Last year was an exciting one for the Team Fox Young Professionals (YPs) who added a Boston group to their roster! Established in 2010 in response to the growing number of 20- and 30-somethings who wanted to support the Foundation’s mission, the YP program now includes groups in 5 major cities across the US: New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Washington D.C. and Boston. While a personal connection to Parkinson’s disease inspired many of the founding members, the groups have expanded to include those who haven’t been directly impacted by PD but want to help speed a cure.
We caught up with the Boston YPs to see what they're up to. They also happen to be hosting an event this Sunday at exhale. Join them for a 60 minute Exhale Core Fusion Cardio class followed by post-workout beverages at Battery Wharf. You can purchase tickets here.
Team Fox: How did the Boston YPs get started?
Boston YPs: During January – March 2013, Boston young professionals, Matt Bechtel and Sean Mansoory were both wondering why there wasn’t more of an awareness for Parkinson’s disease (PD) and the Michael J. Fox Foundation in the greater Boston area. Having both been involved with the Michael J. Fox Foundation for quite some time – Matt, with a familial/personal connection to PD through his work with Team Fox, and Sean, with a more academic passion for PD research through his studies at Trinity College and work at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) – they reached out to the MJFF offices in NYC and asked what they could do. Sooner or later, we all began working with the Foundation and recruiting young professionals in the Boston area to found the Team Fox Young Professionals of Boston. Still in its infancy, yet gaining strong momentum with about 20-30 active members, the group was built on three main themes: 1. Raising awareness for PD, 2. Fundraising for PD, and 3. Providing support for members tied to the disease. We held their first event in September 2013 and raised over $8K! We are currently planning for their next event, a Sunday bowling extravaganza, which is set to take place in March 2013.
Team Fox: What was your first event?
Boston YPs: “Party for Parkinson’s” held in September 2013 – a bar event at “The Vault” in Boston, which ended up hosting about 100 of our family and friends. The event was mainly a networking/mingling event with raffles and member speeches at the end following a great MJFF video. We were also very excited to have guest speaker, Skip Irving, a member of the MJFF Board, say a few words during the night!
Team Fox: How did it go?
Boston YPs: We thought the event was very successful as a first event. Things ran very smoothly (albeit some organizational hiccups along the way) and there was a great turnout. We can’t thank MJFF enough for their help in offering us some Team Fox gear and promotional/planning help.
Team Fox: What was the toughest part about planning your first event?
Boston YPs: As a first event, it was difficult to break the YPs in teams and committees in order to take on specific roles and responsibilities during the event since everyone was so new to the group. So, in general, maintaining organization and having the ability to plan quickly was a challenge during the event since various individuals had on various hats. Another challenge as a new group was generating more turnout, which can only be overcome by stronger awareness and more promotion going forward.
Team Fox: What are your plans for next year?
Boston YPs: Our goals for 2014 include planning for the next event (Bowling Party) and holding 2-3 more large events, as well as a handful of smaller events, throughout the year. Additionally, we would also like to strongly promote our two other themes – raising awareness for PD in Boston and providing support among our members – and so, over the course of the next few meetings, we will be working on how to really tackle those two goals. Some ideas include more outreach to academic institutions and publicity for our group in order to raise awareness, as well as guest speakers and casual dinner/drink meetings geared more towards conversation/support rather than event planning.
Team Fox: Anything else?
Boston YPs: We're excited for the new year and look forward to collaborating with the other YPs!