It was an amazing site! Thousands of ASU Freshman lined up at ASU’s Memorial Union on the Tempe Campus, raring to volunteer to help in the valley. Many students say they were helped growing up by organizations such as Valley of the Sun United Way. So they showed up to make a commitment throughout the school year to help others – to give back!
“You just never know the impact events, like this, have on students, said United Way's Volunteer Engagement Coordinator Timna Guerchon. “One participant anonymously left behind a message that said, ‘Thank you for all you do. You never know if the people volunteering are the ones receiving your help. Thank you.’”
Students participated in everything from filling School Readiness Kits and WeekEnd Hunger Backpacks to a poverty simulation called “Making Choices.”
says Student United Way President, Nathan Baker from Aurora, CO. “So, this is going on all over Maricopa County. More than 82,000 families are affected by this and this is something we’re trying to change. So today is a big step forward in trying to make a difference in the community.”
Student Hadley Griffin from Tempe said the “Making Choices” experience was very enlightening. “It was real eye opening to see the financial struggles that a lot of people go through.”
Hadley said she feels very fortunate and wants to. “I didn’t know it was a big issue. But it really opened my eyes to what people are going through on a day-to-day basis.”
School Readiness Kits give parents of soon-to-be kindergartners helpful tips and activities to get ready for school along with supplies.
Business Communication major David Howell from Gilbert, AZ said, “Right now, I’m packing crayons and various other school supplies into little bags that we’re going to ship to families in need, help literacy in families and the communities that might not have all the opportunities we enjoy.”
Aerospace major Denise Pastor from Goodyear, AZ, said she moved around a lot and felt insecure. She wants to give back. “My family was not always really stable." Denise says she feels children in a similar environment may feel the same way, but have a desire to succeed. So I’m actually pretty happy that I’m able to do this.”
Many kids in the valley depend on school breakfast and lunches through the week. But many go hungry on the weekends. Thanks to United Way's WeekEnd Hunger Backpacks, kids take home non-perishable food with them on Friday that’ll supplement their meals at home.
Students like Psychology major Mireya BrianalaChance from Yakima, WA were gathering seven essential food items to be put into backpacks. “I want to make a change,” said BrianalaChance. “I want to make a change to the world because there are a lot of problems and I want to help out as much as I can.” She also took time to write a card to tuck in with the backpacks.
“I’m actually doing cards for kids who want to dream big and to help them be confident and be what they want to be.”
"I’m writing encouraging quotes to kids who need them,” said Justice Studies major Guadalupe Bueras from Patagonia, AZ.
Guadaluple said she grew up and witnessed first hand those who needed a helping hand. “In Patagonia, there’s a youth center there. Anna Coleman likes to help out everyone and it’s so amazing. A lot of kids down there are in poverty and she helps them out so much and I try to help her as much as I can.”
We want to thank everyone who participated in the Sparky’s Day of Service this week. Your efforts and enthusiasm are very much appreciated, not only by United Way, but by all the people who will benefit from your generosity.