Every year, the public campaign kicks off in September and like our volunteers, we hit the ground running. For the next three months we eat in our cars, gain at least five pounds attending company special events (darn bake sales!), run on little to no sleep, sometimes up at 5 am and not home until 8 pm, no such thing as 9-5 during campaign. Tums become a dietary food group to soothe our heartburn and we spend our quality time with our significant others via text message and cell phone, not while driving of course and certainly not while in Strathcona County!
We get so caught up in it all that for weeks even months, we don’t see our co-workers. It is like we are two ships passing in the night. In January when we do get a chance to reconnect it is like greeting long lost family members, or at least the ones that you like. Questions like, “Your hair looks great, when did you get it cut?”; “Your daughter is in grade two?”; “You mean you actually went on vacation for two weeks?”, come rushing out of our mouths.
Our Resource Development team at United Way is like a second family. I would dare to say that this is the case for most people. Think about how much time we spend with our fellow co-workers in a year. How do you not start to care about their lives?
For me I can get so caught up in day to day, that I can forget what is important in life and sometimes what I take for granted.
What a better way to reconnect with my co-workers and engage with my community then through a Day of Caring. On February 18, my team spent a half day at the recently moved In Kind Centre sorting coats that were collected through the Coats for Kids and Families program, which last year raised nearly 18,000 coats. We would not have been able to sort and distribute these coats without the teamwork of the community collecting and donating them.
Not only did this Day of Caring help reconnect my team, but it also made more think about how fortunate my life is. When I needed a new winter jacket this year, I went to the mall and bought one without giving it a second thought. I don’t know how I could have bought that same jacket for myself and if I had children for all of them if I was making minimum wage or was a single parent. Let’s face it, winter has been horrible this year and would be even worse without the proper winter clothing.
It hit home again when I went to do my in school mentoring at one of our Partner for Kids schools and realized that my mentee is a recipient of the program, and what a difference this program makes in her life, something as simple as a jacket.
As we go about in our day to day lives, we never know who we know could or is using a little help. Going on a Day of Caring is not only rewarding, but is a great way to reconnect your co-workers and re-energize them. And what an amazing first hand way to see the difference being made in your community. Learn more by visiting Get Involved.
Jennifer Herrick is a Campaign Manager with United Way and has worked in the not for profit sector for more then 18 years.