Newsroom

Volunteer Project Leaders show grown-ups how it’s done

In the early spring days of March and April, classes of Volunteer Project Leaders (VPL) at Decker and Mendez Middle Schools – 30 middle school students making a difference in their community – directed staff, administrators and founding members of the UWATX Young Leaders Society (YLS) in their first campus clean-up projects. The Decker VPL students, using the skills they’d obtained through their VPL training, instructed us through a detailed gardening project to beautify their campus: we raked old flowerbeds, planted fresh seeds and mulched the school garden. Volunteers worked tirelessly on that sunny day and there was never a dull moment as one of our esteemed young leaders, Mr. Juan Wah, hummed and sang his rendition of Carly Rae Jepsen’s Call Me Maybe. The project ended with a student-facilitated recap – allowing us the opportunity to discuss everyone’s favorite part of the day.  The VPL class at Mendez Middle School achieved their big milestone just a few days later: organizing and participating in their own campus clean-up project. The VPL class, along with volunteers from YLS, covered a ton of ground as we trekked across campus in search of unwanted, miscellaneous trash. The Mendez VPL students set an incentive for the person who found the most bizarre piece of trash – a gift certificate. Among the many items found the contenders were: a “Will you go out with me?” note a car floor mat a mouse pad a smoke alarm several carpet squares  a dismembered sock monkey. The dismembered […]

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Hands On makes a $2M impact

Hands On Central Texas makes a $2M impact from United Way for Greater Austin Last year, our Hands On Central Texas  program, Austin’s largest volunteer network, made quite a difference, and here are just a few highlights: Our in-house team of two volunteer managers coordinated 13,000 volunteers – that’s 92,000 hours of doing good Through our Hands On database, approximately 10,000 additional volunteers got connected to meaningful projects We worked with more than 500 organizations, businesses and groups We adapted our Volunteer Project Leader program for middle school students and started classes at Webb Middle School. Our first class of students did so much good work, we expanded it to Decker Middle School and Mendez Middle School – the other campuses served by Middle School Matters. We did the math: based on the value of an hour of volunteering, for only the hours we directly managed, Hands On Central Texas made an impact of more than $2 million! We couldn’t have done it with out you: we – our team alongside the companies, individuals and organizations that came out for our Days of Caring  and other projects – made Austin greater. Thank you!  

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[INFOGRAPHIC] Philanthropy in Austin

Download a larger version. Learn more about our impact, Play To Learn, Learn Where You Earn or Middle School Matters or get more informed about philanthropy by looking at some of our sources: Chronicle of Philanthropy: philanthropy.com Corporation for National and Community Service: volunteeringinamerica.gov The Daily Beast: thedailybeast.com  Global Impact: givingpartner.charity.org   UWATX Impact Calculator: uwatx.org/impact  Independant Sector: independentsector.org  Association of Fundraising Professionals: afpnet.org 

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14th Annual MLK Blvd. Clean Up honors Martin Luther King, Jr.

This past Saturday State Rep. Dawnna Dukes held the 14th Annual MLK Blvd. Clean Up to honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Each year, this service project brings together hundreds of volunteers who dedicate time to beautifying the Austin street bearing King’s name. “MLK Day of Service is the only federal holiday observed as a national day of service, a holiday that calls for all of us to work together to strengthen our community,” said Dukes. “I’m so grateful to see all of these empowered volunteers here today, dedicating their time and energy to honor Dr. King’s vision – a ‘Beloved Community.’” This year’s day of service was solely dedicated to the beatification of MLK Blvd. United Way for Greater Austin (UWATX) supported the family-friendly event by recruiting 400+ volunteers through its volunteer program, Hands On Central Texas. Total volunteer hours for the day were 1,260! That’s equivalent to $27,606.60 in volunteer time given back to the community! “Our vision is for Greater Austin to be a resilient, innovative, philanthropic, creative and thriving community for all,” said UWATX President Debbie Bresette. “What is happening here today supports this vision. I think Dr. King would be proud of Austin and the direction we’re headed.” Volunteers gathered at J.J. Seabrook Park at 9 am for registration, supplies distribution and an official kickoff led by Rep. Dukes, Mayor Leffingwell and Huston-Tillotson President Dr. Larry Earvin. After the kick-off, volunteers dispersed along MLK Blvd. to pick up trash and […]

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UWATX named major beneficiary of new Austin international music festival!

We’re so excited to announce that UWATX was named the major beneficiary of a new world music festival that will take place April 6 and 7, 2013 at the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center (MACC) in downtown Austin! The festival, called WobeonFest, will feature internationally acclaimed musicians, including Angelique Kidjo and Collie Buddz, as well as local artists. An outdoor main stage will feature acts, flanked by a grassy lawn and international food and beverage vendors. A global bazaar will spread across the expansive Zocalo area of the MACC and will feature a marketplace of merchandise, artists and cultural organizations that reflect the global nature of the festival. UWATX is teaming up with WobeonFest to assist in organizing and hosting the first-time festival AND we will receive a portion of the proceeds from the music festival! UWATX was chosen as a festival partner because of our dedication to ensuring Austin continues to thrive, which aligns with WobeonFest’s vibe – a diverse and culturally dynamic event. “We are delighted to be working with WobeonFest,” said Debbie Bresette, President of UWATX. “The festival provides an excellent vehicle to bring greater awareness of the issues faced by our diverse community, and to raise additional resources to help us serve its needs.” Stay tuned for information about tickets and volunteer opportunities! A limited number of on-site vendor and sponsorship opportunities are available. Up-to-date festival information and artist lineup can be found a www.wobeonfest.com. For more details, please contact christa.berry@uwatx.org.

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Get involved in National Mentoring Month locally

January is National Mentoring Month and what a great time to either get involved in a mentoring program or thank someone who has mentored you over the years! Established in 2002, National Mentoring Month celebrates mentoring and the evidence-based, positive effect it can have on our youth. At United Way for Greater Austin, our Target Graduation program connects middle school students to the mentoring services they desperately need. In the 2011-2012 school year, 350 students from three local middle schools received mentoring services as a results of UWATX funding and coordination. Studies have shown that: Middle school students with at least one supportive adult in their lives are almost twice as likely to graduate high school. Mentored teens are 46% less likely to get into drugs, 59% get better grads and 73% raise their goals. Mentoring has a positive impact on the number of unexcused absences, increases students’ attitudes about school, decreases the incidences of disruption in class and increases the likelihood of being engaged in what is going on in the classroom. Mentors can change the course of a young person’s life – they can provide support in education, in day-to-day living and even in the workplace. If you’re interested in becoming a mentor, here are several local organizations that can connect you to that perfect opportunity! Hands On Central Texas – Connects the community to all types of volunteer opportunities, including mentorship opportunities. Communities in Schools – One-on-one mentoring and tutoring programs available on several campuses across AISD […]

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Hands On focuses on holiday gifts

Dates:  November 16, 2012 – December 19, 2012 Hands On Central Texas, UWATX’s volunteer program, is working with our community partners to support Austin families this holiday season. Please join our effort in fundraising the following items for the following groups and individuals: Gift Cards for Financial Education Middle School Uniforms & Sweaters Playground Adoption & Clean-Up Tablet Covers & Screen Protectors for Success By 6 Pre-Teens to Young Adults Book Drive Teacher Care Kits Turkey Donations to Local Food Pantry The Basics: Diapers, Wipes and Underwear (socks, too!) Culturally Sensitive Thanksgiving Dinner Drive for Local Middle School Students This is a family-friendly volunteer opportunity that your faith-based organization, school leadership group and neighborhood can rally behind. This citywide Holiday Drive is an example of United Way’s goal to build philanthropy in our community by providing both giving and volunteer opportunities, allowing everyone to be a philanthropist regardless of how much they earn or where they live. The act of giving binds us all together and joins us in the shared mission of making sure our community continues to thrive. Holiday Drives can be organized individually or as a team. This opportunity to help continues through Wednesday, December 19th. Find out more. Photo courtesy of cwwycoff1 via Creative Commons.  

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Local Holiday Assistance Programs: How you can help

Each year around the holidays, nonprofits, faith-based communities and community partners come together to contribute to holiday joy for the most needy in our community. Programs range from holiday meals (like yesterday’s Feast of Sharing, put on by H-E-B) and food boxes to holiday gifts for children. And whether you’re in need of these resources or you’d like to contribute, you can just call 2-1-1,  a service of our Navigation Center, to connect to up-to-date information about these holiday assistance programs. In Travis County, holiday gift programs are provided by The Salvation Army Social Service Center, Operation Blue Santa, which is operated by the Austin Police Department, and Brown Santa, run by the Travis County Sheriff’s Office. The programs match individuals and families in need with organizations and individual sponsors who provide holiday meals, toys and gifts. For many area children, these are the only toys they will receive all year. In addition to providing holiday assistance information through 2-1-1, the United Way Navigation Center publishes calendars each year that include free or low-cost Thanksgiving and Christmas meals in Central Texas. The calendars are used by area nonprofits, like the Capital Area Food Bank. 2-1-1 also provides information on holiday volunteer opportunities each year. Just last week, 2-1-1 received a call from a woman who had received assistance from the Christmas Bureau in the past and said that because she is in a better place in her life this year, she wanted information on how to volunteer to help others in […]

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[VIDEO] How we make Austin greater

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h66EK3NeaIA&feature=g-upl[/youtube] At UWATX, our mission is to help Austin thrive by inspiring, leading and uniting an eclectic community of philanthropists to overcome barriers to economic opportunities. This video focuses on how our strategic programs – Success By 6, Target Graduation, Financial Opportunity and the Navigation Center – are making a difference in Greater Austin. Special thanks to Sneaky Giants for making this happen!

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Partner Profile: ABC Home & Commercial Services

Name: ABC Home & Commercial Services  Partner for: 6 months Partner for: Employee Campaign, Hands On Central Texas   Our relationship: Taking advantage of UWATX offerings to better the community In just a few short months, ABC has selected a variety of UWATX services to make the most of our relationship, including Employee Campaign, volunteering and employee support through Learn Where You Earn. The company participated in Fall Day of Caring, plans to conduct a Volunteer Project Leader training course and uses Hands On Central Texas to facilitate and track employee volunteering.   Tailoring Employee Campaign  ABC leaders and UWATX staff worked hard to consider the company’s culture and structure to create an engaging, unique Employee Campaign. To accommodate different schedules, UWATX staff held meetings at various times for different teams – including several 7 a.m. meetings. UWATX also produced Spanish-language materials for ABC’s many Spanish-speaking employees. During Fall Day of Caring, Employees were able to utilize their expertise in landscaping to improve a children’s playground at one of UWATX’s early childhood education partners.  They didn’t let a little rain stop them and even finished early! The experience matched employee’s skills with community needs to benefit both.   Involving leadership to make a greater impact ABC leaders have committed their time, resources and expertise to make an impact on our community through UWATX. Mark Ambrose, General Manager, not only helped coordinate their employee campaign, but personally attended each of the 20 departmental meetings to ask employees to consider supporting UWATX, even travelling to […]

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