Each year on June 21, United Ways around the world invite their communities to improve the conditions in which they live by volunteering with United Way. The goal of United Way Day of Action is to inspire everyone to join United Way in our work to address pressing social challenges in education, income and health. In 2014, more than 348 United Ways in all 50 states and 14 countries mobilized volunteers in their communities on Day of Action.
Here’s a sneak preview of what’s being planned this year, from Africa to Asia, Europe to the U.S. and places in between. United Way Ghana will mobilize volunteers in three communities to mentor students, clean up beaches and improve buildings through painting, carpentry and masonry. In Budapest, United Way Magyarorszag will enlist employee volunteers to help children develop 21st century skills, collect children's books and stationery, and participate in reading sessions with children during Hungary’s largest family event, “Children's Island." United Way of India will rally volunteers to advocate online for United Way’s community impact initiatives.
Stateside, all the United Ways in Idaho are joining forces to combat summer learning loss across the state by hosting the first-ever United Way Week of Action Book Drive. In Ohio, Tiffin-Seneca United Way is planning a community fair with various local health and human service agencies to help spread the word about what they offer community members. United Way also will be hosting a school supplies sign up for children in need, and is planning to have an "E-Bus" from a local bank to provide financial education, such as helping individuals understand their credit scores and teaching them about opening and maintaining a checking account.
And, because June 21 is Father’s Day in the United States, United Way of Kern County is running a social media campaign to honor fathers, grandfathers and other male caregivers who read with their young children. United Way is calling for submissions of photos of fathers reading with their children and giving books to all who submit.
Why does United Way mobilize volunteers on Day of Action and throughout the year? Because we need to do more than raise money to support charitable organizations, schools, hospitals and other institutions that are on the front lines improving lives. We need to do more than advocate for policies that bring relief to people who are struggling. United Way promotes volunteering because we can’t create the world we dream of unless people get involved. Volunteering connects us to our neighbors, and then our neighbors’ concerns become our own.
Along with philanthropy and advocacy, volunteering is essential to building a stronger community. I invite you to join our call to action throughout the world, on June 21 and every other day of the year: Give. Advocate. Volunteer.