Stephanie P. Graham: Khaleesi of Volunteering

Stephanie P. Graham is a mother, Solicitor of Sandy Springs, a Leadership Sandy Springs Ambassador and a candidate to become the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) Woman of the Year.

Graham began volunteering with Habitat for Humanity at the age of 14, through New York City’s Summer Youth Employment Program. Her mother was also an avid volunteer, and still mentors youth today.

Graham’s true passion set in while she was in Pittsburg attending Duquesne University School of Law, where she was taught to have a special sensitivity to ethics and morals. Volunteering was a way for her to connect with others, while bringing diversity and spreading knowledge of constitutional and black history. During this time, she served as secretary for the Black Law Students Association and class representative of the Student Bar Association. Tremendous efforts through her college career were acknowledged when she received the Kandy Reidbord Ehrenwerth Award, given to highly devoted law students who are committed to the community.

Life as a full-time prosecutor left Graham feeling as if something was missing. Through a Sandy Springs based program, Leadership Sandy Springs (LSS), she found what she was looking for. LSS focuses on leadership development and community engagement. Leadership programs inspire contribution to the community, while bringing a diversity of people together. She was accepted into the program and spent nine months in training, later being selected as an ambassador. “I have enjoyed being an Ambassador for LSS because I am doing something I genuinely enjoy,” says Graham. Recently, she led a team in Hammond Park for Volunteer for a Better Sandy Springs Day, an annual effort in which volunteers clean and landscape locations across the area.

Being involved with LSS has paved her way to other volunteer opportunities with the Community Assistance Center, the Dorothy Benson Center, the Link with a Leader Program and several other non-profits. Last, but not least, she is involved with The Drake House (TDH), a nonprofit resale boutique that provides emergency shelter for single moms. “I am a single mom and TDC is one of my biggest passions,” she says.

A fellow volunteer suggested Graham run in the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) Man and Woman of the Year (MWOY) competition, which is a friendly competition that aims to raise money to benefit those suffering from blood cancer. “My father was retired as an Army Sergeant Major when he had a cancer relapse.  He fought for our country and is a survivor of Non-Hodgkin lymphoma,” she speaks of her close connection to cancer. Communities across the U.S. hold the event to honor their chosen Boy and Girl of the Year; Atlanta has selected 5-year-old Ailynn Chaney and 5-year-old James Caporal. Both children are in remission.

Graham’s team title, The Khaleesi Group, is a nod to Game of Thrones enthusiasts. Their goal is to raise $500,000 through the help of campaign manager, attorney and friend, Paula Garrick. They’ll be relying on personal events and social media. “If Number 44 can “harness the power of social media to spread the word, garner support and get people engaged while gaining 50 million social media followers, my team and I can certainly gain 5,000 to 10,000 viewers to donate $50 each in celebration of my 50th birthday this year…see what I did there?!” Graham jokes.

All proceeds go toward research. Graham noted previous funds have contributed toward significant improvements in overall treatment. Last year, 37.5 million dollars was raised, with $1 million coming from Atlanta.

You can support Graham’s efforts in fundraising by donating to her site and sharing the link: MWoy.org/pages/ga/atlanta17/sgraham. The 10-week event kicked off at The Buckhead Theatre on March 30. The Grande Finale Gala will take place June 10, at the Intercontinental Buckhead Atlanta at 6 p.m.

If Graham indeed wins the MWOY title, she and her team will march in to a Game of Thrones-inspired theme song, relevant to The Khaleesi Group title.