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Let's Get Moving!

Walk. Bike. Dance. Play. 30 minutes every day.

That is the tag line of our local Move2Health campaign. We know there is a national obesity epidemic, but sometimes we need to hear statistics from closer to home:

  • Nearly 28% of adults in the Thomas Jefferson Health District (The City of Charlottesville and Albemarle, Greene, Fluvanna, Louisa and Nelson counties) are obese.
  • According to the Community Action on Obesity, in 2011, 37% of fifth graders in Charlottesville and Albemarle public schools were overweight or obese.
  • In Louisa County, 30% of adults report no leisure time physical activity; the other localities are not that far behind.

Obesity can lead to many other health issues:

  • Move2Health-Logo-with-sloganDiabetes
  • Heart Disease
  • Cancer
  • Hypertension
  • Stroke
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Sleep apnea

Need more convincing? Watch the video The Obesity Epidemic, from the Centers for Disease Control.

The time has come to do something. Our community partners in the Move2Health campaign wisely decided to encourage small behavioral changes as a first step.

It is simple: move 30 minutes a day, five days a week. You don’t need to join a gym or start running 5K races. It can be as simple as working in your yard or going to the playground with your kids and not sitting on the bench, but moving around with them. If you are at work, plan a walking meeting rather than having a coffee sitting at a table. Take your dog for a long walk. Go dancing.

It gets better: we all like company. Challenge your co-workers, family members, church members, school clubs and so on to join you. Register yourself and identify your organization on the Move2Health website. There, you can log your personal minutes and see how you are doing. You can also see how your organization is doing as well as the minutes of the entire community. The goal is 30 million minutes for our community by December 31.

Come to Fridays After Five on Charlottesville’s downtown mall on September 6. University of Virginia Head Baseball Coach Brian O’Connor, chair of our local Move2Health campaign, will be there, as well as demonstrations of various ways to move by local organizations. You can register on the spot and start logging your minutes. (Don’t worry - your information is confidential – you will only be able to see an organization’s total minutes, not individual names.)

Learn more at Move2HealthCentralVA.org and register.

Walk. Bike. Dance. Play. 30 minutes every day. You can do it. We can do it.

Posted by: Kim Connolly

Preparing for a Successful United Way Day of Caring

DoC LOGOforWebThe registration deadlines have passed, teams have selected their projects, and our office is busy putting the final touches on planning for the United Way Laurence E. Richardson Day of Caring on September 18th. State Farm is graciously wrapping up the planning of our Kick-Off Breakfast scheduled for 7:30AM on September 18th at Albemarle Square. So, what should teams and nonprofits be doing to make sure the day is rewarding and impactful?


Scheduling the deadlines and Project Selection earlier this year served many purposes, including giving nonprofits and teams more time to organize plans for the event, make travel arrangements, communicate, and make site visits. Check out below for some ways that you can prepare for this year’s United Way Day of Caring:


Volunteer Team Leaders

  • Communicate regularly with your team about parking, what to wear, whether food will be provided, what time to arrive, and back-up plans for bad weather.
  • Reach out to the contact at our project site, as well as any other team leaders that you’ll be working with to schedule a site visit. Site visits will give you a chance to check out the parking situation, double check for poison ivy, and make sure that your team will have enough supplies to complete the project.
  • Share a breakfast invitation with the members of your team.
  • Send the names of your team members to the United Way in this format.
  • Arrange for team t-shirts and if you’ll use First Systems & Resources, order today!
  • Check out this checklist to be sure you’re fully prepared for the United Way Day of Caring!

DOC painting DOC book sorting











Nonprofit and School Project Coordinators

  • Be sure to communicate with the Team Leader(s) for your projects about rain plans, parking, whether food will be provided, supplies needed, appropriate clothing, any liability forms that need to be filled out. (See this checklist for more).
  • Schedule a time for the Team Leader(s) to come visit your site to walk through the project and ensure that you’ll have enough supplies to complete the project.
  • Purchase all supplies needed in advance and/or ensure that the Team Leader is planning to bring along supplies for the project.
  • Plan a way to engage the volunteers while on site. For instance, provide a lunch with staff, offer a tour of your office, or have Board members stop by to thank volunteers.
  • Find out the best way to send a thank you note after the event and get contact information for the thank you notes.


Please be sure to use the extra time this year leading up to the United Way Day of Caring to carefully plan for a meaningful day for each volunteer. The happier volunteers feel leaving the project sites after the event, the more likely they will be to continue to volunteer in our community!


Any questions? Please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , United Way Volunteer Center director


Posted by: Jessica Snyder, United Way Volunteer Center director

Reflections of Our Summer College Intern

Abby Roberson for webA big goal that I had coming into this internship was to be able to see what exactly an organization such as United Way-Thomas Jefferson Area does day to day and, at the same time, how large-scale projects get accomplished. I think I have at least partially accomplished this goal. I have learned that this line of work can involve a lot of meetings and a lot of making connections in order to get help in solving a problem that is found in the community. I have also learned a lot about writing emails. As trivial as the task may seem, it is a large part of the process and can be very delicate depending on who you are talking to. I had previously discounted the importance of those virtual communications in making sure everything is getting accomplished that needs to done.

I’ve also found that one of the biggest factors in creating a well-functioning team is an environment such as the one I was working in. Everyone in the office is incredibly friendly and often will just start explaining what they were working on. I’ve been able to attend meetings and talk with individuals that help to put my experience in a larger perspective, one outside of the daily small tasks. I will be forever grateful for everyone who took the time out of their schedule to walk me through their position and their perspective on what can help benefit the community.

Overall, this internship has been a positive experience. Apart from just being something else to put on my résumé, it has shown me what office life is like when an organization does not have clients coming in on a regular basis, at least during the summer. Similarly, the interactions I’ve had have helped me to sort out my short-term goals and confirm some suspicions I’ve had about my future (the job market, scary as it is, will be where I turn after UVA). I hope that I have helped contribute to the organization in some way over the past two months, even if only to keep some papers off of people’s desks. I know that the skills that I have learned here during the internship, be they as small as registering a United Way Day of Caring team online or as large as conducting an interview, will be beneficial for the future. I’m so appreciative to have had the opportunity to work with such a great organization and such an enthusiastic and dynamic group of people.

Posted by: Abby Roberson, University of Virginia Summer Intern

An Office Facelift

806 East High 2000-presentWhen your office inhabits an older house, you need to take care of it. The walls were painted and wood floors refinished when we moved in to this building in 2000, so it was time for some TLC. Because the floors had to be done, we had to completely empty the contents of the building and work off-site for a week or so, which is why we scheduled the rehab for the week of July 4, a pretty quiet week.

It was also an opportunity for each staff member to review and clean out files, and get rid of some very old furniture that we no longer needed. Some staff even took the opportunity to paint and recover some old chairs at home and re-arrange their furniture.

DSC 0028 2Summer can be a quiet time for some businesses, but helping people knows no calendar, so we tried to make the dislocation and transition as seamless as possible for our staff and those we help. We do know that coming into a building that feels cared for adds a spring to our step and shows our visitors a warm and inviting environment, whether they are here to get help or give help.

Stop by and see us at 806 East High Street in Charlottesville. We'd love to show you around.



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Posted by: Kim Connolly

Behind the Scenes of Our United Way Day of Caring

Jessica at deskFor at least the next eight days, you’ll find me tucked into my hidden office in the United Way office in downtown Charlottesville. Starting today, I’ll be working with our United Way Laurence E. Richardson Day of Caring teams to help each team select a project to complete on September 18th. As I prepare to head into the Project Selection process, I thought it may be interesting to give you a behind-the-scenes look at how my typical day plays out and understand the preparation to create a successful Day of Caring.


I arrive at the office each morning by 8:30AM with enough time to refill my water bottle, get settled into my office, and run through any emails that I’ve received overnight. Between 9:30AM and 10:00AM each morning during this process, I’ll review my list of which of the 141 teams from 60 local businesses get to pick a project that day and ensure that each of those teams has sent me an email with their top five to ten projects. Reminder emails are sent to teams that I have not heard from and I start my day with the first team slotted to pick a project.


Day of Caring Crozet 2Each team picks their project in order based on a random number generator that I use online. Our sponsor teams always go first, followed by any teams that have asked for projects in outlying counties, and then we begin the normal lottery. When a team is slotted to pick their project, I compare their preferred project list to my list of projects still available and give them the highest rated project on their list that is still available.


Once a project has been selected by a team, that team gets a quick email with a confirmation of their selection to be followed up after the project lottery with a more formal confirmation, contact information for the nonprofit and more. The project list is also updated after each selection. Once all of the teams scheduled for one day have selected a project, an email will go out to the teams that will select the next day with a request for a list of their preferred projects from the newly updated project list.


DSC 0045 for webThis process repeats each day for about eight or nine days, until each of the over 130 teams have selected their projects. It is a long process, but one that feels rewarding. At the start, we have over 230 projects unfilled, which really means that we have over 230 requests to help nonprofits and public schools reach more people in our community. To finish the project selection and see almost all of those projects matched with a volunteer groups is fulfilling and emphasizes the overwhelming generosity of businesses and volunteers in the Charlottesville area!


I thank you all for your patience as we go through the Project Selection process. It does take some time and not every team will get their first choice of project, but in the end, we’re helping to ensure that our sheltered animals have safe places to exercise, our local children have educational games painted on school blacktops and much, much more!


Posted by: Jessica Snyder

Seeking Volunteers That Like Numbers and People

Next year's tax season may seem far away, but we are seeking local volunteers this summer to begin training for the Thomas Jefferson Area Earned Income Tax Credit Coalition's free tax preparation service for local low income individuals and families.

This is a great opportunity for college students studying business or accounting, or for retirees seeking a meaningful volunteer experience that keeps their skills sharp, or someone seeking additional experience for a resume.

The Thomas Jefferson Earned Income Tax Credit Coalition (EITC) seeks to support lower income working families and generate positive economic impact on our community. The Coalition represents a broad collaboration between United Way-Thomas Jefferson Area, the University of Virginia and UVA Medical Center, BB&T, IRS, many community organizations and social services departments, and the UVA Community Credit Union (including branches in Charlottesville, Albemarle, Greene, Fluvanna, Louisa and Nelson Counties).

megan B.The Coalition helps clients with the process of claiming valuable tax credits including the EITC, the credit for the elderly, education credits, the Child Tax Credit/Additional Child Tax Credit, and the residential energy credit. This coming season, clients will receive assistance with the new Affordable Care Act health insurance premium tax credit.

Training will be available starting in September, so we’re recruiting volunteers now!

Volunteers need to:

  • Complete a 6-hour online training program in order to prepare and review returns.
  • Be available at least once a week for a 3 hour window from late January through April 15th, 2014.
  • Be comfortable working with a diverse population.

For more information, or to be added to a list of interested volunteers, contact Barbara Hutchinson at United Way Thomas Jefferson Area at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 434-972-1713.

United Way Staff are Committed and Flexible!

Our United Way office, which started life as an Arts and Crafts style home in downtown Charlottesville, is getting "refreshed" this week and next. Plaster walls are being repaired, walls painted and wood floors refinished. In order to accomplish this, our staff spent much of this past week cleaning out old files, and our offices have been emptied of furniture today.

DSC 0028Our intrepid, dedicated staff have relocated to our third floor finished space, which is where our staff kitchen area, postage meter, and inventory of envelopes and other miscellaneous items are located. It also has a conference table surrounded by a motley assortment of chairs. This is where we are working this week, and next week we will continue to be working both here and off-site, because we know that people will still be seeking our assistance.



If you are trying to reach us by phone this week and next, please be patient as we will be checking our phone lines hourly for messages. Email is the best way to reach us.


Posted by:
 Kim Connolly


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