U.S. President Woodrow Wilson once said: “You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and to impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.”
I read this quote with interest because it is, truly, why United Way of South Niagara exists — to make this community richer and to give our neighbours hope and a path to achievement.
Volunteers, whether with the United Way or another organization, do this as well. At United Way of South Niagara we are blessed with many, many volunteers who share their time, their individual talents and their care and understanding to help enable south Niagara to live more amply. Without volunteers, not to mention a small but mighty staff and involved board of directors, United Way of South Niagara would not have been able to achieve any success in our most recent campaign.
In the challenging times we face at the UWSN we define success in a variety of terms. We did, in fact, raise enough money to fund the agencies we supported last year at similar levels; we solidified existing partnerships and developed new ones to help our organization in the future; and we continued to move through our own transition in a way that will enable us to provide long-term, sustainable help for this community.
It has been very rewarding and satisfying to see members of this community step up to help bring change to south Niagara. Employee campaigns at many of the businesses which have supported us for many years didn’t just continue their support. Many of them upped their campaign goals in order to give more to our organization.
Granted, there were a number of businesses that couldn’t support us this year with employee campaigns, but those businesses still offered support in various other ways and we’re working with them to develop future partnerships.
Over the year we’ve had many small campaigns and donations that contributed significantly to our goals this year. Several youngsters purchased our holiday cards by making a donation to the United Way in the name of a teacher or caregiver, then gave the cards as gifts. It was a terrific idea, especially for teachers and babysitters who receive so many gifts over the years. Such a great idea, in fact, my kids gave the cards and donation as gifts.
There were also gift wrapping at the mall and various barbecues and other events. Those events wouldn’t happen without someone to staff them — and we’re very grateful to the volunteers who make this happen. April was Volunteer Month and at the UWSN we certainly appreciate our volunteers. From teens who came looking for volunteer hours for school but stayed because they enjoy it, to working professionals who offer their specific skill set and retirees who fill their time by giving to others, the caliber of our volunteers is amazing and impressive.
Dolores Fabiano is information chair with the United Way of South Niagara.
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