United Way: Unity inspires change
Autumn is often a time for reflection, and as we head into autumn this year, we have had the opportunity to reflect quite a bit. The challenges of the past year have been significant and have given rise to questions and concerns for many. However, despite these challenges, I have seen great reason to hope over the past months. I have seen our community members unite and rise up to meet these challenges. Their willingness to set aside their personal concerns and differences to work for the good of all has been inspiring. I was particularly touched by this spirit of unity at our annual Day of Caring event.
Day of Caring is held in early September each year, and this year our event was especially meaningful as we observed the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. That day, a day that will never be forgotten, continues to impact our lives. We will never forget those who were lost on that day, nor will we forget the selflessness and heroism of so many who sacrificed to save others. On that day of fear and tragedy, we saw so many examples of courage. We witnessed the power of unity and hope on one of our nation’s darkest days.
This year, I was touched as I saw so many of our community members come together and serve our community in remembrance of 9/11. I spoke with many volunteers and community partners who told me how happy they were to be there helping side by side with others. It was an amazing and an emotional experience to witness once again the hope and the change that comes when we unite in service.
Over 1,200 volunteers participated in Day of Caring this year. They came from many organizations and they shared their unique skills in order to make our community stronger. Together, these volunteers completed projects at 23 schools, 12 nonprofit organizations, and nine city parks. Together, they did everything from painting playground games at local schools to renovating facilities at local nonprofit agencies. Volunteers cleaned up local parks, facilitated STEM and reading activities with kids, and brought hope to hundreds of our friends and neighbors through their service.
Such unity in service is truly incredible. Many of our Day of Caring volunteers have participated in this event for years, and their dedication to our community continues to grow. This year, several of our great corporate partners went above and beyond in their service. Duncan Aviation, for example, volunteered to help update the South Franklin Community Center. Thanks to their efforts, the community center is welcoming and safe for our community members.
When asked about their experience at Day of Caring this year, the team leader from Duncan Aviation expressed her appreciation for the experience. “It was great to see people that I work with come together to help our local community,” April Biscamp, Front Desk Team Leader at Duncan Aviation, said. “We all had a great time doing it!”
The camaraderie experienced by the Duncan Aviation volunteers was echoed by another fantastic group of volunteers from Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions. Each year at Day of Caring, volunteers from Rocky Mountain University help refurbish the facilities at Kids on the Move. Over the years, they have built a strong relationship with this organization, and it is inspiring to see how their impact continues to grow.
“I am so amazed with the programs and work that my local United Way offers to so many in our community, and I love any opportunity to support them!” explains Ann M. Hoffman, Assistant Professor at Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions and the Day of Caring team leader for her group. “Last week was a lovely day of hard work and teaming with my work mates to provide service at Kids on the Move. I love that a little bit of service, with so many people across the county, can have such a positive impact. It is a lot of work to coordinate this big Day of Caring, but I love being a part of it!”
Thanks to volunteers like April, Ann, and their teams, our community remains strong. During a time where it is easy to feel like our neighborhoods and our country are divided, they remind us how we can find ways to move forward in unity. Perhaps especially during times of stress and challenge, volunteering together shows us that we are not truly divided. As we work together for the good of all, we can find hope and create change.
For more information about Day of Caring and other ways to get involved in the community, please visit http://unitedwayuc.org.