June 21st 2013 was the second edition of United Way France’s Day of Action. As a very young United Way, we successfully gathered United Way France’s volunteers, partners and organizations to engage them to give, volunteer and advocate for education.
This year, in the framework of our Success at School Program which allowed United Way France to support nearly 4,000 children with 2,800 committed volunteers, in Paris and Ile de France, we organized, in partnership with one of our nonprofit organization called Entraide Scolaire Amicale (E.S.A) a special afternoon in the 12TH arrondissement of Paris with different activities. One of them was a very interesting historical visit of the neighborhood made by an expert on the question of “Urbanism and social mixity”. We also had the opportunity to meet the principal of the Guy Flavien’s middle school who shared his innovative conceptions on education and on the alternative pedagogy he implemented in his school to improve the children’s academic results and self-esteem. At the end of the afternoon, we attended an exhibition of some children’s drawings in one of the most famous place of the 12th arrondissement: “La Maison des Associations “.
Among the participants of the event were: representatives of OECD, representatives of our partner companies, some members of our board and committees along with organizations like Tamerantong and Les Petits Riens, which are involved our “Success at School” Program. Several galvanized volunteers concretely showed their contribution in fostering success at school by sharing their experiences through very moving testimonials. Last but not least, some children were also involved through sharing about their inspirational experiences on how volunteers managed to help them handle their difficulties at school. One of them called Amine who had to go through serious difficulties in Maths and English shared his own moving experiences. Before his participation to work sessions with his volunteer, he told us he thought he would never manage to speak proper English. After this year of training, he realized that his level had improved. “ I wanted to work more with my volunteer , one hour per week was not enough for me so we decided to work for two hours each week” he said, “ the more we worked together , the more confident I felt”.
On the whole, this Day of Action was not just an occasion to connect United Way France with other United Ways around the world engaged in similar efforts. Rather, it has been mean to introduce United Way as one of the key opportunity to gather the community around underprivileged youth issues and an opportunity to foresee more concretely the mobilization of the different initiatives and nonprofits in the community.