Summer Channell is 22 years old, just graduated from Old Dominion University with a degree in Exercise Science, and can often be found helping out at the Roc Solid warehouse and leading playset builds on the weekends. For Summer, volunteering at Roc Solid is more than just helping out or filling volunteer hours—it’s building true, lasting hope for the families, the sponsors, the volunteers, and the Roc Solid team at every build. “I first heard about Roc Solid around 2014 through my cousin Taylor. Taylor was really involved with Roc Solid and loved to share what Hope looks like. I would see Taylor’s videos and pictures of the kiddos seeing their playset for the first time and always having the biggest smiles on their faces, and thinking I want to help build hope and be a part of that experience one day,” Summer says. After their cousin Taylor suddenly passed away, Summer and her sister, Fallon, wanted to get more involved at Roc Solid to carry on Taylor’s legacy and passion for the mission.
After hearing about Warehouse Wednesday, a community volunteer opportunity every third Wednesday of the month, Summer made time in her busy college-student schedule to come help out. No matter what the project is, Summer is always ready to help fold t-shirts for our build volunteers, tie QR codes onto popcorn bags to help people learn what Roc Solid is all about, or pack boxes of toiletries for our Ready Bag Packing Parties. As her love for Roc Solid grew, she also wanted to get more involved on the playset side of things.
“My first build was July 18th, 2020. I didn’t get a chance to do a build with Taylor, but did get to do my first build with family members and Taylor’s closest friends in memory of her.” Once she saw the impact these playsets were making on the lives of these kiddos and their families who are fighting pediatric cancer and got to see the power of community in the build leaders and volunteers, Summer was hooked. “I met a couple of the other build leaders and main volunteers for the first time who were all very welcoming and after the build we all went to lunch and I got to know more about them and Roc Solid a bit more and I thought, ‘Wow, everyone is so cool and nice, sign me up for the next build!’” After her first few builds, Summer wanted to jump in on more builds, but volunteer spots were filling up too fast. “I would check every week for a new build coming up that I could do and sign up ASAP to be a volunteer, then my sister told me build leaders got a list of all the builds for the season so then I asked her, ‘how do I become a build leader?’”
Summer started build leader training and soon after, led her first build in April of 2022 for a local girl named Kennedy. “My favorite part of being a build leader is being able to help anywhere that is needed but also stepping back while the sponsor group is putting together the playset and seeing them navigate the instructions, the landscaping, putting on the upper structure, leveling it out and then seeing all of them smile once it comes all together and it’s being revealed.” Summer is just getting started as a build leader and is already signed up to lead several playset builds this summer. “Every event, build, and Warehouse Wednesday I’ve been on has been so memorable. It’s hard to choose one when there are SO many! Whether I’m working at an information table and sharing what Roc Solid is all about or at a build seeing the kiddos’ and their families reactions, it all gets added to my favorite lists!” Thank you, Summer, for showing the world around you what hope looks like!
Want to see what hope looks like? Volunteer for a Ready Bag Packing Party or a Playset Build, or come help out at the warehouse in Chesapeake, VA using the volunteer calendar.