These heels were made for walking…

We all struggle to find extra time to give back, with busy lives and obligations beyond our capacity. However, getting involved and supporting your community can be easier than you think. Especially when you think outside the box and help out in a non-traditional way. I’d say two men strapping on a pair of red high heels is pretty non-traditional. But then again, so is holding a toilet paper drive…the possibilities are endless!

Talking the Talk AND Walking the, uh, Walk…

Both of us recently participated in an event called “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes”. This event was organized by WEAVE, a certified United Way partner, to raise awareness and donations for domestic violence. We literally walked the walk—a mile to be exact—along with hundreds of other Sacramento men. The click-clack on the course of heels hitting the pavement was the start to a fun day of building awareness and new relationships. Participating in an event like this not only benefits the cause, but also allows you to add others to your social and professional network. A true win-win. Walks supporting various causes occur almost every weekend of the year. Check out the United Way calendar on the website or the Sacramento Bee Community Events Calendar for upcoming events. Looking for something more specific? Check out the website for certified United Way certified nonprofit partner Volunteers of America.

Gee, that sounds fun…I’m ready to go! Now what?

Outside of participating in a walk or volunteering your time, consider getting involved in the LIVE UNITED movement. You can join us for the 3rd Annual LIVE UNITED Toilet Paper Drive and make a difference in many people’s lives—all by sparing a few squares (see photos on side). Consider holding your own Toilet Paper Drive in your office or with a group of friends and drop it by Cal Expo on Thursday, June 16th from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. The toilet paper will be distributed the following week to many of United Way’s 142 certified nonprofit partners in Amador, El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento and Yolo counties, allowing local nonprofits to offset the thousands of dollars they spend each year on toilet paper—money they could be spending on vital programs. Looking for something different? You can even make a difference by shopping online at some of your favorite retailers using the tool Cafégive from the convenience of your home. A portion of the proceeds will come directly back to your local United Way.

I’m ready for a more long term commitment!

Aside from continuing to help out in non-traditional ways, such as helping to collect toilet paper or participating in a walk, consider joining one of United Way’s member groups such as Women in Philanthropy or Emerging Leaders. This is an easy way to meet like-minded professionals ready to give back. Some members are extremely involved, while others get involved when they can—so you will not be alone if you agree to participate at whatever capacity you’d prefer.
Bottom line—there are options for everyone and every type of schedule when it comes to giving back. So get involved today and have fun, change lives, meet new friends, do good, and walk the walk.

Cole Forstedt and Brian Jones both work at United Way California Capital Region in Resource Development