We believe that the people in our community, the people who Give, Advocate and Volunteer, are pretty spectacular people and they deserve a bright light shone upon them.
Hands On Volunteer Leader Sarah Giavedoni is one of these awesome people. She's been an active volunteer with The POP Project since the organization began in 2009. The POP Project is an Asheville-based nonprofit working to spread the power and possibilities of literacy with a mission to bring books to those who would not have access to them otherwise. The POP Project distributes donated books to community organizations, schools, and detention centers in Buncombe County and across WNC. Soon after The POP Project was founded Sarah helped Hands On develop “Read-cycle”, our popular year-round children’s book drive. She is also a rock star Volunteer Leader for “Homeward Books” Flex project which she coordinates Flex volunteers to help sort books at the POP Project storage facility one Saturday afternoon a month. The Pop Project is a perfect partner for United Way’s work to support our community in the areas of Education and Income, and we are privileged to have Sarah as a Volunteer Leader!
What do you get when you cross a horror movie with a pile of books? She’s not always sure, but Sarah G is always there to find the connection. In the process, she has helped found a local nonprofit (The POP Project), started a satirical holiday, ticked off celebrities, and tried to purchase the lunar surface.
By day, she's a mild-mannered Marketing Assistant at Beverly-Hanks & Associates in their downtown office.
How are you involved with United Way and why?
I am a Hands On Flex Project volunteer for the Homeward Books project with the POP Project. I am also a volunteer staff member with POP. United Way and Hands On have been immeasurably helpful to us as we began POP and as we've grown since 2009. I can't imagine being able to make the impact we do without having the United Way behind us.
What are some of the most important issues facing our community?
Asheville and WNC is a wonderful place—of that, we all agree. But one of the things that makes us great is our inclination to confront social issues that disproportionally affect the area's low income residents. The POP Project is most focused on literacy and access to books, but of course, that is very closely connected to other issues like food scarcity, affordable housing, and education.
What small act of kindness were you once shown that you will never forget?
Life is full of small acts of kindness. As simple as it may sound, once a man who opened a door for me came back to thank me for smiling at him for his kindness. His gratitude for my gratitude will always stay with me.
When you "grow up" who would you want to be like?
There's no one other person I would want to be—I've worked very hard to become who I am. But I do aspire to be a real "philanthropist", someone who helps broker giving that means a great deal to small organizations like the one I manage now.
What advice would you give to someone who has never volunteered before?
I don't believe that anyone has never volunteered before. To volunteer is to freely offer yourself with a glad heart. Surely everyone has had a moment where they helped a senior carry boxes to her car or sat in a dunking booth to raise money for his frat. Organized volunteering requires no greater sentiment, just a little more organization to meet a more precise mission.
What three questions do you wish you had the answers to?
There are only three questions worth having the answers to: Of what is the Spirit made? What is worth living for? And what is worth dying for? The answer to all these is the same: Only love.
Is there one area of United Way's work that you are most excited by/proud of?
I'm excited about the NobleCause grant that United Way received and what things they'll be able to do for the community.