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Change a life; it’s the best gift

Williams

As we enter the holiday season, we look forward to time with family and friends. We make plans for vacations and visit with loved ones. We give thanks for our blessings and reflect on struggles we have overcome.

Often, we volunteer our time or donate to charities. We feel a stronger sense of community, a desire to help others and gratefulness like no other time during the rest of the year. But what if we could keep this momentum going throughout 2013 and beyond?

One of the ways I stay connected to our community year-round is through United Way of Allen County. United Way seeks to make our community a better place for everyone by focusing funding, initiatives and services in four areas: education, income, health and basic needs.

There are many ways to donate to United Way. More than 300 businesses run workplace campaigns, many of which offer online enrollment or payroll deduction. There are also matching opportunities available where the impact of your gift could be doubled or tripled.

But whether or not your company runs a campaign, and whether or not you’ve given to United Way in the past, you can make a difference this year. Go to www.unitedwayallencounty.org today to make your contribution.

United Way’s Education Network of 16 local early childhood and youth-serving organizations offer volunteer opportunities no matter what your availability, interests or expertise. You can find an opportunity that suits you at www.uweducationnetwork.org.

According to the National Center for Charitable Statistics, whether a person is asked to donate or volunteer is the greatest predictor of whether they will. I’m asking you to get involved in our community. Whether you can give a little or a lot; whether you have an hour or a day to volunteer; whether you have a few friends or many friends to encourage to do the same, there is a way for you to give, advocate and volunteer.

And most importantly, during this holiday season, if you are unable to make a gift and instead need help or know someone who does, please call United Way’s 211 Services by dialing the three simple numbers 2-1-1. The trained phone counselors will listen to your concerns and connect you to the agency that can help meet your needs.

Debra Williams, a senior vice president and chief human resources officer at Parkview Health, is chair of the United Way of Allen County’s Board of Directors. She wrote this for The Journal Gazette.

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