Poverty is all around us. But when you’re busy trying to make it through the day and manage your responsibilities, you can lose sight of that. The devastating effects of poverty became more apparent to me when I started working in Philadelphia.
As part of my daily commute, I take PATCO from my home in South Jersey and walk from the train station to work. My daily walks from the train really opened my eyes to the poverty in Philadelphia — we’re the nation’s poorest big city — and seeing all the homeless people on the streets really impacted me. I started wondering, “How can I help?” Then, the voice in my head grew louder, saying, “I want to help!”
An Exciting Opportunity
Shortly after joining Independence in 2015, I learned about the opportunity to volunteer as an ambassador for the company’s annual United Way campaign. Once I learned more about the role, I jumped at the chance! I had a passion for helping others and this seemed like the ideal way for me to give back. With two little ones at home, I don’t have a lot of time outside of work to volunteer, but I knew I could commit to this role during the campaign and make a meaningful impact in the community.
Being a United Way ambassador is a rewarding and fun experience. Ambassadors have the chance to learn more about the United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey and how the organization is helping to break the cycle of poverty in our communities. Ambassadors serve as an important contact/resource for fellow associates on their floor, generate excitement, and encourage participation throughout the campaign.
A Culture of Giving Back
Serving as an ambassador for the first time was quite an experience! As a new employee, it provided me various networking opportunities to meet and engage with other associates and management.
Most importantly, it made me realize how much Independence and its associates are committed to giving back and making our community a better place. I was humbled by the generosity of the associates to the campaign, whether it was by donating money or volunteering at our Days of Caring event.
Give to Break the Cycle
One of the many things that I like about the United Way is having the ability to donate to the organization of my choice. I always designate a portion of my donation to the Alzheimer’s Association, which is near and dear to my heart. I also give to the United Way Impact Fund.
If you want to donate, but are unsure where to designate your donation, the Impact Fund is a great way to make a meaningful impact! The Impact Fund targets donations to those organizations that address our region’s toughest challenges related to education, income, health, and basic needs, to help those in need break the cycle of poverty and achieve their full potential.
A Proud Ambassador
I have proudly served as a United Way Ambassador for the past three years, and each year, the level of engagement and participation from our associates has been phenomenal. Even so, there is still more work to be done in the community. This past year, that voice in my head came back saying, “I want to do more.”
For 2019, I became part of the United Way Ambassador Core Committee. In this role, I help recruit and train our associates to be ambassadors. I am very excited about this new role and how I can help make this year’s campaign an even bigger success — our ambassadors play such an integral role in inspiring our associates to give back.
You Can Make a Difference Too!
Both my role as an ambassador and an Ambassador Core Committee member have been very rewarding. Being involved makes me feel like I’m playing a small part in the fight against poverty. I encourage everyone to get involved — whether it’s through volunteering a few minutes of your time or donating a few dollars. Every little bit counts; even the smallest act of generosity can have a big impact.
If you want to help break the cycle of poverty, check out the United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey for volunteer opportunities in your area and giving information.