Every day in Austin, we’re working to ensure each child has access to high-quality education, every family has the tools they need to be financially stable, and health and human services are readily available for all.
In honor of National Volunteer Week, we are honoring UWATX’s supportive volunteers, employee campaign leaders, giving society members and more–we couldn’t do what we do without them!
Cristian Dominguez is a seventh grader at Webb Middle School and has participated in the middle school Volunteer Project Leader (VPL) program for two years. Brad Wilkinson, UWATX Volunteer Engagement Specialist, and Cristian have known each other for one semester ever since Brad began attending the weekly VPL meetings at Webb. The VPL program at Webb allows Cristian and other VPL participants the opportunity to learn about community issues, build leadership skills and lead projects that help others.
Cristian has consistently pushed forward new ideas on how to help others, including planning a story time booth to read to children at last year’s Community Tree Lighting event and organizing a day with classmates to pack 30 comprehensive toiletry kits for individuals transitioning from homelessness in the community. Brad and Cristian interviewed each other to discuss what motivates them to give back as well as what they have taken away from the VPL program:
Brad: Why do you volunteer through the VPL program?
Cristian: “Because I like to help, a lot.”
Brad: What are your favorite types of volunteer activities?
Cristian: “I am excited to go to the Ronald McDonald House to make breakfast for others.”
Brad: Can you describe any volunteer experience that has been helpful to you in other parts of your life (such as school)?
Cristian: “Helping is something you can do in all areas of your life and it is great to have examples of how your effort can really make a difference! I volunteer at my church also.”
Brad: What made you want to start volunteering?
Cristian: “I just find joy in helping others.”
Brad: What makes Austin greater?
Cristian: “VPL class and helping the community.”
Cristian: How long have you been involved with United Way?
Brad: “I have worked at UWATX for over five months and I work to support VPL program.”
Cristian: What is your favorite part of volunteering with VPL students?
Brad: “I like meeting middle school students who are excited to give back to their community.”
Cristian: Why do you believe it is important to volunteer as an adult?
Brad: “I think it’s helpful to understand the needs of the community.”
Cristian: What do you gain from your volunteer work?
Brad: “Friends and getting a deeper understanding of social issues.”
Cristian: What makes Austin greater?
Brad: “Mexican Food!”