Julie is a United Way Volunteer. She is a volunteer at United Way’s Office, at our partner agencies Interchurch and the American Red Cross, and at St Vincent de Paul School. Julie is humble and doesn’t like to draw attention to her activities – so her name has been changed for this article. Julie worked in an office environment before retirement. When she did retire, she knew that she needed to stay busy, so she decided to volunteer.
Julie volunteers several days a week at United Way. She describes her work as “mostly clerical.” She helps manage the client lists to receive free books from the Dolly Parton Imagination Library Program and deidentifies books that are returned to United Way when a child moves from Knox County so that they can be repurposed. She helps prepare the Crunch Out Program supplies for delivery to Physical Education teachers. She updates donor information in the United Way computer system. She even helps organize the conference room so that it is ready for community visitors. She describes this work as things that anybody can do, but take a lot of time. “It’s not about what I’m doing, it’s about the people [that are helped].”
Like many of United Way’s volunteers and staff, Julie is passionate about programs, people, and stories. Julie is a story-teller, when speaking to her, instead of describing her hard-work or accomplishments, she focuses on the clients and the individuals who benefit from United Way programming. For example, Julie loves the Crunch Out program and 5-2-1-0 guidelines, but she makes it specific. When asked what she likes about the program, she described an essay that she read last year – one little boy had never before been exposed to the healthy habits that are introduced in the Crunch Out program. He took the information home and shared it with his family. He was able to help his grandmother find the motivation and persistence quit smoking as a result. That is a powerful story. To Julie, the best part of volunteering is the people that she gets to meet. She likes interacting with the clients, observing their emotions, and being a part of changing their day. She says that it is “as much about helping myself as other people. [When I retired] I knew I needed to be around people. I love that interaction… I could name 20 people that I consider good friends that I never would have met [if I had not become a volunteer]. “Sometimes I think it’s selfish; I get as much out of volunteering as I give.” United Way, our partner agencies, and our Knox County Community are lucky to have volunteers who feel this way.
Julie is just one of many volunteers at United Way – and we are lucky to have her. She joins the other various volunteers of United Way of Knox County programs. We share her story and encourage you to share your own. By donating to United Way of Knox County’s Campaign, you will be supporting local programs that United Way implements or invests in. Give, Advocate, Volunteer. LIVE UNITED.