Back on August 28, United Way of Central Indiana held its annual Day of Caring. This year, we had more than 2,500 volunteers take time away from work, close their PowerPoint presentations, skip a sales call or two, cancel a meeting, leave the store, put Good to Great back on the shelf and get out in the sunshine (or, later in the day, the rain) to do some good for people and agencies throughout Central Indiana.
I had the pleasure of attending 3 volunteer events, one at White River State Park, the second at Horizon House (a United Way agency) and the third at IPS School 56 (one of United Way's ReadUP schools).
Funny story about School 56. I went to 1st and 2nd grade there, and hadn’t been back since. I mentioned this to the woman at the front desk, and I ended up having a really nice chat with her and the current principal, Mark Nardo. They realized that, based on when I was there, I must have come to 56 when the Montessori program moved over from 88. I excitedly replied that, yes, I remembered going to 88 for kindergarten! They asked me who my teacher was, and I told them it was Mrs. Harrison. The front desk woman literally went pale, jumped out of her seat, came out to the hallway, grabbed my wrist and told me I had to come with her.
I’m not going to lie to you; it was a little weird. I thought I was in trouble. I mean, it wasn't the first time I'd been grabbed by the wrist and pulled down a hallway during my illustrious academic career.
So, she took me to a classroom just 2 doors down the hallway, sort of pushed me through the doorway, looked at the woman sitting across the room and said, “Mrs. Harrison, do you remember this gentleman?” Turns out that Mrs. Harrison retired several years ago, but was at 56 right now, subbing for a teacher who was on maternity leave. While she didn’t remember me specifically (can’t blame her – it was, umm, a little while back), I told her some of the things I remembered and she kept nodding her head and saying, “That’s right! We used to do that!” in reference to whatever activity I mentioned.
So what I thought was going to be a simple day of shooting some video at a few different volunteer sites turned out to be a much more personal experience than I’d anticipated. And meeting Mr. Nardo and seeing Mrs. Harrison made me feel even better about the fact that United Way is working with School 56 (and many others) to help provide better opportunities to kids in our community. But I digress…
If you want to see the final video, you can view it here (the link goes to YouTube). If you want to learn about ways you can volunteer and make a difference, go here. Special thanks to Krista Rouse for helping me select these sites, and to Key Learning Community, Target, Roche Diagnostics and Lowe’s for starring in the show.
And please don't forget to share www.liveunitedgiveunited.org with all your contacts!
I was really taken aback by the 170+ FedEx employees involved with assembling kits at the FedEx Day of Caring event last Monday in (of all places) a stellar airplane hanger with a large FedEx plane parked inside. Robert Palmer, their CEO, did a nice job of spiriting the group with a kickoff speech and Ellen (United Way's CEO) was very excited to be a part of ceremonies. They served Volunteers of America with more than 10 different kit assembly operations in a matter of minutes from 10:15 a.m. to about 1:30 p.m.
I would guess they assembled more than 4,000 kits ranging from hygiene bags for corrections, Halloween baskets for underprivileged kids, and even ironing FedEx logos on cloth bags to hold various items for distribution. Many people were served, and I was happy to be part of a great effort.
Diana Keely, director of camp services for Girl Scouts of Central Indiana, demonstrated bubble-blowing as a way to get girls interested in math and science. The scouts were among 140 nonprofits that participated in the Community Fair on Monument Circle, back on Sept. 11. This was the 8th year of the fair, and for this first time it was the flagship event, locally, for the new National Day of Service and Remembrance.
One of our volunteers, Ruth Rusie from Martinsville, is featured in a video on the LIVE UNITED national story search.
Ruth serves on the Morgan County United Way Advisory Board and has been a leader in the Early Readers Club implementation in that county.
Her story first aired on RTV 6 as part of the United Way Simulcast on 9.2. She was recommended for this distinction by Diana Roy, our Morgan County director.
Now, we need to help generate “votes” for Ruth!
Please visit www.liveunited.tv and look for 90 years and still teaching in the right column. The sign-up process is easy, and then just click “vote.” (You can vote once a day!)
Then, please share this information with your friends and family to help generate more votes for Ruth!
Do you ever watch the talking heads on cable news and say to yourself, “Wow. That person just talked for 842 minutes and didn’t say a thing. Give me 30 seconds – I’d have something to say.” Or ever watch reality shows and wish you had the same captive audience, so you could say something that matters?
Guess what? You can do just that. And you don’t have to stand in line to audition for American Idol for your shot to be a star. Actually, you don’t have to be able to sing at all. Or dance. Or eat bugs. Or have a standing invitation to ramble on CNNBCMSNFox. Or starve on an island in the South Pacific. Or do whatever it is they do on Rock of Love.
All you have to do is get your camera – your video camera, your phone, your Web cam, whatever you’ve got – stand (or sit, your call) in front of it, and tell the world how you LIVE UNITED here in Central Indiana. It’s that simple. Maybe you’ve donated to United Way of Central Indiana for 40 years. Maybe you volunteer for ReadUP or for one of our agencies. Maybe you speak out in support of local causes. However you LIVE UNITED, just tell the world. (And do it in less than 2 minutes.)
Go to www.liveunited.tv (that’s .tv) and submit your video. Then tell all your friends, family, Facebook pals and everyone else you know to go online and vote for your story. A panel of experts (real go-getters; advertising types, etc.) will choose 3 finalists from the top 20 vote-getters, and the public will vote to select a winner. That winner will be featured in United Way Worldwide’s 2010 national advertising campaign. You know they advertise during NFL games, right? Like, ridiculously huge ratings. You will be noticed.
Here’s the catch – you only have about 2 weeks left to submit your story. They have to be in by September 30th. You can read more about the contest at www.liveunited.tv. I can’t tell you how proud we’d be to see someone from Central Indiana be in the Top 20 or – be still my heart – actually win this thing. Good luck!
Put down that People Magazine! That money can be put to much better use if you instead choose to donate it to United Way of Central Indiana. Right now through September 12, all Kroger stores in Central Indiana have customer scans at each register for $1, $3 or $5 that you can simply add to your grocery bill that will go to United Way. It’s so easy! For the newsstand price of People you could be feeding a homeless veteran three healthy meals. That will make you feel much more warm and fuzzy than reading about the latest entertainment scandal. Not convinced? Watch this news clip to hear more.
A message from Gino Santini:
Welcome to LiveUnitedGiveUnited.org. This year our community needs you more than ever. The current economic environment makes the needs of the less fortunate more urgent, at the time when charitable contributions are more challenging. We ask you to "Step up" to that challenge. Those of you who work in companies that run a United Way employees campaign, please be generous with your contributions. Those of you who do not have access to a company's United Way campaign, familiarize yourself with how United Way helps so many individuals in our community. Please consider a tax deductible contribution through this web site, give what you can afford, any contribution will make a difference. And then share the site with your friends, family members and business associates. A contribution to the United Way, particularly this year, is the best way to make a lasting impact on our community."