January is National Mentoring Month. Middle School Matters recognizes that each student is different and therefore has individual needs in order to be successful in high school. One of the many important support services offered through the Middle School Matters program is mentoring. United Way partners with two research-based nonprofits, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Texas and Communities In Schools, to provide mentoring services to the students of Decker, Mendez and Webb Middle Schools. Students who are matched with a mentor see a rise in their class attendance, grades and overall satisfaction with school. In addition, adults who volunteer as a mentor see positive changes in their own lives as well. Alison, a graphic designer who has lived in Austin for two years, has learned a lot from her time mentoring. She has learned more about other cultural traditions, family dynamics, and herself. Alison has mentored Izzy, a 15-year-old student in Austin, for a little over one year. Izzy’s family originally signed her up for Big Brothers Big Sisters to help Izzy work through bullying issues and to set up a support network for her outside of school. Since Izzy and Alison have begun their journey together, Alison has noticed changes in Izzy’s behavior. “She has always been kind and caring, but had a hard time showing it before in school. Now, she is more confident in herself and able to share her creative and happy side.” Izzy and Alison first bonded over their love of art. On their first outing, Alison took […]Read More
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 […]Read More