19 ways to get involved with United Way in 2019

Allie Prusa UWSC Marketing Director

A new year is here, a time to jump start those resolutions and get off on the right foot. Is getting more involved in your community on your list? We’ve got 19 ways you can give back to Story County through United Way of Story County.

1. Become a donor. They say your money follows your heart. You inevitably give back in places that matter to you. So make a donation. Any amount, big or small, gives hungry children healthy meals, provides transportation for someone to get to a medical appointment, and it can cover the rent for those at risk of being evicted.

2. Participate in the food drive. Our LIVE UNITED annual food drive takes place in late-April to early-May, providing thousands of pounds of food, as well as thousands of dollars directed toward local food pantries. Whether you donate food, cash or volunteer during the drive, this annual event helps 14 food pantries stay stocked up heading into some of their busiest months.

3. Be a Women United mentor. Our Women United program offers financial stability programming to help women learn basic money management skills to achieve short and long term financial goals. After completing the program, women are able to meet one on one with a trained mentor to further assist them in applying what they have learned to their personal situation. Mentors typically meet with mentees every one to two weeks for a total of six meetings.

4. Join Young Leaders Society. Under 40? Join our affinity group specifically for young philanthropists, made up of professionals who are looking to be active in their community. With an annual donation of $250, you will have year-round opportunities to be educated on work happening in our community as well as volunteer activities to satisfy your altruistic interests.

5. Volunteer for our campaign. Each campaign takes approximately 200 volunteers to bring us through to the end. And we couldn’t do it without each and every one of them. Volunteer to be a spokesperson for your workplace’s campaign. You’ll get to see the true effort it takes to raise more than $2 million and how that money can change our community.

6. Volunteer with our mailing crew. Ever wonder how we get all those campaign materials out to the public so they can see our impact in the community? It’s a small group of very talented individuals stuffing, sealing and sending those packets to each and every one of you.

7. Get involved in our finances. Sounds fun, right? In order to keep your money safe, and our work accurate, we enlist volunteers to help us intake donations, double check our processes, and ensure we have every penny accounted for.

8. Spend A summer IN AN enrichment program. With six locations, we bet you can find an opportunity close to home. We operate programs throughout the summer, offering meals to children who are attending. We are in constant need of food servers, classroom assistants and more!

9. Present your talents to local children. Our summer learning programs often bring in talented individuals to show our younger generations what it is like in their world. From scientists to athletes to firefighters, we would love to showcase what you do every day to some new sets of eyes.

10. Be a teacher. As with all of our programs, we need our summer enrichment programs to produce real results. You don’t need to be a certified teacher though. By hiring individuals that can work directly with children, we assure that we have top-notch leadership in each classroom, ready to make a positive change in each student’s life. Summer positions are available throughout the county and will run for approximately two months over summer break.

11. Attend Summer Learning Week activities. Offered in multiple communities, Summer Learning Week is a national advocacy week, focusing on the importance of summer learning for our youth. Summer programs help to ward off the “summer slide,” advancing our children during the months of school break.

12. Join the Golf Fore Kids committee. One of our signature events each year is an annual golf tournament, Golf Fore Kids, benefitting family and child programming in Story County. With a small group of about 10 individuals steering the ship, this event continuously brings in over $20,000 for programs that benefit children and their families.

13. Sponsor a hole or two. Golf Fore Kids would not be the great afternoon of greens and golf that it is without our corporate sponsors. Sponsor packages range from hole sponsors to event sponsors. Get your name out there while giving back to programs that make a difference for our future workforce.

14. Build a team for Day of Caring. Coinciding with our campaign kickoff in the fall, Day of Caring is a community wide day of giving back to local agencies. With 2,000 plus hours of volunteer work last year, our towns were tidied and transformed with the hard work of over 400 individuals.

15. Donate a car. This probably seems like a big ask, but our Wheels for Work program wouldn’t be running without it. Donate your used cars, in any condition, and we can repair them for a local family in need, or the scrap funds will be used to pay for repairs on other donated vehicles.

16. ASSET. This is an opportunity to work with a cooperative effort that has benefited Story County since 1985. Five local funders, including UWSC, recruit volunteers to help with the allocation process to over 30 human service agencies. Collectively this group of funders invest over $4.5 million in programs that improve lives.

17. Donate to the Toy Drive. Holidays are hard for families who struggle to make ends meet. Do the simplest thing you can do, drop a toy off for a child in need during the annual Toy Drive.

18. Advocate. Speak out. Contact your senators and representatives, locally and on the federal level, about issues and policies that matter. Be informed. Learn how improving the health, education and financial stability of all has a positive impact on society as a whole.

19. LIVE UNITED. The best thing we can all do is live in such a way that ensures that everyone has the ability to achieve their human potential.