by Jessica Carreras
Robert Lalicki is one of the co-founders of metro Detroit-based LGBT networking group Ties Like Me. He’s also the branch sales manager for First Place Bank in Troy, and is currently “behind bars” to raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
Tell me about your current Muscular Dystrophy Association fundraising effort.
This is my first year participating in the annual Lock-Up for MDA. When the call came in, I had no hesitation to participate and help such a worthy cause.
MDA provides help for 43 neuromuscular diseases. Having five nieces and nephews of my own, I could not imagine what it would be like for them not to walk, run and play like they did growing up healthy.
Why did you decide to help raise money for this cause?
We can’t do enough to help find a cure so less children suffer from the various forms of muscular dystrophy. The life expectancy of a child with MD has nearly doubled in the past 10 years or so, but it still averages in the mid 20s. That is way too young to lose a life.
How are you using your Ties Like Me connections to help promote philanthropy?
Being a co-founder of Ties Like Me has been very rewarding for me. Folks can see the value of being a part of our networking group, and that is what makes it so successful. The community needs a group like this for so many reasons. We have a voice and we need it to be heard. Being involved in other organizations and nonprofits communicates a message that we, the LGBT community, are concerned about other causes not just the ones that affect own own community.
I also serve on the board of directors for Share A Smile, serve Meals on Wheels to seniors in the Rochester area and have taught Junior Achievement at Bemis Elementary School in Troy for the past three years.
What do you love about volunteering?
I enjoy volunteering for many reasons. We all have a responsibility to step forward and help others in need. We all need help from time to time, and without friends and family, we wouldn’t get very far in life. Its the same for volunteering. Many needs would go unmet without the help of volunteers.
Do what you can. Donations are wonderful, but when you roll your sleeves up, dig in and actually spend some time on the front lines volunteering, it makes such a difference.
Why do you think it’s important for LGBT people to be involved with causes outside of the gay community?
When you give to others, you get so much more in return. Sure, its rewarding and feels good to volunteer but when you can help make your little corner of the world a better place, it can become contagious.