United Way of Thurston County will celebrate its 17th annual Day of Caring this Friday, September 25th. This year’s event is bigger and more collaborative than ever, thanks to a partnership with The Evergreen State College and the Volunteer Center of Lewis, Mason & Thurston Counties.
"Day of Caring is an annual United Way event that matches volunteers with community service projects at local nonprofit and community organizations. This year our volunteers have increased by 30 percent to more than 600 individuals working on 48 different projects, due to our collaboration with The Evergreen State College and the Volunteer Center. Day of Caring also officially kicks off United Way’s 2009 giving campaign, with a goal is to raise $1.4 million to help meet local human service needs," Pam Toal, Executive Director reports.
Ellen Shortt Sanchez, Director of the Evergreen Center for Community Based Learning and Action, states, "Evergreen has a 20-year history of encouraging new students to engage with the community. Community to Community service day is an activity during new student orientation week. Collaborating with United Way and the Volunteer Center, students will join Day of Caring sites to learn about community needs. The Evergreen Center for Community Based Learning and Action and the academic program Community Connections are encouraging students to respond to national problems with local solutions. We are expecting 150 students to volunteer at 16 local organizations."
This year the Volunteer Center managed the project and team database and helped United Way develop many new and innovative projects to engage volunteers in meaningful work. Examples include "On Board!," a class for people who are interested in joining a nonprofit board of directors, and "Building Bridges," another class where individuals can learn how to volunteer effectively with low-income families and individuals. Finally, United Way’s Women’s Leadership Council members are providing one-on-one mentoring with girls at the local Boys and Girls Clubs of Thurston County.
"We really wanted to develop a portfolio of volunteer opportunities for this year’s Day of Caring," said Sara Ballard, Executive Director of the Volunteer Center. "It’s important for people to see that they can help in a variety of ways. We worked hand in hand with businesses and community organizations to create unique projects for this year’s event."