My name is Alexx Goeller and I am the new Collective Impact Administrative Assistant. I just spent the last two years living as a Peace Corps volunteer in the mysterious land of Africa. To me, it was Senegal; it was home. I arrived back in Utah this past May. After one week of being home, I was feeling culture-shocked, out of place, and in need of something to occupy my time; the job hunt began. When I originally read about United Way of Salt Lake, I was immediately struck by the similarities to the United States Peace Corps. The goal of United Way is to change the odds for at-risk kids and families and that work is accomplished through Collective Impact by aligning individuals with programs that will give families more affordable access to healthcare, financial independence, and quality education.
The Peace Corps seeks to promote world peace and friendship while also fulfilling specific goals within identified sectors. My sector was Community Economic Development and our objectives were to create income-generating activities while working alongside the health, agriculture, and education programs to result in a rounded out program that could ensure sustainable change.
The mission of United Way of Salt Lake sucked me in immediately and I knew I had to get involved. Collective Impact is a term commonly used at United Way of Salt Lake and in the Peace Corps that term is known as cross-sector collaboration. Without the alignment of organizations and individuals from all relevant areas, true, sustainable change cannot happen.
I have personally seen what can and, more importantly, what cannot happen in communities when only one system is in place. I have seen young groups of girls in Senegal who, through the cooperation of health clinics, teachers, and Peace Corps volunteers teaching life skills (how to balance a checkbook, how to save money, how to write a resume) transform their lives.
I am proud of my Peace Corps experience and now I can continue to be proud when saying that I work for United Way of Salt Lake. I work for an organization that is truly changing the lives of children and families through Community Schools, advocacy work, meaningful partnerships, volunteering and so much more — allowing kids to be successful from cradle to career, regardless of their circumstances.