Wednesday, September 30, 2009

VOLUNTEER - Day of Caring

by Nicole Milbradt, Sr. Marketing Associate & Events Manager

If you had a day off from work, how would you spend it? Stocking shelves at a food bank? Washing windows at a daycare? Carving a new trail at a local park? I'm sure few of us would answer this way. But for 1,000 volunteers who had a day away from the office Friday, September 18th, a Day of Caring was the answer.

Nearly 1,000 volunteers took time away from their busy schedules to give back to the community. Many banded with co-workers to clean up parks, pull weeds, paint a shelter, rip up carpet and organize storage. Others worked with patients to create artwork for a new clinic or helped conduct an art fair for seniors. The work was varied and at the end of the day, many had worked harder away from the office than they would have if they'd stayed at their desks.

But no matter what they did on September 18th, they made a difference. For those agencies focused on feeding the hungry and sheltering those without homes, landscaping their property is low on the list of priorities. There are agencies who want to provide more for their clients, but don't have the money to pay for labor for small repairs. Many nonprofits are working hard to serve our most vulnerable neighbors and don't have the time to put on a new coat of paint. Thankfully, Day of Caring volunteers did have the time and were able to help our community warriors continue to focus on their mission.

One team summed it up best, "We were sweaty and dirty and tired, but it was a great day."

Thanks again to all who participated in this year's Day of Caring.

Check out more photos from the event on our Flickr page.
WE WANT TO KNOW...Did you volunteer for Day of Caring? Tell us about your experience.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


by Nicole Milbradt, Sr. Marketing Associate & Events Manager

Have you ever wanted to volunteer, but not had the time to make a long-term commitment? Do you want to get more involved but aren’t sure where to start? Do you want to learn more about the challenges facing our community and the agencies working to make a difference? Interested in meeting new people who care about Pierce County and making an impact?

On September 11, 2009, the Volunteer Center at United Way of Pierce County launched ACT NOW, a volunteer initiative that connects individuals and groups with meaningful, short-term volunteer opportunities. ACT NOW coordinates “done in a day” projects at a variety of organizations that can be accomplished by a team of volunteers within a few hours. We choose projects that make an impact on the volunteer and on the community.

ACT NOW is a great way to meet people and network, as well as providing leadership opportunities. Each project requires a volunteer leader called a Project Captain. Project Captains act as a liaison between the volunteers, United Way of Pierce County and the host agency. They make sure the event is running smoothly and the project gets accomplished.

We are also trying to make ACT NOW as easy as possible for the digital age. All volunteers have to do is go to our website and click on the link for our opportunities calendar. Once you find a project you want to participate in, just click on the event, and follow the links to register online. Everyone will be contacted before the project to confirm details and participation.

We are all extremely excited about ACT NOW. We hope that our volunteers will have a positive experience giving their time while they make a difference in our community. We have projects coming up throughout the month of October. For example, we’ll be helping out at the Edgewood Food Bank on Saturday, October 10th. Check out our website at and click on the calendar link to find a project that works for you. We hope to see you soon!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Youth Engaged in Service

by Nicole Milbradt, Sr. Marketing Associate & Events Manager

What would you do if you wanted to change the world? Our young people have no shortage of ambition when it comes to changing the conditions around them. Thanks to the Youth Engaged in Service (Y.E.S.) program, they also have the tools to make a difference.

Y.E.S. is designed to encourage greater civic engagement and to cultivate a culture of service among youth. It targets 8th and 9th graders, but is open to any high school student interested in participating, in order to give these students the tools and knowledge to make a positive impact during their high school years. It is an innovative service learning program that provides students with the skills and confidence necessary to become active citizens able to make a difference in their school and community.

In the summer of 2009, 33 students from 16 different school participated in day-long sessions and subsequent volunteer projects as part of Youth Engaged in Service (Y.E.S). During this year's sessions, there were two different issue areas students could choose, homelessness and environmental issues. On the days where homelessness was the focus, Deborah Cozzetti from Youth Resources come in to speak with the youth and teach them first hand about the issue as it relates to teens in Pierce County. Some students were so moved to get involved that they independently set up time to speak with Deborah on engaging in community service with Youth Resources.

On the days where environmental issues were the focus, United Way partnered with Cascade Land Conservancy (CLC) who taught students about the mission of CLC and covered some environmental statistics and ideas not typically covered in school.

After their focused sessions, students had the opportunity to get involved and spend some time volunteering.

Attached is a brief video shot on the last 2009 session day where students learned about homelessness. The kids in this video had never met before YES and had spent their morning learning about leadership, United Way of Pierce County and homelessness. Their task was to create a brief informational presentation for the group and were given only 15 minutes to create their skit.