of a desire to continue giving back to the community. The Kiwanis motto is “Serving the Children of the World,” and to that end we seek to volunteer our service, time, and money raised to assist children and their families.

Our most popular service project is to provide a Saturday lunch for the children and families of Smile-A-Mile! We never have any problem having enough volunteers! (I have participated every summer since 2015, but our club had already been doing so for a time.) We have served at both the sibling camps and the off-therapy family camps. This is truly the most heart-warming event I have ever experienced. To see these children participate in all kinds of fabulous activities, to see and hear their joyful laughter, to see them stand up on their chairs and sing and clap…well, it is just very touching and rewarding. Considering what they have had to endure, it reminds us of how very fortunate we are.

When SAM opened their new building downtown, Smile-A-Mile Place, I learned much more about the work they do beyond hosting camps sessions. The facility is beautifully decorated with dedicated rooms and resources to assist the family members in their difficult journey. This service of offering support and respite is so important. The staff members have thought of many ways to ease the difficulties the families must experience. I hope that I will be able to continue for many years to support this wonderful organization, and our club will seek more ways in which we can be of service!