You can improve lives right here at home

  • By Matt Reinhard
  • Friday, September 2, 2005 9:00pm
  • Opinion

There are some things you can always count on. United Way of Snohomish County’s Day of Caring is one, and community organizations have grown to depend on it.

For the 14th year in a row, hundreds of people have left loading docks, office cubicles and assembly lines to spend half a day working – for free – around the county. It’s called volunteering, and United Way’s Day of Caring is the largest volunteer event in the county. Last year, more than 1,000 people spent the day painting, cleaning gutters, fixing bicycles, stacking food and reading to children.

On Sept. 16, United Way again will mobilize 64 teams of volunteers for projects at nonprofit agencies throughout the county, donating more than 6,400 hours of labor valued at an estimated $112,900. That means nonprofits can spend their money where it matters most: serving people in need.

If you haven’t signed up for Day of Caring, check to see whether your company is participating or visit United Way’s Web site at www.uwsc.org. Join a team. You may get tired and dirty, but you’ll also get inspired by the people you help and the co-workers who share this incredible experience.

Day of Caring has become a catalyst for donating time to others throughout the year. If you can’t participate on Sept. 16, you have other chances to help. An incredible 45 percent of Snohomish County adults volunteer, giving an average of 199 hours per year. That’s the kind of lasting change that makes our communities a better place to live, raise our families and do business.

Not enough time? Sept. 16 is also the kick-off of United Way’s annual Community Caring Campaign. Consider making a lasting impact by donating a small portion of your paycheck.

Your donation to United Way is carefully invested by volunteer vision councils composed of corporate leaders, experts in health and human services, and people from all sectors of the community. These vision councils work year round to identify the most pressing needs, invest resources where they can make the greatest difference, and then monitor the results for kids, families and the whole community.

In the past year, these United Way volunteer councils have invested more than $5.4 million in local programs to help kids stay safe and succeed in life, to help families become more self-sufficient, and to bring our community together.

In short, United Way is working all year long to improve lives in Snohomish County.

While our prayers, thoughts and support go out to the friends, family and fellow citizens impacted by Hurricane Katrina, it is important that we remember the agencies, and the individuals they serve, in need here. Two great opportunities to support them are available through your United Way – the United Way Day of Caring and the United Way Community Caring Campaign. On behalf of United Way of Snohomish County, I thank you for being an important participant in helping us build a stronger community.

Matt Reinhard is Chairman of the Board of Directors of United Way of Snohomish County and President and CEO of Aerospace Manufacturing Technologies.

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