As a young boy growing up in Chicago, Jim Sliwicki has fond memories of accompanying his mom as she went door to door collecting donations for the March of Dimes, Veterans of Foreign Wars and other charitable organizations.
“It just feels right” says Jim, Budget Operations Director at Arizona State University and active volunteer for Valley of the Sun United Way for more than 20 years—ever since he began managing the annual United Way campaign for his ASU office.
“We have one-hundred percent participation every year,” he says. “I am very proud of that.”
Today he and his son Austin, a freshman at ASU, pitch in to help assemble WeekEnd Hunger Backpacks and School Readiness Kits to serve Valley children. Jim says he’s heartened by projects open to the entire family.
Both Jim, a member of United Way’s Financial Stability Advisory Council, and Austin are studying to become part of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program to provide free tax preparation for hardworking families with low to moderate income, getting them the tax credits they deserve.
Jim also gives his time to Project Connect assisting people experiencing homelessness access life-saving resources like food, clothing, counseling and job placement. Despite his fondness for volunteer projects that involve children, he says his first experiences at Project Connect events had the strongest impact.
“These are good people who just haven’t caught a break,” he says. “It moves you to see how thankful they are when you treat them like a human being. They leave feeling a little better about themselves.”
“Making a difference is easy,” he says. “It’s not like scaling a mountain, not when each person does their part.
Volunteer to help veterans at Arizona StandDown on Jan. 28 & 29.