Volunteering and donations work hand-in-hand

Duncan Aviation paints a compass/clock to help children's math skills.

Our community is full of remarkable people. It doesn’t need a great event to remind us of that — we can see it every day — but last week I was inspired to see how volunteers and partners in our annual Day of Caring event came together to make an impact in our community.

More than 1,300 volunteers from 35 different companies came together to donate supplies and time to complete 29 projects across our county. Project sites included not only local nonprofit agencies, but also local parks and elementary schools. While each project was unique, all of them helped promote education, income, and health in our area.

This year, I was especially impressed by several groups who ensured that their impact will go far beyond one day of service. Each of these groups dedicated not only their volunteer time, but also their financial resources to support programs that fight the most urgent challenges in Utah County.

Duncan Aviation, for example, is a relatively new addition to our community. Their facility opened in Provo just six years ago, but since that time they have been actively engaged in promoting the well-being of the community.

This Day of Caring, a team of volunteers from Duncan Aviation painted educational playground games at the brand-new Rock Canyon Elementary School in Provo. These games help children learn while staying active. Since childhood literacy and healthy habits are critical stepping stones to later achievement, these volunteers’ service will have a lasting impact on the students’ lives.

“We were looking to get involved in the community and Day of Caring worked out perfectly with our company goals,” said Mitch Robson, challenger team leader at Duncan Aviation. “After the project, the kids came out and started thanking us personally for our work, which was really helped our employees see the impact they were making.”

But Duncan Aviation’s impact isn’t limited to completing one Day of Caring project. They have recently finished their first employee giving campaign. Their employees voluntarily donate to make sure that their impact lasts all year long. Some Duncan Aviation employees even donated $20 a paycheck — a commitment to making a difference in education that is truly inspiring.

Although their project at Rock Canyon Elementary only lasted one day, the donations Duncan Aviation employees generously gave will provide year-round support to tutoring and other programs that are making it possible for our children to succeed in school.

Another volunteer group from Day of Caring that demonstrated their commitment to making a difference year-round is Xactware. Xactware has long been a partner of United Way of Utah County and they are truly dedicated to supporting our community.

This year, a team of exemplary volunteers from Xactware carried out an extensive playground renovation project for the Center for Women and Children in Crisis. They donated the supplies necessary for the project, and their volunteers worked hard to make sure that women and children in our community have a safe and beautiful place to stay when crisis strikes.

Not only did Xactware support women and families during Day of Caring, but the financial donations from their employees each year ensure that needed programs and resources are available to people who need them most for months to come.

Both of these examples demonstrate how giving money and giving time work hand-in-hand to create a healthier community.

Volunteerism is leveraged by financial donations, and vice versa. When we have the capacity to contribute both time and money individually, we have a wonderful opportunity to witness firsthand how much of a difference we make. But even if circumstances only allow us to give one or the other, by combining those gifts with those of other friends or community members we are able to exponentially increase our impact on the community.

To have the greatest impact, we need to both volunteer and donate financially. And one of the things that makes the people in our community so remarkable, is their willingness to combine both human and financial resources to make a difference for issues they care about. Let’s continue that tradition by recommitting ourselves to give of all of our resources — time, money, and talents — to help everyone succeed.