It’s true. People who volunteer often say they give back and make a positive change for the 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.
Nine years ago, I came from Malaysia to Arizona so I could one day give my children a quality education and a better life. I now have 5-year old twins, Keison and Keiserinne, and I want to make sure they have more educational advantages than I did. That’s why I introduced reading and writing to them early. Thankfully, I found a gem in United Way’s School Readiness Kit.
When I was a kid, I loved the school carnival: the games, music, cakewalk, and prizes. Imagine if that memorable event was focused on one thing – creating a love of reading – and you’ll get a glimpse into the wonderful Read On Greater Phoenix literacy fairs led by Valley of the Sun United Way.
For many families Spring Break means trips to the lake, library or spring training games. Kids relish time-off from formal learning, not realizing this week presents great opportunities to stimulate their brain with hands-on learning and new experiences.
I have a lot to smile about. Being a professional athlete with the Arizona Cardinals helped me reach career highs last football season as I achieved an all-time personal best record for sacks on the field.
During the recent Arizona StandDown, Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton celebrated an incredible accomplishment – Phoenix is the first city in the nation to end chronic homelessness among veterans. This is a huge step forward as a community. We applaud his dedication to this important work and know it’s the first step toward a larger goal.
That’s why Valley of the Sun United Way, the City of Phoenix and nearly 30 other organizations have come together with the goal of ending chronic homelessness in the Valley by Jan. 1, 2016.
Lawrence never imagined he would experience homelessness. He never thought he would one day tell stories of how for two years he would make do in a park, with the grass as his bed and paperback books to pass the time.
The holidays are filled with family, celebration and gift giving. Why not put literacy at the top of your holiday list? It’s a great time of year to build the kind of love of literacy that will last life-long.