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April 8, 2014

Mike Rose (center) and co-workers from Union Rural Electric enjoy an afternoon insulating a basement for a local resident on a recent Community Care Day. Rose, a long-time United Way Board Member, encourages others to begin making their own memories by deciding to get involved during National Volunteer Week 2014.
Longtime United Way Board Member Mike Rose remembers his fondest moment as a volunteer.

“The most rewarding experience I have had with United Way occurred about five years ago on Community Care Day,” he said. “Along with several co-workers, I was helping to insulate a basement for an elderly gentleman in Northern Union County. This gentleman was so thrilled to have us their helping him, and he spent much of the time telling us all about his collections of ‘treasures’. I couldn’t have been more pleased with that day. We were all happy to help him and he was just as tickled that we were there.”

Now, during National Volunteer Week 2014, Rose is encouraging others to begin making their own memories by getting involved in the community.

“If someone is considering volunteering, I would encourage them to start small,” said Rose, who is United Way’s Vice President and serves on multiple committees. “Volunteer for a single event or serve on a committee. No matter what type of volunteer work they decide to do, volunteering is an amazing opportunity to ‘pay it forward.’”

“If someone is thinking about getting involved in a volunteer capacity, I would first commend them on their willingness to take time out of their busy life to make a difference by helping their community,” said Marty Shroyer, who will be starting his first term as a United Way Trustee this month. “Next, I would highly encourage them to explore all of the various volunteer opportunities that exist through the United Way of Union County as they will likely identify an area that aligns with their interest level and schedule.”

Shroyer is right. There are many upcoming one-time special events and ongoing committee projects that require assistance. With just three staff members, United Way relies heavily on volunteers.

The Million Dollar Roundtable will soon be forming for 2014. It is responsible for raising the money we use to fulfill our mission by coordinating the annual fall campaign. Tasks include asking for monetary gifts, coordinating the United Way campaign in your workplace, speaking about United Way at presentations, making phone calls, writing letters, preparing mailings, and helping with fundraising events.

The Community Investment Committee works through a five month exercise to best determine how to spend donor dollars. Using a detailed evaluation process which combines annual face-to-face agency visits with financial and performance data, volunteers make funding recommendations to best meet the social service needs of our community.

“I visited with a local senior citizen group, a County wide scout group and a local medical free clinic,” said Bruce Bullerman, a United Way Board Member. “It was great to see how these groups put the funds they receive from United Way to use, how thankful they are for the help and how many people they are helping along the way. They are are very dedicated to their groups and helping as many people as possible, especially the free clinic, who all work as unpaid volunteers.”

United Way Board Member Don Piché and his wife, Jane, will be serving as volunteers at Saturday’s Taste of Marysville. During National Volunteer Week 2014, Piché encourages others to get involved. “If you want to support Union County through an agency that Identifies and supports the areas of most need, operates with least overhead, and no hidden agenda, ‘Live United.’”
United Way’s Publicity Committee is looking for volunteers interested in helping with photography, feature writing, video, survey and market research, and digital advocates to help with social media.

The Women with a Mission provides a forum for concerned women to discuss needs that are important to local women and to find solutions. They are involved with maintaining our early childhood literacy program, the Dolly Parton Imagination Library.

And the Youth Arts & Recreation Committee administers and raises money for our unique grant fund that allows youth to be involved in positive, structured after-school and summer activities if their families cannot afford the participation fees. It reviews grant requests and conducts the annual Putt FORE Kids Mini-Golf Challenge each June.

A host of upcoming special events offer chances for folks to volunteer with small groups of family, friends, or co-workers. Community Care Day, a new Stuff the Bus collection of school supplies, the All-Ohio Balloonfest, and the Honor our Heroes Run are among the events that need dozens of volunteers to make successful.

National Volunteer Week, created in 1974, is an annual celebration of those who freely give of their time and talent to serve their communities. Volunteers are encouraged to get involved to help neighbors as needs increase as our community grows. Volunteering is also a way to meet new people, get connected, and gain new skills – all of which may be useful in positioning oneself for new employment possibilities. Regardless of one’s motivation, opportunities to serve abound.

“The needs in the community are more pressing and numerous than most of us realize,” said Board Member David Drummond. “Helping others is an important element of happiness for most people and we all have a limited time on this earth to make a difference.”

“Until I was asked to serve, the needs of our community and the opportunities to meet them were not on my radar,” said Board Member Paul Jaeb. “Many rewards and blessings have followed since that first opportunity. If you have ever considered volunteering, give it a shot! It will be an enjoyable addition to your life.”

Interested in getting started? Call us at (937) 644-8381 or visit www.unitedwayofunioncounty.org and click “VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES” on the homepage.

United Way works to bring neighbors and resources together to improve lives in Union County. United Way of Union County has raised more than $18 million for local needs since it was established in 1958. More than just a fundraiser, United Way collaborates with local businesses, government, and non-profit organizations to solve pressing social service issues large and small.
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