Anthony Stevenson knows the importance of being there for a child. In addition to his son, he was a foster parent to his niece and nephew when they needed a home.
“Kids just want love and attention and to know that someone cares about them,” Anthony said. “I provided structure and showed them love, and you could see the difference that it made in them.”
Unfortunately, there are a lot of children in our community that don’t have a stable household — whether financially or emotionally. Seeing the tremendous need in the community inspired Anthony to volunteer his time to improve the lives of children and help them reach their full potential.
A Career of Service to the Community
For the past seven years, Anthony has volunteered hundreds of hours with the Blue Crew — many of those hours logged with children’s organizations and mentoring programs.
Through his volunteerism, Anthony has packed hundreds of backpacks with school supplies at Cradles to Crayons Backpack-A-Thon, helped first-graders from the Isaac A. Sheppard Elementary School learn to read through Philly Reads, and filled food boxes through United2Feed to ensure that no child goes to bed hungry — just to name a few of his efforts.
“I gave my all to my son. And what I gave to him I want to give to other kids,” Anthony said. “All kids deserve that — to feel loved and cared for.”
Empowering Kids in Need
Anthony’s passion for volunteering and giving back to the youth is much bigger than just him. He’s a member of the Blue Crew advisory board and Vice President of the Multicultural Men’s Group, an associate resource group at Independence Blue Cross (Independence). Through these roles, Anthony is actively engaged in recruiting and inspiring more men to volunteer, especially with the local Big Brothers and Big Sisters program.
“It’s crucial for men, especially men of color, to get involved with these types of programs,” said Anthony. “There’s a lack of positive male role models in many homes today. Mothers do a lot, but kids also need a positive male influence in their lives.”
Entering his third year as a Big Brother, Anthony finds his work with the organization to be very rewarding. He meets with his Little for a few hours each month to talk, play games, and provide support and encouragement.
“You might have a stable home, but the child you mentor may live in a different kind of household,” he said. “Consistency is key. Once the kids see that you care, they start opening up to you. You develop a real bond of trust and friendship.”
Proud to Be Blue
In addition to being fun and rewarding, volunteering continues to be an eye-opening experience for Anthony.
“Volunteering gives you a different outlook because you may not realize that people are suffering around you. It raises your awareness that your own neighbors may need help,” he said. “I am so grateful for what I have, and volunteering makes me realize even more how blessed I am.”
As enthusiastic as Anthony is about making a difference in the lives of others, he is also very proud to work for a company that supports community involvement as much as Independence.
“Independence and the Blue Crew provide so many opportunities for you to get involved in your community, and they make it convenient by offering recurring opportunities and on-site volunteer projects,” he said. “The paid volunteer time that the company offers is another gem and is one reason why Independence is a great place to work.”
Volunteering in the Community
Has Anthony’s story inspired you to volunteer? If you’re looking for ways to give back, visit the United Way website for volunteer opportunities near you.