United Way Day of Action brings volunteers together throughout the world to help shore up the building blocks of a good life: Education, Income, and Health. Day of Action underscores that we are all connected and interdependent. We all win when a child succeeds in school, when families are financially stable, when people are healthy.
That’s why United Way of Greater Greensboro has chosen two issues to focus on during its 2014 Day of Action: providing financial literacy education for young people and fighting summer learning loss through books. United Way is collaborating with financial institutions in North Carolina like Wells Fargo and BB&T to provide enrichment skills in financial literacy for children. United Way is pairing volunteers from these and other companies with local youth programs, where they will teach children about saving money and other lifelong skills through fun and engaging activities. And because reading proficiency by third grade is the most important predictor of high school graduation and career success, businesses, organizations and individuals also have been encouraged to host a book drive in early June at work, church or school; drop off the collected books at United Way; and help sort books. The books will be donated to children and youth programs that operate over the summer, so that kids can maintain or improve their reading skills while school is out.
Understanding how people live is an essential step to becoming more interdependent, to learning how to LIVE UNITED. United Way of El Paso County’s Young Leaders Society is organizing a poverty simulation on United Way Day of Action to increase awareness of the kinds of situations that 22 percent of the population of El Paso, Texas faces every day.
About 80 people will participate on June 21, including Young Leaders members, United Way donors, and community leaders. Using a simulation kit, participants will role play the lives of low-income families. Some will be receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families benefits, some are disabled, and others are senior citizens on Social Security. Participants will have the stressful task of providing for basic necessities and shelter on a limited budget during the course of four 15-minute “weeks”. They will interact with volunteers who will play 17 different roles, such as human service agencies, grocers, pawnbrokers, bill collectors, job interviewers, police officers and others. Many of the volunteers will serve in roles that are similar to their actual line of work. The poverty simulation dramatically demonstrates how much time and energy it takes for families to survive from day to day, and gives participants the opportunity to discuss changes that could be made to improve financial stability among people in need.
These are but a few examples of how United Way is mobilizing volunteers on June 21 and throughout the year to advance the common good. We all can make a difference in so many ways. Will you join us? Contact your local United Way to find out what role you can play.