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United Way Brings Volunteers Together for Days of Action

Original Source - Cleveland Daily Banner

It’s shaping up to be a record-breaking year for United Way of Bradley County’s volunteer efforts.

In just three short years, the numbers have grown from just 100 to more than 300 volunteers. As part of a larger community effort to changes lives in the Ocoee region, United Way of Bradley County is mobilizing volunteers in two Days of Action, one in Polk County and one in Bradley County.

“Volunteers are the driving force behind everything we do at United Way of Bradley County,” said Matt Ryerson, president and chief executive officer of United Way of Bradley County.

“On these two days, we will see people from all walks of life coming together to make life better for their neighbors, but it’s not a once a year effort.”

Engaging volunteers is a year-round priority for United Way of Bradley County, Ryerson said.

Last year, more than 15,000 hours of volunteer time were invested in the community through United Way of Bradley County, giving time to enroll children in Imagination Library; creating Born Learning trails to promote early learning; painting, cleaning and beautifying schools and parks; building capacity within the nonprofit sector; conducting needs assessments to guide United Way-led neighborhood revitalization efforts; and creating solutions for homelessness.

That’s part of the bigger vision that United Way of Bradley County is advancing, focusing on identifying needs and creating solutions. United Way spotlights education, income and health because they are the building blocks for a good quality of life and a strong community, Ryerson pointed out.

United Way of Bradley County works to engage the community in solutions to the immediate region’s toughest challenges, he said.

“We’ve made it a priority to get our supporters involved,” according to United Way campaign co-chair Matt Jenne. “More and more people are answering the call to give of their time to make our community a better place. We’re working to connect people with what matters most to them and get them actively engaged in this work.”

Efforts also expand beyond Bradley County.

The Polk County Day of Action took place on Saturday in Benton. With over 40 volunteers, projects included painting, cleaning, restoration and beautification at South Polk Elementary, People Helping People and the Benton Unit of the Boys and Girls Club.

The Bradley County Day of Action will take place on July 31 and mobilize over 250 volunteers at more than 20 project sites, with project supplies donated by Elder’s Ace Hardware.

“This effort mobilizes corporate teams in a positive and impactful way,” says United Way campaign co-chair Matt Tolbert. “These partnerships are critical to building a thriving community here in the Ocoee region and we are so grateful to those participating companies.”

To date, Whirlpool Corporation, Elder’s Ace Hardware, Life Care Centers of America, Cleveland Utilities, Duracell, Lonza, Mars Inc., Cleveland Rotary Club, Publix, Cleveland State Community College, Coca-Cola and Target have all signed up to participate.

Immediately following the Bradley County Day of Action, United Way will kick off its annual campaign which generated $2.3 million last year.