Volunteering with United Way builds community - United Way Alberta Capital Region

Volunteering with United Way builds community

April 23, 2020


The foundation of any non-profit is the people who volunteer their time and talent to a cause that they are passionate about. At United Way of the Alberta Capital Region, we are so grateful for our tremendous group of community builders who champion United Way and our mission to lift people out of poverty in Edmonton and the surrounding area.

There are so many ways to get involved with United Way: by delivering powerful speeches about how United Way changed their lives as a Community Impact Speaker; by volunteering at one of our many funded partners Days of Caring; by teaching financial literacy and empowerment at Each One, Teach One workshops; or by mentoring others at United Way to be the best they can be as a member of our Campaign Cabinet.

Laurie Anderson, Community Impact Speaker

Laurie Anderson, Community Impact Speaker

Community Impact Speakers
Laurie Anderson experienced first-hand the impact United Way has on families in need. As a mentor with Boys and Girls Club Big Brothers Big Sisters (BCGBigs), she helped girls and their families navigate difficult challenges. With her unique experience in the social services sector, Laurie went above and beyond the role of mentor, eventually becoming one of her mentee’s legal guardians and advocate. Along the way, she found support and community through United Way, BCGBigs and other support groups.

That experience led her to volunteer her time as a Community Impact Speaker, and now speaks at workplaces who are raising money for the United Way to tell them how their donation changes peoples’ lives: “It’s so important that we share these stories, to help others understand that people don’t choose poverty, and don’t choose the life they’ve been given, and have to deal with those challenges every single day.”

Campaign Cabinet
One of those people who was moved by an impact story and was inspired to make a difference was Michelle Devlin. Michelle has volunteered with United Way for over a decade, currently as a member of our Campaign Cabinet, among many other roles including supporting the Community Impact Speaker program. She’s driven by the difference United Way makes to create a strong, healthy community.

“Through my volunteer work, I’ve learned more about the difference that United Way makes in our community. I wanted to remain connected to an organization that is helping improve people’s lives by helping to lift them out of poverty.”

Gladys & Melissa Balcarce, Each One Teach One volunteers

Gladys & Melissa Balcarce, Each One Teach One volunteers

Each One, Teach One
Another way United Way makes a difference in community is by working with the Financial Pathways Collaborative. The group, made up of 7 local financial institutions, delivers financial literacy and financial empowerment programs.

For Gladys and Melissa Balcarce, banking and being passionate about helping their community runs in the family, as they are both bankers (with BMO and TD, respectively) and volunteer with Each One, Teach One.

As a child of immigrants, Gladys saw first-hand the difficulties newcomers can have navigating the financial world and was driven to help make things easier.

“I made sure I educated newcomers because a lot of time they have a hard time accessing resources in their home language and understanding how banking works in Canada. When the opportunity came for me to volunteer, I thought what better way to speak about my own experiences?”

Melissa was motivated by the opportunity to educate those intimidated by banks and empower them to learn more and take control of their finances.

“I can go into the community and help provide this education that is vital for a financial future. We see all different types of people — students, newcomers, people living in poverty, seniors. It’s nice that we can go into informal, comfortable settings and they can ask questions.”

This National Volunteer Week, we want to say Cheers To Volunteers, and thank you for all you do to serve our communities!