Hey Edmonton, It's Your Own Backyard Calling!

My original plans for content here changed after a Sunday of trying to get caught up on some NFL, and instead discovering I learned more about Lindsay Lohan than I did about my Buffalo Bills. All a dude wanted to do was watch some football. Since when did sports, even the news, go the way of the gossip rag? Football is the least of my concerns though, all of these ‘stories’ are distracting us from so many amazing things happening right here in our own backyard.

So why not take the time to get to know your own community? Hollywood’s got nothing on the Capital Region.

Starting with my next blog, my intent is to share with you an inside look at the beautifully structured chaos that is the United Way Fall Campaign. I am a Campaign Manager here at UWay and as such, I have a front row vantage point of the engine that drives us during our campaign. Crazy hours, wacky events, last minute nail biters, a ton of tears and so many personal stories of heartache and triumph are shared this time of year.

I have so many moments of personal clarity during these crazy months, the kind of clarity that makes me think - "Wow. I have one of the greatest jobs in the world". I’m helping people AND I’m helping people to help people. I can see the change that we are all making in our community and I look forward to sharing the why and the how with you in the coming weeks.

There are so many champions in this community who are tirelessly being the change they want to see in the world, yet somehow it’s easier for me to get an update on a celebrity than it is to find out about what’s being done in this city to end homelessness. Consider this: in just over a year more than 900 people have been given a permanent home and more importantly…HOPE. This is happening right now because of the efforts and support of this amazing community. This is what I want to share, real change, I see it every day.

Seriously, take a moment to reflect on how absolutely amazing the infrastructure for exchanging information is right now; now take another moment to consider the kind of information we use it to share. "What can I do about it Brandon?" - Well, you can take another moment to bookmark www.myunitedway.ca. You heard it here first: 2010 will be as much about Caring and Community as 2009 was sparkly vampires, being upstaged by Kanye West and balloon boys.

So what are the cool kids doing in 2010 you ask? Besides reading my blog, they are all over your workplace right now trying to help us improve the social conditions of the entire community. They are out there helping you learn more about your community. They are doing something extraordinary for a complete stranger. They are sharing personal stories to inspire you and to thank-you. If you haven’t joined the movement, it’s as easy as opening your eyes, it’s all around you. 

So keep it here kids – and keep it real.

Brandon Kelm is a Campaign Manager for United Way of the Alberta Capital Region.