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.”
Valerie shared her experiences with the group from Nordstrom, including the difficulties students overcame like personal circumstances and previous bad behavior issues.
“You could feel the support from the teachers to their students, and the students for each other. What a great environment to learn and grow,” said Shelia Wooldridge, Nordstrom Store Manager.
The project is the second time that Nordstrom has volunteered at Webb this school year. They also compile Kamico kits for the entire 6th grade during UWCA’s Fall Day of Caring in September, also part of UWCA’s Hands On Central Texas work.
“Nordstrom employees are passionate about giving back to their community through both their time and their dollars. They consider their philanthropic commitment as important as their own commitment to provide the most excellent customer service experience possible,” said Sherry Mauch, Development Officer at UWCA.
Nordstrom employees have given more than 300 hours of individual volunteer time. For them, volunteering and giving are part of being dedicated members of our community.
“I give to United Way because I am inspired by the people that work at the agencies, and the people they are helping. Everyone is doing their best to make a difference, giving is my way to support, and hopefully make a difference, in this wonderful community that I am lucky enough to be a part of,” said Sheila.
The project is just one example of the ways that nonprofits, business and other groups can LIVE UNITED through UWCA: by introducing these passionate volunteers to Central Texas children, they both benefit. The project also brings together three areas of UWCA’s work by uniting a company involved in Workplace Giving, a volunteer project run through Hands On Central Texas and one of the three schools involved in Middle School Matters.
As Valerie says, by investing in your community through UWCA, “You are not just giving money, you are changing lives.”