Page 65 - Discover Magazine 2019
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CITIZENSSPOTLIGHT SHELBY COUNTY UNITED WAY
  Day of Action volunteers from Honda of America
For the United Way Worldwide Day of Action, tens of thousands of people across the globe volunteer with United Way to fight for the health, education and financial stability of every person in every community. The Day of Action is an opportunity for
volunteers, donors and advocates who seek to change lives and communities to be part of the solutions that make a real difference in people’s lives. Each local United Way decides when and how to participate.
The Shelby County United Way began participating
in the Day of Action in 2017 as an effort to engage local companies and promote volunteerism. By the second year, a total of 23 companies and organizations participated and completed 18 service projects.
Rather than pick one particular day, the Shelby County United Way spreads the activity over a week which in 2019 will be the week of June 17. This gives participants more flexibility in scheduling their workers.
The idea behind the Day of Action is that company workers will be given release time to volunteer to complete community projects. These projects might include beautification efforts, service to underserved populations, or needed improvements to facilities or parks.
“This is a community effort,” said Scott Barr, President and CEO of the Shelby County United Way. “We do not specify that the projects have to be with our partner agencies. We want to impact the entire community. Volunteers who participate do get a Live United t-shirt and a lot of them will wear those on the day they work, but the Day of Action is not about the United Way. It is about driving companies and organizations to go out into the community.”
In 2018, over 167 volunteers participated, giving a collective 850 hours to serve others.
One focus of the local Day of Action has been to revitalize and beautify area parks. Last year, eight of the
projects involved outdoor park areas. As the effort grows, the United Way hopes to broaden the scope of the activity so that all the city parks plus those in the villages will have benefited from Day of Action volunteerism.
Some of the 2018 projects included painting and removing wallpaper at Clear Creek Farm, landscaping
and mulching at New Choices domestic violence center, removing and replacing the community garden fence, painting a room at the Shelby County Historical Society, painting and mulching at Ohio Living Dorothy Love and at the Village of Anna Park, and picking up trash in downtown Sidney.
Members of P.O.W.E.R. (the United Way’s Women’s Initiative) did painting at CASA and the Born Learning Trail. Other painting done by various organizations included shelters and picnic tables at Milligan 1 and 2 in Tawawa Park, the shelter and playground equipment at Meyer Meadow in Tawawa Park, the shelter and equipment at Chief O’Leary Park, the Stolle Bridge in Tawawa Park, and the shelter, sign, picnic tables and water fountain at Plum Ridge Park.
Other projects included power-washing and staining the ramp at the Sidney Historical Society, replacing the roof on the bird watching house at Bornhorst Woods, replacing port- o-pot enclosures in Tawawa Park, and mulching around the Courthouse.
“Most of the projects that are suggested and that we select are beautification efforts,” said Barr. “We want to show impact so that people will say ‘oh wow, something was done.’ Things that are visible spark attention and conversation.”
The United Way partners with the city, the county, and area non-profits to identify potential projects. All are invited to submit project ideas and then those ideas are sent to potential participants.
“Everybody has things that they would like to have done
so the point is that if non-profits can get volunteers to do the work, then the money they would have used to paint or mulch or whatever can be put towards their programming and other needs,” said Barr.
Companies and organizations who participated in
the 2018 Day of Action included Emerson Climate Technologies, Peerless, Student United Way, P.O.W.E.R., Choice One Engineering, Cargill, Wilson Health, US Bank, Lochard, Tom’s Lawn and Landscape, Juvenile Court, Honda, Edgewell, City of Sidney, Dicke’s Lawn Care, Shreves Construction, Sidney Alive, Alvetro Orthodontics, Sidney Body CarStar, Ashley Himes State Farm, Board
of Developmental Disabilities, Ben Waters Services and Painting, and the Chamber Young Professionals.
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