Mei Cobb is Senior Director, Volunteer & Employee Engagement at United Way Worldwide headquartered outside of Washington, DC. Prior to her work at United Way, Mei served as Senior Vice President for the Points of Light Foundation, founded in 1990 by former President George H.W. Bush. Mei led all programming and was in charge of Infrastructure Development & Delivery Systems. During her fifteen year tenure with the Foundation, her responsibilities included the development of and partnership with the 350 local affiliates of the Volunteer Center National Network.
In addition, her portfolio included corporate volunteering, youth and family volunteering, international and disaster volunteering. Mei is also a partner with VIP GlobalNet and an international consultant and trainer on volunteering. She is a strong advocate for the leadership role Volunteer Centers play to help impact serious social problems in local communities throughout the world. She has consulted, designed and conducted training in 21 countries on 6 continents. She most recently worked with the Emirates Foundation in the United Arab Emirates. Earlier in her career, Mei was Vice President, Volunteer Services at the United Way of San Diego County and worked at the United Way of Escambia County and the United Way of Greater Milwaukee.
Volunteers should get lots of thanks and recognition. They make time, show up and share of themselves all in the name of helping someone else. Worldwide, volunteers are essential to improving the education, income and health of people in need, protecting the environment, advocating for social change, and more.
I thought it was great that individuals were permitted to ask questions during the second presidential debates. One question to ask is where the candidates stand on promoting volunteer engagement through national service.
OPPORTUNITY NATION WEEK OF ACTION (OCT. 8TH-15TH) - Fewer Americans are likely to earn a high school diploma than their parents, a distinction not shared by any other industrialized country. We know that when students drop out of school, communities suffer. About one quarter of all students – one million students a year, 3,000 a day – fail to graduate on time. It’s no wonder that our trust in the power of the American Dream is wavering.
October 2nd is a national holiday in India commemorating the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi. It may have another designation soon, as Indian business, government and nonprofit leaders recently signed a petition to President Pranab Mukherjee to establish October 2nd as "National Volunteering Day". These leaders recognize that India’s future depends on volunteers, whose time, minds and muscles can speed the pace of development in their country of more than one billion people.
“Education.” Many of us automatically think “school” when we hear that word. But learning happens everywhere, especially for young children. And in our effort to cut the number of high school drop outs in half, United Way supports early childhood learning in diverse ways: through reading programs, book drives of course, but also in parks and on playgrounds.