Walking into the new Planned Parenthood facility in Vancouver, WA one is greeted by friendly people and an immaculate environment. Like any kind of medical clinic, there’s a sterile, professional feel to the space. This is a serious place with a serious mission: to provide quality reproductive care to the community it serves.

Field Organizer Laura is proud of the new facility, which was specially renovated for Planned Parenthood’s needs.

“Having a fresh new space brings dignity to women’s health care,” Laura said of the new clinic.

On the night I visited, volunteers gathered to kick off a time of action for the 2012 campaign season. Twice weekly phone banks were scheduled, and sign up sheets were available. Short video clips were shown and words of encouragement provided for supporters of PP. The event was designed to ask folks to donate a precious commodity: time.

Volunteers are essential to the political action component of Planned Parenthood, which advocates for issues and candidates that further the cause of reproductive health care access. Laura discussed the importance of Legislative Action Members, calling this group of frequent volunteers the “Good Gals.” In Vancouver, they’re identifiable by the cool pink tees.

“It’s a way of volunteering at a high level,” she says. Calls made by these volunteers are wide-reaching, covering state and national issues and candidates.

Volunteering for Planned Parenthood, or other progressive organizations, is a great way for folks to work towards a better world. Not everyone is interested in campaigning for a candidate, but everyone I know believes strongly in at least one political issue. There is no better way to demonstrate a sincere belief than by donating time to support it.

Many well-meaning people I know stick their noses up at politics, telling me, as kindly as they can, “I’m not into that stuff.” Fair enough; but I know everyone is “into” being able to get birth control. Access to STD screening and treatment is something everyone wants everyone else to have. Planned Parenthood is an especially good cause to donate time to, as it helps those who wouldn’t have access to these services any other way. And yes, in this country, this is political.

PP is a perfect case study of where personal lives and politics interface. I advocate for PP politically because when I was 20, this organization helped me to receive the services I needed to stay healthy and prevent unwanted pregnancy. What this meant for me personally was being able to get through college and a few bad romantic relationships child-free. PP gave me options, and helped me to have time to grow up and make better choices. At PP, political action translates to personal improvement.

Everyone says their busy, and I know we all are. But everyone has a few hours to spend a month making their voices heard for a cause they believe in. Planned Parenthood is one of those causes that directly helps improve peoples’ lives. It’s a great place to find a reason to get involved.

For more info, check out their Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/PlannedParenthoodAction

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