Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Giving Back

Tuesday feels like Monday's hangover. Especially today, when it rained for 6 hours straight. And not just a light drizzle, we're talking pouring rain.

But I didn't plan to blog about the weather. Today, something exciting happened at work. Each year, our firm organizes and runs a 10-day campaign for United Way. You can learn more about United Way here, but in short, they're a not-for-profit organization, mostly run by volunteers, which aids people in need throughout Greenville County. The organization is nationwide (and international), and is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year.

My parents have been supporters of United Way since I can remember, so becoming involved with the organization in my new town is very exciting for me. One thing I miss about my church from home is the opportunity to volunteer (man, I miss mission trips). Since I'm finally settled in Greenville and work isn't as busy this time of year, I'm more able to take advantage of some of the opportunities to get involved. I got a chance to help out with Hands-On Greenville back in May, which is a community-wide "get your hands dirty" day. We beautified a local elementary school and I met so many fun, diverse people.

I jumped at the chance to help with the United Way campaign this year. We started the campaign this morning with a "kick-off" breakfast. I went and picked up 125 (!) chicken biscuits from Chick-fil-A controversy aside this morning. Our campaign coordinator spoke, we had people from United Way come, and two people spoke about how United Way changed their lives directly by its support of an organization for special needs children. Any touching story like that and I of course was tearing up!

So many biscuits!
Our theme for the event is "Going Wild for United Way." The interns spent all last week decorating the office with a safari theme, and Lauren and I acquired some new furry friends today.

We're hoping for 100% participation this year and over $100,000 pledged from our employees alone!

We adopted elementary and middle school kids to provide school supplies for them as part of the campaign. I had forgotten how much fun shopping for school supplies can be! Back to school shopping used to be my favorite time of year!! I'm coordinating a field trip to a children's shelter next week. We're taking donations and pizza and having lunch with the kids! We also have a wrap-up party (The "Zoohoo" event) next Friday to celebrate all our hard work, but Ryan and I are going to miss it because we'll be in Dallas (boo). I just really can't express how excited I am to help out with such a great cause.

Within United Way, there is a group called the Young Philanthropists. The YP20's, a subgroup, are those under 30 who currently give $500 annually with the pledge of giving $1,000 annually by the time they turn 30. This group will be such a great opportunity for me to get involved in the community that I'm really starting to love! They have community projects year-round and also social functions. 

I finally feel like I'm starting to get my bearings in this town and look forward to working more with United Way! I feel like a much more well-rounded individual when I'm able to give back!


Anna said...

I love this! Now that I'm getting settled I've also been starting to look into how to get involved in the community and signed up for Habitat last week. I think we might be the same person...

Charlotte said...

I LOVE Habitat! I worked with them several times in high school and am dying to volunteer with them again! Can't wait to hear how it goes!

And it does seem that there are a huge ton of similarities! :)