Looking for something to do this summer? Join us in volunteering during Summer of Service! Summer of Service is a summer long program that promotes youth service. Even if you are not a youth, you are still invited to get involved and serve around the community this summer!
There will be one to two service projects a week all summer long. Our kickoff is June 12 at 11:00 a.m. Join us at Provo's North Park (500 N and 500 W) to help beautify the park! Refreshments will be provided. To learn more visit our website or join our Facebook group! Don't let boredom set in this summer. Get involved in Summer of Service!
This week we are excited to celebrate National Americorps Week! Since I am an Americorps VISTA myself, I thought I'd post a little about what Americorps VISTA is all about and show you what some Americorps volunteers are doing locally. Here at United Way of Utah County, we have 7 full time Americorps VISTA members. Americorps VISTA is the national service program dedicated to fighting poverty. VISTA members commit to serve full-time for one year at a nonprofit organization or a government agency. They do not generally provide direct service, but instead work to improve the organizational, administrative and financial capacity of organizations that fight poverty in their community. Some of the VISTAs here are working on improving the South Franklin Community Center, creating programs for children to prepare them for school, organizing and conducting large group service project, reaching out to minority groups and tons more. Here is a video of one of our VISTAs who works at the South Franklin Community Center. (It is such an inspiring project)
In the story of The Lorax, Dr. Suess tells of a forest of Truffula trees and its inhabitants. One day, the Once-ler decides to chop down a tree. One tree turns into two, which turns into four, and eventually the entire forest is gone. The Once-ler couldn’t be bothered when he was reminded of the effects of what he was doing, he believed that “business was business” and the forest wasn’t his concern. Only when everything was gone did he begin to realize what his lack of care and concern had done. Only then did he realize that it was, and had been, his responsibility to watch over his community.
This morning, I read a news article about a heroic deed that went tragically wrong. It seems that a 31-year-old man from Guatemala saw a women being attacked in New York City. When he intervened in the attack, he was stabbed several times and left on the street. Far more frightening is that video footage from a surveillance camera shows at least seven people going by. Some stopped to look, others simply passed by without a second thought. One even lifted the man up for a moment and then simply walked away. More than an hour after he was stabbed emergency workers were called to the scene to give the man the assistance he needed, but it was too late. The law enforcement officers that saw the video are calling Hugo Alfredo Tale-Yax a hero. He intervened in an attack on a woman because he felt it was his duty to help. But what about the seven or more individuals that walked by and did nothing for this Good Samaritan? Why did they not stop and help? Fear? Indifference? Not their business?
Every day in our community, we encounter problems. When we do, we have a choice to make. Do we walk by saying that there’s nothing we can do or that it would be too uncomfortable? Do we stop for a brief look and then leave saying it isn’t our business? Or do we do the right thing and stop and truly help? Dr. Suess writes, “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” Our community is our responsibility, and none of us can afford the price of apathy or neglect. We need to protect our community “from axes that hack” for the sake of the Lorax and all of our friends.
guest post by Elizabeth Van Patten-- The Volunteer Care Clinic held its annual Thank You Dinner for the volunteers this past Monday. Each year the board puts on this dinner to honor a few outstanding volunteers and some long term volunteers who have retired from the clinic.
As the Americorps VISTA for the Volunteer Care Clinic, I was glad to be a part of this crowning moment of my project. Despite the cold and dreary weather, the mood was bright and cheery inside the Clark Auditorium of Utah Valley Regional Medical Center. Volunteers, board members and guests alike socialized while enjoying a dinner provided by Intermountain Healthcare, one of the many community partners that support the clinic.
This year pharmacist Craig Berntson was recognized for his outstanding volunteer service. One of the physicians at the clinic, Dr. Dennis Hess, was recognized as well. He was unable to attend the dinner, but was still honored as a dedicated volunteer.
In addition to honoring some of our outstanding volunteers, the board also recognized those who will be leaving the clinic soon. A Volunteer Care Clinic blanket was given to former executive directors Frank and Ella Santiago, former clinic directors Ellis and Marti Nuttall, and former statistician Ken Beck. They all did so much for the clinic and their services will be missed. Former board member, Steve Clark, received a gift of appreciation from fellow board members for his dedication to the clinic and the work that he did on the board of the Volunteer Care Clinic.
The board also surprised me with a beautiful bouquet of flowers to thank me for the volunteer service I've provided this last year to the clinic and the board.
Lastly, all the volunteers were presented with the 2010 Volunteering to Improve People's Health award from United Way of Utah County. This award was presented a couple of weeks ago at United Way's annual Thank You Breakfast. This award recognizes those in the community who show outstanding dedication through volunteering in improving people's health. Our award will be displayed in our new home in the Mountainlands facility.
The best moment of the night was when Ken Beck, former statistician, presented a glass painting he made for the clinic as a parting gift and house warming item for our new home in the Mountainlands facility. He shared his feelings regarding the faith, hope and charity he has experienced and has seen exemplified in other volunteers as well. The Volunteer Care Clinic Thank You Dinner was a success. If you were there, I hope you felt appreciated. If you would like to be there next year then I encourage you to become a volunteer with the clinic. Find out what our volunteer needs are through the United Way of Utah County website.
acon Apple Cheddar Panini
Last week I went to the state's Conference on Service. I attended quite a few informative sessions, but one of my favorites was Collaborative Leadership. I could probably write five more blog posts about principles that I learned in that session, but the one I thought is most applicable to United Way is what makes for an ideal volunteer opportunity.
The ideal volunteer opportunity is one in which a volunteer's passion, talents (what he or she does best), and an organization's need all meet in the middle. When you decide you want to volunteer, consider what are your passion and talents.
Here at United Way of Utah County, we're working hard to better define what the nonprofit organizations in Utah County need, with the hopes of better matching your passion and talents with those needs. We want everyone to find the ideal volunteer opportunity for them, so we can continue to LIVE UNITED and advance the common good in our community.
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