IMPACT. What volunteers did in two days, changed people's lives forever

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As one of the newest staff members here at United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County, I was told about Days of Impact when I first came on board and had been looking forward to the two-day volunteer event ever since. In the weeks proceeding, I was told that I would get a chance to see what this community was all about and I have to admit, I wasn’t disappointed. 
My interest in Days of Impact stems from the fact that a large part of my career in the nonprofit and public sectors has revolved around volunteers in one form, fashion or another — recruiting them, recognizing them, retaining them. And while this entails a considerable amount of time and effort, the payoff is huge and more often than not, has an incredibly powerful impact in the community. I know, because I have personally experienced it — from the halls of Congress down to my local neighborhood — I’ve seen the power of ordinary citizens and what they are capable of accomplishing when they take up the mantle of Volunteer.

My Mission

The two-day event was a whirlwind for me as I tried to make it to as many volunteer sites as I could. My mission? Connect with the organizations and individuals who make up the United Way family, let them know how much we appreciate them and capture some pictures along the way. 
I have to admit that while I took hundreds of photos, I’m convinced that I wasn’t able to accurately portray the amazing work these volunteers were accomplishing for our community. It’s true — heroes do walk among us. I saw them move a homeless family into a home, provide tutoring and mentoring to young children, give a facelift to a home for those with developmental challenges, help ensure low-income families with children have a Christmas this year and teach middle school children the basic fundamentals of financial responsibility. All of it done with a sense of gratitude and love for their neighbors.

You Too Can Experience This 

Inspirational. Motivational. Emotional. All of these things, and then some, describe what I saw at Days of Impact. But to be honest, you really can’t put it into words. You see, this is something that has to be personally experienced! 
And that my friends, is one of the things I love about working for United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County. In the world we live in today, where so much of the news and happenings are negative, you can begin to slip into pessimism — thinking that no one individual can make a dent in the overwhelming situation we find ourselves in. Well, we here at United Way reject that notion, in all its forms. I am here to let you know, that you can make a difference. You can become the change you want to see in your community and United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County can help. 
How do I know this? I witnessed United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County organize nearly 500 individuals from 32 local companies and organizations to tackle 36 different projects over a two day period.

So Many Roads

Days of Impact is just one avenue that United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County offers the community to become engaged and make a difference — opportunities grow in direct proportion to community needs.  That’s why we ask you to give, advocate and volunteer. What does community impact look like? Locate your nearest mirror, glance into it and you’ll see. My only question is, what are you waiting for? Please join us in our work to build engaged communities, strong families, and successful students. 
Ken Venables is the Engagement Manager for United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County

Thanks to Mission Health for their sponsorship of this community wide volunteer event. 


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