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UNITED WAY YEAR OF CARING: Help Us Be Prepared in Case of a Disaster

Help Us Be Prepared in Case of a DisasterDisaster Relief 2

Emergencies can occur without any warning. Our community wants to be as prepared as possible, and we have a community-wide disaster recovery plan that includes dozens of local agencies and nonprofits.

Do you think YOU could help during a disaster or other community-wide emergency? That’s great!

Register now, so you can be quickly and safely deployed when the need arises.

During the first few hours following a disaster, emergency response agencies can be overwhelmed by spontaneous volunteers.

“People are really inspired to help during a crisis, which is absolutely wonderful.” said Caroline Emerson, Vice President of Community Engagement for the United Way – Thomas Jefferson Area. “However, if we already know whom to expect and how they can help, we can deploy these good folks so much more effectively and safely. Well-meaning people who show up unannounced must be accounted for carefully, or they can become victims themselves.”

The United Way helps local emergency responders and relief organizations coordinate unaffiliated volunteers by maintaining a roster of people who can be called upon to fill specific needs. The registration form asks a few simple questions about your skill sets, the languages you speak, the equipment and vehicles you know how to operate, and so on.

Do you know how to drive a backhoe? Speak Spanish? Use a chain saw? Provide first aid? Are you fit enough to help search for a missing person over rough terrain? Or would you rather work behind the scenes, answering phones or setting up a shelter? There’s sure to be a role that suits you.

All you need to do now is fill out the form. There’s no training, no background check, and no interview. In the event of a disaster, you may get a call to action.

Sign up today. It only takes a few minutes. Ask your friends to do it, too.


UNITED WAY YEAR OF CARING: Visit residents at area nursing homes


Say Hello in There

You know that old trees just grow stronger

And old rivers grow wilder ev'ry day

Old people just grow lonesome

Waiting for someone to say, "Hello in there, hello"


That’s the chorus from Hello in There by John Prine. If you’ve never heard the song, follow the link and take a listen.

Now, here’s a chance to follow John’s good advice.

Visit residents at area nursing homes who may be missing their families this holiday season. Spend some time talking or playing games, go for a walk, sing carols or join their holiday celebrations.

Call the folks listed below to schedule a visit:

Morningside – (434) 971-8889, ask for Cristin Capron.

JABA Mountainside Senior Living – (434) 823-4307, ask for Penny Goldman.

Golden Living of Charlottesville – (434) 296-5611, ask for Margaret Thacker. 

UNITED WAY YEAR OF CARING: Giving thanks for 25 years of caring

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Let’s take a moment to thank the volunteers who turn out for the United Way Laurence E. Richardson Day of Caring.
On September 21, about 1,900 volunteers took part in the 25th annual Day of Caring. Over the years, more than 30,000 volunteers have devoted nearly 160,000 hours of service to nonprofits and schools across our region.

That’s remarkable.

The yearly event introduces a lot of first-timers to the joys of volunteering. But many more return again and again.

A team from Hantzmon Wiebel Certified Public Accountants has participated every year since 2003. Because mid-September is such a busy time for the firm, they complete their projects in October. This year, Hantzmon Wiebel sent 47 people to five sites.

“We appreciate this opportunity each year to work with the United Way to coordinate opportunities for us to give back to the community,” said Jennifer Lehman, Hantzmon Wiebel’s COO. “During one afternoon we provided approximately 168 hours of service.”

At the Salvation Army Family Store, Hantzmon Wiebel volunteers set up Christmas trees and tackled a variety of cleaning and organizing tasks. At Sutherland Middle School they did some mulching and cleaned up a rock climbing wall. They also stuffed envelopes at the Albemarle Department of Social Services, did some painting and landscaping at the Golden Living Center, and spruced up the grounds of the Dover Foxcroft Retreat Center of the Spring Hill Baptist Church.

From the United Way staff and board of directors, heartfelt thanks go to Hantzmon Wiebel and to all of the companies and individuals who pitch in to support our community.



UNITED WAY YEAR OF CARING: GE volunteers cultivate community connections

GE2           GE1

What grows when a dozen volunteers tend a schoolyard garden? A lot more than just plants.

That’s what a team from GE Energy Connections learned when they pitched in to help some Western Albemarle High School students pull weeds, till soil, and plant flowers.

The students in the WAHS Environmental Studies Academy found some common ground with the role models from GE. And the volunteers grew their connections with each other. 

“We look forward to opportunities like this one to get out as a team and give back to the community. It was also a great chance to get our team together outside the office and get to know each other a bit better,” said Samy Gadalla, HR leader at GE Energy Connections. “We had fun.”

GE has been a long-term supporter with the United Way – Thomas Jefferson Area. In 2014, GE was recognized by United Way Worldwide as one of its Outstanding Strategic Partners, celebrating its long-term commitment, giving, volunteering, leadership, and employee engagement.


UNITED WAY YEAR OF CARING: Habitat for Humanity's Rake-a-Thon

Habitat Rake-a-Thon group

Money for good causes doesn’t grow on trees. Or does it?

About 500 volunteer rakers will turn leaves into cash during the fourth annual Habitat for Humanity Rake-a-Thon. The goal is to raise $5,000 for Project 20, Habitat’s effort to build at least 20 homes a year in partnership with hard-working local families.  

Habitat recruits "neighbors" who are happy to have their lawns raked by teams of volunteers. The neighbors make a donation in the amount of their choosing.

Thanks to an enthusiastic response from the community, Habitat has doubled the number of rakers and neighbors from last year. The growth of this unique fundraiser is a win for the neighbors, volunteers, and Project 20.

“Working with Habitat has not only been fulfilling, but also empowering,” says Jessica Chandrasekhar, a long-term Habitat volunteer. “It connects me with future Habitat homeowners and other volunteers, who are all working towards the common, ultimate goal of bettering the world around us. The Rake-a-Thon furthers this mission by raising awareness of who we are as an organization and of the community that we are trying to build.”

It’s too late to sign up for this year’s Rake-a-Thon, which takes place on Saturday Nov. 19. But Habitat offers many other volunteer opportunities throughout the year. To learn more, visit www.cvillehabitat.org/volunteer.

An Intern's Life

An Intern’s Life

It’s hard to believe the summer is over so quickly. Here I am at the end of my internship, feeling as though I have just gotten started with my journey at United Way–Thomas Jefferson Area. As the saying goes, “Time flies when you’re having fun.” This is exactly the case with my internship. Having the opportunity to work alongside some of the most dedicated, hardworking, and caring individuals I’ve met has made each day at the office such an enjoyable experience. Each member of the staff welcomed me graciously into the organization and offered me guidance and encouragement throughout my time.

Devon2015For many years I have considered pursuing a career in the nonprofit sector, but I have continued to have my qualms. This internship, however, has affirmed my aspirations toward a nonprofit career and has put my mind at ease. From the start, I was given the opportunity to integrate myself into the United Way’s work and to see how I could fit into the day-to-day operations of a nonprofit organization. The result has been a newfound confidence in the direction I want to head post-graduation. A large part of this confidence has come from the diversity and the satisfaction from the work. Before beginning my internship, I remember talking with Caroline, who told me that one of her favorite aspects of working at a nonprofit is that each day presents her with something new. Her wisdom on the subject proved true as I was assigned numerous tasks and projects on every part of the spectrum.

Often I was asked to research information regarding various subjects – some about programs across the nation that could be replicated here in Charlottesville, others about new technologies that would help our causes, and some concerning ways to improve the efficiency of existing programs at United Way. This provided me with a chance to learn about new subjects, improve my writing, and think critically about how to go from research to reality. Another part of my work was compiling information that was needed for this year’s annual report. Whether it was gathering photos, taking quotes from members of the Board of Directors, or writing brief profiles on featured community members, knowing that I was contributing to a major piece of United Way marketing was an awesome opportunity. Helping to manage the agencies and teams who were registering for the 2015 United Way Day of Caring was extremely rewarding. And, I got to be a guest on the Joe Thomas radio show twice!

Despite the wide range of assignments, I realize that I never truly considered them "work".  Each has been a chance to hone my skills or an opportunity to grow and learn while making a difference in the community.  The diversity of the job and the daily sense of satisfaction are perhaps the most attractive aspects of nonprofit work - every day is like a fresh start.

There is so much to say about the amazing work United Way-Thomas Jefferson Area does for the local community.  I don't think that I could say enough positive things to convey how truly remarkable an impact the United Way has on individual lives here in the area.  All I can really say is thank you all for allowing me to be a part of such a wonderful organization that works so hard to make this community a better place - I am greatly appreciative.

-Posted by Devon Stribling, United Way intern

Day of Caring Registration Deadline!

United Way Day of Caring Registration Deadline is Next Week!

DoC paintersAre you looking for a way to get your company or group involved in the community?  Or, does your nonprofit need volunteers to help complete projects?

The United Way Day of Caring is for you!  This amazing community-wide volunteer service day puts 2,000 volunteers to work in almost 200 projects hosted by local nonprofits and schools.  The Day of Caring is coming up on September 16, 2015.  Registration for volunteer teams and service projects ends on July 24, so sign up today to get involved in this huge community event!

Volunteer Teams - for Companies, Clubs or Other Groups

"I am so tired... and so happy!  We got so much done today."  That's typical feedback from an exhausted Day of Caring volunteer.  Get involved by forming a team!  You'll have a wonderful day with your colleagues while making a real difference for a local nonprofit or school.

To sign up a team, simply email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with your team name, team leader name, team leader email address and an estimated number of volunteers for your team. Note to UVA Teams;  please also indicate if your team is from the Academic or Health Systems side.

Complete Team Registration Information


Nonprofit and Schools

Don't miss out on this opportunity to have energetic, eager, and SKILLED volunteers come into your organization on Setpember 16 to design a database, paint a room, plant a garden, teach your clients how to use social media, assemble a mailing - or whatever you need.  There are so many ways to plug volunteers into your organization for a half day or full day project to make a lasting impact!  Our nearly 2,000 volunteers have numerous skills and interests, so BE CREATIVE when you plan your projects.

To register a project, or for project ideas and assistance, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Don't miss this chance to be part of something BIG!  Register your team or project today, and no later than July 24.


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