United Way of Central Maryland's Day of Action Mobilizes Harford County Volunteers
Forty volunteers from five workplaces across Harford County participated in United Way of Central Maryland’s Fall Day of Action on September 11. Under bright blue and sunny skies, volunteers donated a morning or an afternoon to helping nonprofit organizations make a difference in the lives of their neighbors.
The Fall Day of Action coincided with the National Day of Service and Remembrance to commemorate the terrorist attacks in 2001. The projects selected for this year’s Fall Day of Action were organized by United Way of Central Maryland with assistance from Harford County nonprofits.
Workplaces such as Boyle Buick GMC Truck, SunTrust Bank, Target (#1871/Abingdon), Upper Chesapeake Health and United Way sent teams to Anna’s House, Boys and Girls Clubs of Bel Air, Boys and Girls Clubs of Edgewood, Harford Community Action Agency and Harford Family House. Volunteers painted rooms, landscaped gardens, helped kids with homework and other activities.
At Anna’s House, a transitional housing facility for women and children in Bel Air, volunteers sanded and painted walls in a communal living room used by four families. They also rehabbed chairs by sanding and painting them.
Susan Harrison, senior human resources generalist at Upper Chesapeake Health, explained why she was involved in the Day of Action at Anna’s House. “It’s a positive way to give back to the community on a day that could be filled with sorrow,” she said, between rounds of sanding the backs of chairs.
Her colleague, Dawn Dixon, a human resources generalist at Upper Chesapeake Health whose job was painting the chairs, said, “Volunteering is something I’ve done as far back as I can remember. There’s always something we can do in our community.” Both explained that Upper Chesapeake Health team members continually volunteer in their communities as a way to give back and improve the lives of others.
Also at Anna’s House on September 11 was Ann Cogan, an attorney in Bel Air and the newest member of United Way’s Community Partnership Board of Harford County. She spent the morning preparing and painting a communal family room. She decided to volunteer at the Fall Day of Action because “I wanted to spend September 11 doing something to give back to the community. It’s a significant day for me as an American.”
“There’s something important about trying to repair the world, and this is just a small step and one that I can do on a significant day,” she added.
Torri Dietrich, program director of Anna’s House, praised United Way of Central Maryland for establishing the Day of Action, which has taken place in the fall and in the spring. She said the projects “wouldn’t get done without the volunteers from United Way of Central Maryland.”
Paige Boyle, director of marketing and customer relations at Boyle Buick GMC Truck, joined a group of co-workers at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Edgewood. She worked on several projects with elementary school students during the four hours the Boyle team was at the club.
During “Power Hour,” a quiet time for the kids to sit quietly and work on homework by grade, Ms. Boyle assisted fifth graders working on math exercises in the computer room. And the homework wasn’t easy—it focused on exponents and square roots. “It was such a refresher for me,” Ms. Boyle said with a smile.
In the “Brain Room,” Ms. Boyle worked with third graders who were reading or playing “brain games” like Guess Who, Connect 4 and Chutes and Ladders. She also helped 6 year olds learn their letters on a keyboard. They typed their names and then typed five things about themselves.
“I thoroughly enjoy spending time with the kids and getting down on their level,” Ms. Boyle explained. “While we support the community financially as a company, volunteering time is equally important.”
Darlene Miglioretti, chair of United Way of Central Maryland’s Community Partnership Board of Harford County and senior vice president at SunTrust Bank, reflected on the September 11 activities.
“The Day of Action is so important to the Harford County community for several reasons. It gives people an opportunity to come together for a common cause of reaching out to their fellow neighbors and lending a hand,” she explained. “It also provides individuals who don’t typically volunteer on a regular basis to understand how important their effort is in affecting the lives of their neighbors as well as their own. Overall, it goes a long way in showing that your fellow community members care and want to contribute to making the lives of others better.”
United Way of Central Maryland, the region’s human service leader for nearly 90 years, works to bring financial stability, good health and self-sufficiency to Harford Countians and other central Marylanders facing poverty through results-driven programs to make a collective impact. Working with volunteer experts in Harford County helps United Way to better understand the needs and area resources, both private and public. These experts assist the Community Partnership Board of Harford County to help “fill the gaps” to ensure every donor dollar does the most good. For more information, visit www.uwcm.org.