One of the reasons I came to work for United Way of Salt Lake was to join a group of people with similar beliefs, values, and goals. This was manifest during our internal campaign, which took place all last week. Our staff had 100 perfect participation, an amazing time competing and participating in activities together, and ended up raising over $88,000 for the work that we do.
Our mission is “to change the odds so that all children, and their families, regardless of their circumstances, have the same chance to succeed in school and in life.” This requires a unified effort—people using unique perspectives to form kaleidoscopic solutions.
Stepping into our community has been one of the richest experiences with UWSL because I get to do things like tutor with the Read Today program at Roosevelt Elementary. When I see life, or a situation, through a leadership or teacher role, things change. Students read books about the pyramids in Egypt, the element of fire, lemonade sales, and how bunnies and turtles can become friends.
Within those reading opportunities, however, we learned about so much more. Personally, I learned about priorities. Keeping my promise to my students was more important than taking a full lunch. I learned there’s a difference between trying until you succeed, and succeeding until you can’t fail. I learned that I needed to learn as much as a third grader. Or fifth grader.
There is one round. What I have received in my life, is lent upon the condition of my reciprocity. This community is only as strong as our unity. Investing in the programs, initiatives, and efforts of United Way of Salt Lake has changed lives. It is apparent that every UWSL staff member believes this, as we diligently worked to raise an incredible amount of money in ONE WEEK for this same work — work that truly changes communities.
There will always be problems. There will always be issues. And there will always be solutions. If our ambition can shoulder the task, nothing will ultimately deter our miracles. We all believe this at United Way of Salt Lake.
Maybe you think it would take a miracle to solve poverty. Or maybe we need a miracle to see 100 percent of third graders reading on level. What if a miracle is all we need to eliminate gang violence, prepare high schoolers for college, and see equality throughout the world? If a miracle is all it takes, I believe we can be that miracle every day.
Each day advisors go into the community and talk about our work. They share statistics that represent the needs of our community. They share anecdotes about students who have been able to change the odds, and consequently change their lives. They make requests for people, employees, and leaders to adopt similar goals. Listen to their message; there is a person, often times a child, behind those words.
If we can believe in each other and take action, together, to change the odds — then, we believe in real-life miracles. And sometimes, that’s all it takes to create lasting change.
Big thanks to our incredible staff who, every day,
show our community what it means to be #SLChangemakers.
Not only do they prove this in the jobs they do at work everyday, but they continue to go above and beyond to GIVE, ADVOCATE, and VOLUNTEER to make sure that every kid in our community has the same chance to succeed in school, and in life.