Newsroom

Austinites give back in a major way for Martin Luther King Day

Saturday, Janaury 14 marked the seventh annual United Way Capital Area MLK Day of Service. The MLK Day of Service serves as a day to reflect on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s message of “Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve.” More than 400 volunteers from all across the Austin community came together to complete service projects that supported 13 local nonprofits and schools. David Guzman, Executive Director of Positive Footprint, led a team of young men who volunteered with the Texas Ramp Project to build a wheelchair ramp for a member of the community. “Our guys loved the experience and are already talking about trying to arrange another volunteer event with them in the summer,” said David. “It was great to get them involved in work where they could actually see the result of their effort.” Leading up to the MLK Day of Service, United Way’s Webb Middle School volunteer leaders conducted interviews in the St. John’s neighborhood to identify and prioritize projects they could take on to help their community. Mainly, students had a strong desire to give back to their elementary school, J.J. Pickle. The team, led by seventh grade student Noel Mondragon, weeded the garden and flower beds, harvested vegetables, planted butterfly vines, cleared a pond, repaired compost bins and picked up trash on the campus grounds. When the project was complete, student volunteers reflected on the experience. “I feel really happy and pleased with our work. I feel like we accomplished something that helped […]

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Empowering students is part of the program with Middle School Matters

At Webb Middle School, United Way Capital Area is helping 20 7th graders become the next generation of community leaders by hosting a nationally-recognized Volunteer Project Leader (VPL) training program on campus. These dedicated 12- and 13-year-olds regularly get to school early every Thursday to participate in training. They are eager to learn how to make their school and neighborhoods better. “It started when we hosted volunteer projects on campus last spring,” said Nikki Krueger, Director, Volunteer Engagement at UWCA. “After Deloitte’s IMPACT Day there, the principal and assistant principal asked if we had leadership opportunities for their students. This fit perfectly.”

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United Healthcare decorates wagons, helps children

Absolutely incredible doesn’t begin to describe the collective energy of 250 United Healthcare (UHC) volunteers who came together on Tuesday, Nov. 1 to assemble and decorate 45 Radio Flyer wagons that were donated to 18 nonprofit agencies in Austin, Texas. Part of a service project held alongside their annual conference, the project began when UHC reached out to Hands On Central Texas (HOCT), the local affiliate of HandsOn, with one simple request: to host a project that benefited the health and wellbeing of young children in Central Texas. That’s just what they did by coming together to deck out wagons in animal, bug, rock star, racecar and super hero themes. United Way Capital Area partnered with Theatre Action Project who created the various themes, helped to coordinate the supplies and provided expert volunteers to assist in the design aspect of the wagons. Among other uses, the wagons will transport children to and from the hospital during surgery or treatment, no doubt providing a little joy to children and parents struggling through a tough time. The wagons will also be used as toys on playgrounds of nonprofits who serve low-income children and families. Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Texas representatives were present to thank the volunteers personally. “Our families loved the wagons!” said Missy Strittmatter, Events Coordinator, Ronald McDonald House of Austin. “This support brightened the day for children facing pediatric medical crises.” Through projects like these, HOCT brings together dedicated volunteers and companies like United Healthcare to support the needs […]

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Nordstrom volunteers go above and beyond to impact kids’ lives

A dozen volunteers from Nordstrom visited Webb Middle School last week to compile Kamico math activity kits that will be used my teachers to support the entire 7th grade for the rest of the year. Their story is an example of what happens when United Way brings together caring companies and local educators to make a difference in our community. Before the project started, Webb students spoke with Nordstrom volunteers about the importance of this and other projects on their campus. Webb is one of three middle schools in the Greater Austin area chosen to participate in Middle School Matters- a UWCA initiative to bring essential services offered by non-profits to key campuses and thus increase graduation rates.     “The Middle School Matters initiative has been a blessing for our students and our campus,” said Valerie Torres-Solis, Assistant Principal at Webb Middle School. “Last year my options in terms of helping my students were so very limited.  I could provide consequences but no real plan with resources to address the issues.   This year, with the support of Middle School Matters, I have quality services to offer my students and their families.  I know that when their hearts are right, there minds will be ready to achieve academic success.”

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[GUEST BLOG] Volunteerism – Make a Difference for Your Community and Business

The power of workplace volunteerism is huge –Americans are volunteering in record numbers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ January 2010 report, 1.5 million more Americans volunteered between September 2008 and September 2009 than the previous year. Wells Fargo team members in Austin have been actively involved with the United Way for many years and in fact, our Diversity Council and Team Member Networks are already planning projects to support the “Day of Caring” campaign in the Spring.  In addition to working for a company that has contributed more than $1.6 million to the United Way since 1999, I have also had the honor of serving on the United Way’s Campaign Cabinet and the Community Advisory Council. Why? Because it’s the right thing to do. Yet there also is a host of business benefits that can result from community service. Read on for a few examples of win-win situations that can be created when businesses support their employee volunteerism.

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Fall Day of Caring: 800+ volunteers come together!

On Friday, September 23, United Way Capital Area closed its doors as employees joined over 800 volunteers to complete 35 projects throughout the community. In total, volunteers gave 2,982 hours of service for UWCA’s Fall Day of Caring. Individuals from 22 Austin-area companies came together in teams to build community gardens, support local organizations, mentor students in career skills and much more. The event also boasts a key record: 28 projects were led by UWCA-trained Volunteer Project Leaders– each of them participated in a 2-hour session to learn how to make meaningful and lasting change in their community. Over the past 6 years, UWCA has taught hundreds of volunteer leaders as part of this national training initiative. To say thank you to our dedicated volunteers, we put together a YouTube video featuring clips and photos from throughout the day. Random quotes of kindness: Austin Nature & Science Center– I was amazed at how everyone worked together to get the project done. The people from the Austin Statesman really did an awesome job. The place looks remarkable, more than I expected. I really like that we are able to be a part of the Days of Caring with United Way. We always get so much done on those volunteer days. Thank you so much! – Project Leader Mainspring Schools– I absolutely loved this event. Sometimes when I volunteer, I don’t get to see the full impact of what my time and energy is buying. In this instance, I was able to see the […]

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MLK Day of Service provides more than 7,500 volunteer hours to the community

The rainy forecast didn’t stop approximately 700 volunteers from participating in the UWCA MLK Day of Service on Saturday, January 15. The volunteers, of which more than half were middle and high school students, participated in more than 20 projects across Austin and the surrounding area. “I think it’s really exciting to be with a whole bunch of people who are just dedicated toward one goal. Everyone woke up early and are here to give back and celebrate a wonderful day,” said Lacey Allen, who works with College Forward through AmeriCorps State. Allen’s group braved the weather to help clean and beautify Audubon Nature Trails. Most of these projects were outside and focused on landscape, garden and greenbelt beautificaton projects. Northwest Hills United Methodist Church didn’t let the rain cancellation of its project stop them. Its members joined other volunteers at Any Baby Can to help prepare materials for the upcoming 3M Half Marathon. “To have a community that is best for everyone, it takes everyone giving back and volunteering their time,” said Sue Abold, who helps coordinate volunteer projects for the church. The nonprofit organizations sponsoring projects are grateful for the efforts and time given by the volunteers. Christin Alvarado with Feria Para Aprender led volunteers in sorting donated Spanish-language books that will be given to children at an education fair on January 29. “We really needed the help with this annual event,” Alvardo said. “We usually have about 10,000 or so books that need sorting before the event, […]

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United We Serve – Austin Activities: Volunteer Leader Training & 1 Hour for Kids

Hi there. I wanted to let todos know about our United We Serve – Austin activities. All projects & trainings are open to volunteers, nonprofits & community members. Hope you can join us! Volunteer Project Leader Training – Equipping citizens to lead & organize volunteer projects Tuesday, August 18 from 6:00 – 8:30pm Register here: http://bit.ly/21p6YP Tuesday, August 25 from 6:00 – 8:30pm Register here: http://bit.ly/ODIiG 1 Hour for Kids Information Session – The most important hour you’ll spend all week Wednesday, August 19 from 6:00 – 7:00pm Register here: http://bit.ly/PUqKz Wednesday, August 26 from 6:00 – 7:00pm Register here: http://bit.ly/4mVDJ You can also view all our trainings and projects on our website at www.handsoncentraltexas.org.

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You can VIVIR UNIDOS today at the MACC!

Join us today to LIVE UNITED with Hispanic communities and all communities! Today, we’re hosting VIVIR UNIDOS at the MACC at 6pm. It’s a great way to find out how you can make a difference in the community & connect with the Latino community. Here’s what we have in store… Free VIVIR UNIDOS t-shirts Feria de los Voluntarios – Nonprofit Volunteer Fair VIVIR UNIDOS photo booth A Taste of Latinoamerica – Food from Casa Colombia , Buenos Aries Café, Hecho en Mexico y mas! La Esquina de HEB – Loteria games, sandias (watermelon slices) & agua fresca St. Edward’s University Ballet Folklorico & Salsa Performance by Jason Lozada and Rita Catriotta Door Prizes donated by National Instruments, Catholic Charities, Bucca de Beppo y mas! Muy popular public figures: Univision TV’s Leslie Montoya, ACM Mike Martinez & Austin’s favorite Police Chief, Art Acevedo! All pact in 2 ½ hours of fun! See you today at 6pm at the MACC! Adelante! Mando Director, Hands On Central Texas United Way Capital Area armando.rayo@unitedwayaustin.org 512-785-0447

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