Special to bizNEVADA
Over 2,000 volunteers are coming together to put their passion and skills to work on October 5, 2018. United Way of Southern Nevada’s Day of Caring celebrates the spirit and value of volunteering and encourages residents to get out and change lives in their communities.
The experience of joining thousand of volunteers for one day of giving back is life-changing for many participants, but this year Day of Caring holds a deeper meaning. The date of October 5 was set more than a year ago, but no one could have predicted the events of 1 October just days after the 2017 event ended. Volunteers now have a greater reason to come together, with Day of Caring serving as the focal point of a week of events in remembrance of those lost and affected and offering the opportunity to turn powerful emotions into action.
“The community’s tradition of Day of Caring is taking on a special meaning this year,” says Scott Emerson, President and CEO of United Way of Southern Nevada. “It will serve as a day of healing on October 5th, allowing people to engage and focus those emotions and energies into something positive.”
Now in its third year in Southern Nevada, Day of Caring has become a sign of hope for the community. With the large amount of interest in the Las Vegas area, the day has grown into 250 different ways for volunteers to turn their caring efforts into action.
Volunteers that participate in Day of Caring are providing the community support that many nonprofit organizations and schools depend on, helping projects get finished that otherwise might not have been completed. The volunteer impact, however, stretches much farther than the physical projects. For the thousands of individuals that visit these organizations each year for help and resources, the visual reminder of the community’s support is more encouragement to succeed.
Green Our Planet, an agency which has participated since the very first year of Day of Caring, spreads out across Southern Nevada to plant gardens in elementary schools to beautify campuses and create outdoor learning opportunities. Normally, these gardens take a full semester to complete, but Day of Caring volunteers finish multiple gardens in just one day. Students return to school after the weekend ready to learn in their new school garden.
Leaders in Training, a United Way funded partner, uses Day of Caring to prepare their office space for students. Last year’s volunteers assembled new furniture purchased with Day of Caring funding to fill the space, making it a comfortable place for students to finish homework, meet with fellow program participants and prepare for high school graduation.
“It is incredible to see our whole state coming together to solve one of the toughest problems many organizations face, which is having the time and manpower to complete these projects,” says Emerson. “Volunteers on Day of Caring are bringing octane to the efforts of these agencies and schools and supporting our entire community for years to come.”
While past years have focused on the Southern Nevada community, this year’s Day of Caring is going a step further. United Way and Nevada Volunteers are partnering to take Day of Caring statewide, combining forces to promote volunteering across Nevada. By bringing the already-familiar event to communities throughout the state, Nevada Volunteers aims to have a project in every Nevada county.
Volunteers of all ages, skill sets and backgrounds are needed at Day of Caring, since projects range from family-friendly painting and kit packing to complex building and landscaping. Volunteers can choose their own project opportunities with friends, family and coworkers, and use the day as a chance to bond and give back. Half-day and full-day projects are available to fit volunteer needs and schedules. Every volunteer will find a project that interests them at organizations addressing every community need.
With more than 75 nonprofit agencies and schools signed up to participate, there will be plenty of opportunities for volunteers to get involved. Most Nevada residents will already be familiar with the organizations driving volunteer efforts on Day of Caring. Over 2,000 volunteers are needed to help Opportunity Village, Three Square, Project 150, and many more agencies and schools across the state.
Although Day of Caring’s goal is to make a positive impact in the community, it is also meant to be a fun event for the volunteers. Volunteers in Las Vegas and Reno will kick off the excitement of a day of volunteering and changing lives with a breakfast celebration. Speakers will inspire and energize volunteers before sending them out into their communities to make a difference.
Volunteers can sign up to participate in Day of Caring projects starting August 1. To learn more about Day of Caring, please visit uwsn.org/caring.