The United Way of Natrona County says that April is National Volunteer Month.
“We are celebrating local volunteers, anyone who volunteers in any way,” UWNC Executive Director Anna Wilcox said. “We want to as United Way promote volunteerism and your responsibility to the community. Spring and summer are a great time to be volunteering.”
Wilcox said she thinks volunteering is a great way to get involved in the community, particularly for people who want to help out, but can’t necessarily do that using their financial resources.
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“Donations aren’t always possible,” she said. “I know that when I used to volunteer 8-20 hours a week, that was way more beneficial than the $10 or $20 I could have given at that time.”
Wilcox added that UWNC is working to help companies looking for ways that can get involved with volunteerism in the community. She said UWNC is helping them link up with some of their partner agencies and find volunteer options that make sense for them.”
In a 2017 Deloitte Volunteerism Survey, 89% of working Americans who took the survey said that companies who sponsor volunteer activities provide a better working environment than companies that do not.
77% “say company-sponsored volunteer activities are essential to employee well-being.”
She explained that some companies might hesitate to have their employees volunteer while they’re on the clock due to cost and disruption to the work day. But Wilcox said there are a lot of other options companies can explore.
“We have launched a workplace volunteer program,” Wilcox said. “We can help companies find where they fit into volunteer culture.”
She said that options like once-a-month volunteer service events, or volunteer efforts that companies can conduct in their own work spaces give companies a lot of choice.
Wilcox said that in March, UWNC coordinated with the Casper Area Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber of Commerce helped pack backpacks for “Ready League,” a program which aims to get parents with children under five years old ready for school.
“Everyone sticks around at the end of the day and as a team packs the bags.” Wilcox said, adding that the Chamber of Commerce could pack 150 bags with books and other materials in a short amount of time.
“We want to help organizations ease into the idea of volunteerism,” she added. “We also want to work with the skill-sets that a business might have.”
She pointed to another opportunity. She said that one of UWNC’s partners, Seton House, has a warehouse full of furniture. Wilcox explained that one of Seton House’s goals it to allow people to live with the same dignity as if they were living independently.
Wilcox said that UWNC had the idea that some of that furniture could be painted or repaired to match as a set. She said that some of this furniture could be delivered to a company that can do the painting or conduct the repairs, and that company could work on a few pieces at a time.
“That would not even require time out of the office,” Wilcox said.
She also pointed to volunteerism as a way to reach out to millennials.
“Millennials want to share with the world what they’re doing,” Wilcox said. “Volunteering is perfect for that. I understand that for them, there is a strong desire to give, and maybe that means time more than money.”
She said that the United Way can help millennials find a way to serve the community that fits their interest.
“Let us find your purpose within your passion,” Wilcox added.
The UWNC is also recognizing volunteers during National Volunteer Month on their Facebook page. On Friday, April 5, they recognized Pathfinder Federal Credit Union’s Chastidy Fox.
“Chastidy was nominated by Miami Sleep for her dedication to Mimi’s House,” the post reads before providing Sleep’s own words. “‘She works many hours a day volunteering her time to set up meetings, do research and get the necessary things done to make sure our programs open! She is the kindest most generous person I know.'”
Wilcox said that any families, individuals or companies looking for ways to get involved in volunteer activities could contact the United Way of Natrona County. UWNC is located at 350 Big Horn Road, Suite 100.