Hard-working volunteers rarely see themselves as heroes or anything more than someone trying to make a small difference in their community. It came as no surprise that when I sat down with United Way’s Retiree Giving Club volunteer, Roger Stoughton, and used the word “hero,” he balked at the idea. However, as our conversation unfolded and I learned about all that Roger and his wife Carol have contributed over the last 30 years, both in time and financially, it’s clear that the Stoughtons are true examples of community heroes.
Roger worked for the State of California for more than 30 years. He was always active in the state’s giving campaign, designating some of his donations to his church, St. Mark’s Methodist Church in Sacramento and United Way. When I asked him why United Way, he explained that United Way covers a lot of organizations that make an impact in the community. As a long-time resident of Carmichael, it’s important to Roger and Carol that money stays local and supports the region where they live and have raised a family.
I had the pleasure of attending the HEAL Collaborative Promising Practices Exchange 2015. More than 100 agencies came together at the beautiful Falls Event Center in Elk Grove to discuss promising practices and celebrate the work surrounding health policies, programs, and services within low-income and high-need communities.
My mother did a great job raising me in the vast majority of ways, but one area in which her parental advising turned out to be not so helpful was regarding finances.
One week into my first post-college job, my old Toyota Corolla gave up the ghost while I was driving home from work. With 500 miles between me and my parents, and with most of my close friends having moved away for other opportunities, I had to brave the car dealership on my own.
“Just tell them you’re not going to pay more than $150 per month!” was my mom’s sole piece of advice.
I have to admit, on my way to my volunteer activity for Young Leaders Society I was tired and almost cancelled at the last minute. My email inbox was full and I was behind on some projects. It would have been so easy to cancel. But then I reminded myself that would the easy way out and that I’ve never gone to a volunteer event that I’ve regretted. I always walk away with a sense of fulfillment and pride; a feeling that I helped make my community a better place. So I got out of the car and went to the Grant High Geo Garden with a (forced) smile on my face.
I can remember the thrill of swinging high in the air on the swing set at my local park when I was a kid. My friends and I would try to see who could swing the highest, then jump off the swing mid-air to see who could jump the furthest. It was freeing, it was exhilarating and let’s face it, it was FUN.
I can remember the fear, the good kind of fear, which would present itself the first time I did a flip on the uneven bars on the playground and how fun it was once I finally overcame my fears.