The UWATX Volunteer Project Leader (VPL) middle school program aims to transform youth into active community leaders by teaching them leadership skills they need to make lasting change in their communities. This week, 35 middle school VPL students from the three campuses we work on attended a celebration of their accomplishments at Kerbey Lane Cafe. They ordered pancakes and breakfast tacos from a special menu featuring a letter of encouragement and congratulations from Kerbey Lane’s CEO and UWATX Board Member, Mason Ayer. These students from Mendez, Webb and Decker Middle Schools completed 20 volunteer projects this year, ranging from making seed balls and beautifying their neighborhoods, to packing hygiene kits for the homeless and leading a craft station for refugee children. After breakfast, students received special certificates, t-shirts and journals to document their ideas on how to continue making Austin greater. As with any VPL meeting, the event concluded with a peer shoutout exercise we call “brag on your neighbor.” Students and volunteers recognized the contributions of each other that made this year both successful and fun. Below are some messages left by the students on a reflection board from the event: “Thank you for helping me help others” “Thank you for showing me skills I didn’t know I had” “Because of VPL, I know that I want to grow up to be a philanthropist” Want to make a difference in the community? Visit HandsOnCentralTexas.org, the largest volunteer network in Central Texas, and find opportunities that interest you!Read More
International Women’s Day Spotlight: Amy Green-Hinojosa
Today is International Women’s Day, a day where women around the world are celebrated for their social, economic, cultural and political achievements. The origins of this day date back to 1908, when female oppression and inequality inspired women to become more vocal and active about gaining better pay and voting rights. We now celebrate this day globally in various ways, ranging from festivals, concerts, female-driven tech conferences and more. This year, we are celebrating by highlighting one of UWATX’s longtime female supporters, Amy Green-Hinojosa. Not only is Amy a dedicated Women’s Leadership Council member, but she is also an Employee Campaign Leader at her workplace, Texas Mutual. As an Employee Campaign Leader, Amy plays a critical role in leading and inspiring her co-workers and employees to give back to our community through campaign. It is investors, volunteers and community leaders like Amy, and their continuous support, that allow our organization to thrive and make Austin greater. We took some time to chat with Amy about her background and involvement with UWATX and why she is invested in this community. How long have you been involved with United Way and in what capacities? I have been contributing to United Way since I began my adult career, first in California, then here in Texas. I have been an ECL many times in my career. I was active in the Austin Young Leaders Society in my younger days ,and then I transitioned to the WLC. I served on the Executive Committee of WLC for a few […]Read More
Volunteers Scaring for a Good Cause!
In celebration of the spookiest time of the year, UWATX’s Young Leaders Society (YLS) members volunteered at Decker Middle School’s Fright Night last week. Fright Night, one of Decker’s most popular student events, allows students to use their creativity while coordinating with YLS volunteers to transform the school into a “haunted house”. Volunteers helped set up, scared students as they moved through the haunted house and took photos of the students for souvenirs. Fright Night helps sponsor the AVID program at Decker Middle School, which gives students the opportunities to attend field trips to college campuses and provides in class activities around career and college readiness. We had the opportunity to talk with Julie Fisher, YLS Chair, about her volunteering experience the Fright Night event. What were some of the activities you were involved in during Fright Night? I was involved with set up, setting the kids in waves down the stairwell and cleanup/breakdown. Describe your favorite part of the night Watching the kids give each other pep talks before going into the Haunted House. The event itself is always a blast, but I love the set up and break down with the students. It is a great opportunity to interact with them and give them a chance to give us the orders on how to set up the different rooms and halls. It was encouraging to see how excited they were after they received such positive feedback from their peers on how “awesome” the experience was. What do you enjoy […]Read More