It’s true. People who volunteer, whether through their family, church, or job, often say it’s a chance for them to go into their neighborhood, give back and make a positive change for those who are less fortunate. And most are telling the truth, but maybe not the entire truth. We do things that make us feel good; about what we’re giving and the impact we can make. However, my journey didn't start that way.
Personally, I started working with Generation United, Valley of the Sun United Way's young professionals group, as more of a social opportunity. After earning a master’s degree at ASU while also working there, my sphere of friends had shrunk to the boundaries of campus. I'd always enjoyed community service, but I also wanted opportunities to meet more people from across the Valley. I first attended a Connect networking event and learned more about United Way and its goals (while reveling in food and drink at a local establishment). After seeing what the organization was accomplishing, it looked like a great fit.
Luckily for me and hundreds of others, Generation United has been a fantastic fit for anyone looking to get involved; whether to fulfill personal, financial, or even emotional needs. Yes, though I began to get more active for selfish reasons, it paid off by initiating amazing relationships with some of the best people I know. The work I've put in over the last three years far outweighs the personal benefits.
From volunteer to Steering Committee member to co-chair, each step I’ve taken with Generation United further distances me from my “it’s all about me” start. I’m now driven by pride in our work and faith in the fact we are positively impacting lives of Valley residents who might not succeed without the efforts of a generation that really is united.
And it’s not just me; we all gain by giving. Every day, we can help change the world a little bit. And that doesn't sound too selfish to me.
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