We all know that February is most recognized as a month focused on love. We celebrate Valentine’s Day by gifting stuffed animals, chocolates, and flowers for those who are special in our lives.
These are the “Hallmark” ways of showing love to each other. But, what if I told you that you could share your love a little differently this February?
Be a good neighbor.
Just a simple act of kindness like taking someone’s trash can out for them, paying for someone else’s groceries, or making homemade cards for homebound elderly can make people feel loved and appreciated.
See where more kindness is needed in the world, and be that kindness for others. It is said that the Golden Rule in life is this: “Do unto others as you would want to be done to you.”
At United Way, we are in the business of building better futures by focusing on the building blocks of a good life - education, basic needs, and health.
You may be able to give financially to show someone in your local community that you care. By donating to United Way, your dollars can improve the lives of over 55,000 of our neighbors each year.
Then there are times in life where it is more difficult to give financially, and rather, you have more time and talents to give.
One of the best aspects of United Way is that you have the ability to give your resources of time, talent, and treasure with the peace of mind knowing they are used locally in the most efficient and effective ways.
Volunteering is a great way to show that you care. One opportunity I have seen firsthand that makes a difference in the lives of so many adults and children is our Mentors United program.
United Way of Northwest Georgia's Young Leaders Society has established a mentoring partnership with United Way Community Partner, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Georgia Mountains.
Through Mentors United, eleven Young Leaders Society members volunteer their time at Valley Point Middle School as part of the Buddy Program, the school-based mentorship arm of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Georgia Mountains.
The Mentors (Big Buddies) will meet with their Little Buddies on a monthly basis during the 2019-2020 school year with the goal of supporting a successful transition into high school.
Meet Mentors United volunteer, Yesenia Barragan, Human Resources Manager at Engineered Floors.
“After some United Way Impact Tours, I realized how important and easy it could be to become someone’s cheerleader in his or her life.
Work and home can be stressful at times, but it’s nice that I can escape for a few hours every other week while providing the same mental freedom to a youth soul.
Sharing some of the sweet and fun activities I do with my buddy has helped me start good and important conversations with my daughter, too.”
The Mentors give the Little Buddies someone to confide in and to look up to. Overall, the Little Buddies do better in school and at home because of their relationship with their Big Buddies.
The mentorship program does not just positively affect the Little Buddies - it impacts the Big Buddies as well.
Meet Jammie Green, Mentor, and NP-C -Director of Health & Welfare at Engineered Floors.
“When I was young, I was very impressionable. I had many people along the way to help guide and mold me into what I am today.
This has made me very self-aware to want to pay it forward if given the opportunity.
Knowing I have made a connection with my “little buddy” and seeing the positivity surrounding her as we talk about future ideas and plans is not only self-fulfilling, but gives me hope that she too will pay it forward one day.”
So as we celebrate the month of love and kindness, remember that showing love to someone has more of an impact than you may realize.
Sometimes all someone needs is a person who is there supporting him or her through the trials of middle school. Maybe that person is you.
Amanda Burt is the President of United Way of Northwest Georgia. The mission of United Way is Improving Lives, Inspiring Donors, Uniting Community.