Name: Mary Fran Quindlen
Organizations: St. Peter Catholic School, Beaufort High School Theater Guild, St. Peter's Catholic Church, John Paul II Catholic School, Homes for the Holidays
Town: St. Helena Island
Positions: School board member and fundraising volunteer at St. Peter Catholic School, board member of Beaufort High School Theater Guild, member of the finance council at St. Peter's Catholic Church, committee member at John Paul II Catholic School and volunteer with Homes for the Holidays
Making time for everything. Truthfully, I carve (time) out of my work day (for volunteer work). The three things I think are incredibly important to keep me sane are: I try so hard to get eight hours (of sleep a night), but if I get seven, I'm doing OK. I go to church, and being Catholic, it's only an hour a week, but to me it's like a huge hour of sitting and not thinking about the stress but thinking about, "I really am lucky to have teenagers that are healthy and happy, even though sometimes I want to hurt them." And I jog. I would say I run, but what I do is no longer qualified as running. It's so funny. I had to have hernia surgery a couple of months ago. ... One of the things the doctor kept harping on me about during the recovery was: "You have to give up the running. I know you're a runner." I kept going, "What I do isn't really running anymore. It's like ambulating forward while I bounce." It sounds like I do a lot, but really I do a whole bunch of shuffling my schedule.
All for the kids. Anything that has to do with my kids, I just want to be involved. And I want to continue to be as involved as a full-time working mom. Sometimes that's the way I'm involved. You know, they love theater, so I help raise money for the theater, that kind of thing.
The right thing to do. Our parents really built into us the notion of the philanthropic. You've got to give back a little. It's good karma. I'm also a little bit of a control freak, so when it comes to things like my finance council, I'm kind of curious what they're doing with our money. ... I joined the Marine Corps because that's what you do. You know, you've got to give back to your country. I feel like we're blessed by God to have the things that we've got, and it's our duty ... I give my time as much as I can because it's the right thing to do. And quite frankly, I think I'd be bored if I didn't. I think I would look for things to do. I don't mean to sound superstitious, but I feel like if you're not giving back, you don't deserve to have.
Do what you love. I think you have to find something that you're passionate about. Occasionally, because I have "sucker" tattooed on my forehead, people will approach me. ... I would say yes to any volunteer thing that came along because I felt like I owed it. You have to find something you're called to, something you're good at. I taught Sunday school for a while, and they assigned me to the little kids a couple times. I'm just not good at that.
Just get involved. Don't do more than you can handle. Know when to say no. And be 100 percent committed to what you say yes to. I think everybody can probably give a couple hours a week, tops. I don't mean to sound too much like a hippie, but if everybody did that, the world would be a better place.
Follow reporter Amy Coyne Bredeson at twitter.com/IPBG_Amy.