December 22, 2012

Amanda Burt: The 6 ‘Cs’ of a United Way Christmas

‘Tis the season of giving but what does that look like? I started thinking about the holidays and reviewing what has been going on at United Way the past few weeks and realized that the letter “C” is pretty powerful.    

Start a new family tradition this year and make it a charitable one. Here are three tips to get you started:

No. 1 Connectedness: Pick a cause about which you are passionate. Do your kids love going to a particular park but it needs a little sprucing up? Grab a trash bag and some gloves and go pick up the trash. Is a loved one suffering from dementia? Help spread some holiday cheer by visiting patients at a hospital, nursing home or adult day facility. Find what means something to you, then go out and make a difference.

No. 2 Cast your net: When you hear stories of people doing extraordinary acts of charity, do you ever wonder how they did it? They gathered a group of people who were excited about the same cause. Together, they made incredible things happen. Get together with your spouse, children, grandmother and your cousins to enjoy your new tradition.

No. 3 Community: The third “C” is all about community. Take action by practicing your new family charitable traditions within your own community. Encourage your kids and family to be involved and make where you live, work and play a better place.

Visit the United Way Virtual Volunteer Center at www.volunteerNWGA.org to search for local volunteer opportunities if you need a little extra help getting started. 

Let us know what your family is doing to spread holiday cheer by posting a photo of your family volunteering on our Facebook wall at facebook.com/unitedwaynwga or include us in your tweets by mentioning @unitedwaynwga.

No. 4 Corporate volunteerism: Our local corporate partners have been busy volunteering. We’ve had several corporate groups participate in volunteer projects recently.

• Shaw Industries held several toy drives and food drives as well as packed food boxes at the Salvation Army.

• Beaulieu of America volunteered to be “buddies” at City Park Elementary through Big Brothers Big Sisters and spent time at RossWoods Adult Day Services serving lunch to participants.

• Dorsett Industries wrapped presents as a part of Community Christmas.

No. 5 Childcare: Educational childcare to be specific. I want to share with you a touching story about Sandra and her three children. Sandra wanted her children to have the opportunity to learn from an early age. She enrolled them in the Whitfield County-Dalton Day Care, a United Way agency, and found that it was a wonderful place, not only for her kids, but for her as well. Whitfield County-Dalton Day Care provided a safe, educational place for Sandra’s children and offered classes to help Sandra during a difficult point in her life. You can learn how your United Way dollars are at work by reading Sandra’s story online at ourunitedway.org.

No. 6 Campaign goal: Currently, through your generous support we are at 80 percent of campaign chairman Kevin Sanders’ $3.35 million goal. It is not too late to give. Visit ourunitedway.org/give to donate online or mail your donation to P.O. Box 566 Dalton, GA, 30722. We hope you have a joyous holiday season!

Amanda Burt is the president of United Way of Northwest Georgia.

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