By Sherri Butterfield
WRITER AND EDITOR
Understanding that everyone needs help at some point, Orange County REALTORS® has established The RAW Group, a safe place where both REALTOR® and Affiliate members can share personal stories of struggle and hope with one another.
During a recent college commencement address, Houston Texans Defensive End J.J. Watt told University of Wisconsin– Madison graduates, “No matter how tough you may be, everybody needs to ask for help at some point in their lives.”
Watt, who was co-named Sportsperson of the Year for 2017 by Sports Illustrated for his humanitarian efforts, knows something about help—and helping. Two years ago, when Hurricane Harvey devastated Houston, his Justin J. Watt Foundation raised and distributed $41.6 million for food relief.
Although hurricanes are infrequent, life storms are not. People go through dark periods in which they struggle to find their way. They face career and financial uncertainty, receive frightening diagnoses, suffer from paralyzing bouts of anxiety and depression, and fall victim to alcoholism or drug addiction—their own or that of a family member.
Aware of these challenges and wanting to find a way to meet the need for help among both REALTORS® and Affiliates, former Orange County REALTORS® Treasurer Adam Rodell sought a second term on the Board of Directors so that he could ask fellow Directors to approve and support establishment of a new group.
Rodell called this group The REALTOR® and Affiliate Wellness—or RAW—Group. “The idea,” says Rodell, “is that someone with a problem does not have to walk into a group of strangers. Instead, he or she can walk into a room full of people who have had a similar experience and might be able and willing to help. Group members can feel comfortable because they feel understood.”
Rodell based the format for The RAW Group’s initial meetings on the one that is common to twelve-step recovery programs. But The RAW Group is self-governing and can take its meetings and programs in any direction its members feel might be appropriate or beneficial. Some meetings are primarily conversational, and others feature a speaker.
Membership in The RAW Group is voluntary, anonymous, and open to all REALTOR® and Affiliate members of Orange County REALTORS®. There are no requirements other than the willingness to help and be helped in return. Any REALTOR® or Affiliate member of Orange County REALTORS who believes that he or she might benefit from the meetings is welcome to attend.
Orange County REALTORS® provides a place where The RAW Group can meet once a month and announces the group’s meeting schedule. Meetings are held on the second Tuesday of each month and alternate between the Laguna Hills office and the Fountain Valley office. The place and time are posted and announced in advance.
There is no agenda other than voluntarily sharing experiences as a way of providing help and fostering hope. “We are simply a group of people who come together to help one another live with and overcome everyday life challenges,” says Rodell. He adds that the key message of The RAW Group is, “You are not the only person who faces tough challenges. No one has to walk through his or her challenges alone.”
Adam Rodell is began his real estate career in 1998 and has been a top-producing member of Orange County REALTORS® for more than twenty years. Currently, he is a Director for both the local and state Associations, is a member of the Orange County REALTORS® Finance Committee, and chairs the Political Affairs and Elections Committee. In 2018, he was honored by Orange County REALTORS® as REALTOR® of the Year. On April 2, Orange County REALTORS® Writer and Editor Sherri Butterfield interviewed Rodell about The Raw Group, and the preceding article is the result of that interview.