How long have you been volunteering for United Way of West Tennessee?
I have been actively volunteering as a UWWT volunteer for about 20 years.
Why did you choose to start volunteering?
I started volunteering once I heard the amazing things local nonprofits were doing in the community. That encouraged me to get more involved, which helped me learn more about UWWT. Around 2001, one of their partner agencies invited me to tour their facility at the Ben-Rich Center in Brownsville. Afterward, I was hooked and completely unaware about all the good things happening there.
What do you think has been the most rewarding aspect of being a volunteer?
The most rewarding aspect is seeing the end result and hearing countless stories of people who have been helped through different agencies. You will never realize how much of a positive effect you can make in your local community until you are really involved. I have seen the impact of funding and even when it is cut. I have seen the ups and downs; and when years are down financially, you realize how much every minute of your time matters.
What would you say to someone who is looking to volunteer for their local community?
If you are going to live in a community, you want to protect and make it better. And if you are raising a family in an area, you want to volunteer to make it better for your kids and the next generation. Many of the benefits given to you come from others going above and beyond - whether that be through Little League volunteer coaches or Boy and Girl Scouts troop leaders. The reward is not about the paycheck, but about making your community better. You must be someone who wants to make a difference and put forth the effort. But with that desire, you will begin to care about your community more. I regularly volunteer for the Boys and Girls Club in Brownsville and Jackson. The community is always in need of volunteers, and volunteering can often have more of an impact than a monetary donation.
Why should someone volunteer their time to United Way?
In the last 20+ years, I have witnessed UWWT’s involvement firsthand. Each nonprofit is a little different, but UWWT's relationships with them and the resources they provide is unbelievable. I have seen several UWWT CEOs come and go. But I can honestly now say that the organization is taking off in a totally different direction. The direction I am referencing is the adjustment needed in any organization to ensure they thrive amidst change. Some continue to do the same thing without seeing results, but that is not the case with UWWT. They are growing rapidly and have expanded their vision. If you want to volunteer, choose an organization that remains relevant and is always adapting; UWWT has certainly changed with the times to better the community.