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My United Way Experience: A Volunteer's Perspective

Kim Crider, United Way of Franklin County 2019/20 Campaign Chair and Board Member, reflects on her volunteer experiences in our community.

By Kim Crider

I have been a very active volunteer in a variety of organizations over the years, so I’ve seen first-hand how we are blessed with many caring and effective non-profits in our Franklin County community. I believe there is a true gem among them - United Way Franklin County.

I became involved with UWFC ten years ago when I helped with data collection for a project. Once that was complete, I volunteered here or there as my time allowed and as UWFC projects were seeking volunteers. Fast forward several years, and I am now the campaign chair for 2019/2020 and a member of the board of directors. It is in these two roles that I have begun to realize the voluminous amount of information that passes through UWFC’s office and how just five employees manage it all on a day-to-day basis.

"The real eye-opener for me was discovering the depth and breadth of knowledge of UWFC staff when it comes to supporting our neighbors in need."

Any given day at UWFC might include handling a crisis of one of our neighbors to direct them to proper support, corralling volunteers to help at one of many events serving community needs, working with one of its 29 funded Program Partners on efforts to expand community impact, and coordinating/attending meetings that address pertinent issues facing Franklin County such as state policy, economic and workforce development, and early childhood education. All of this while keeping the overall daily operations running as smoothly as possible to ensure our community’s greatest needs continue to be served through UWFC programs and initiatives.

The real eye-opener for me was discovering the depth and breadth of knowledge of UWFC staff when it comes to supporting our neighbors in need; From knowing the variety of human services available (and, believe me, this number is big and ever-changing), to deciphering where to send an individual for the assistance they need, and taking time to minimize road blocks for folks already under stress. The time, attention, and care given to our neighbors in need is truly extraordinary, especially given the limited number of staff.

I would be remiss if I did not mention how many hundreds of volunteers from diverse backgrounds, ages, ethnicities, and experience levels are utilized for UWFC projects around our community in a given year. Stuff the Bus, May of Caring, food drives, book drives, and more are all coordinated by UWFC throughout our sprawling county from year to year. It bears repeating that all of this is coordinated by five employees. I am grateful to have gotten to know each UWFC employee, and can tell you without a doubt that each of them cares deeply about our Franklin County community and all people who live here.

As I’ve already stated, I am an active community volunteer and have had the privilege to volunteer for a good number of projects and organizations. Yet, not one has matched UWFC for their ability to maximize employee time and talent, volunteer time and talent, and financial resources. I invite you to check it out yourself…volunteer your time and talents to make a difference in our community.

Together, we can solve some of the most critical problems Franklin County is facing. Find out more about what United Way is doing here.

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