On Day of Action United Way mobilizes volunteers around the world to improve conditions in their communities. While each United Way creates meaningful activities centered on specific challenges in their communities, many focus on summer learning and nutrition. Here are a few examples of projects that inspired us, and tips for taking action on your own.
- Fight summer reading loss. Children in lower-income communities in the U.S. are more likely to fall behind academically during the summer compared to their higher-income peers, due to decreased access to books and enrichment activities. United Way of Central Iowa hosted a sunrise-to-sunset “LITERACY SOLSTICE” in Des Moines, mobilizing volunteers to create 4,000 literacy kits, each with a book and an activity to reinforce reading skills. Literacy kits are easy to make and make an impact! Here’s how, thanks to United Way of Greater Richmond and Petersburg.
- Improve access to meals. Summer is also a difficult time for families who may have relied on free or reduced price meals during the school year. United Way of Bucks County (PA) mobilized more than 630 volunteers to pack 100,000 nutritious shelf-stable meals in a single day, ensuring pantries always have something to give to residents in need and helping 50,000 people keep hunger at bay. Learn more ways to fight summer hunger in your neighborhood.
- Build a better place to live. On Day of Action, United Way of Summit County rallied volunteers in Akron, Ohio to transform a dilapidated neighborhood of 25,000. More than 1,800 community members and other volunteers created and installed painted plywood boards that look like real windows on vacant houses; did general cleanup and landscaping; built a community garden, playground, and other green spaces; and further created a sense of safety and community by giving all houses on the block a porch or security light or fire detector. Find ideas for community service projects in your own community here.
You don’t have to wait until Day of Action to create positive change for yourself, your family and your community. Contact your local United Way to learn how to improve the lives of others – and your own life -- through volunteering.