During National Volunteer Week (April 7-13), we asked United Way of Southeast Louisiana volunteers to share their favorite volunteer experience for the chance to win two tickets to the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. Because our volunteers rock, and they deserve a reward.
The competition was fierce – and many of the entries left us drying up happy tears. We truly cannot say thank you enough to the thousands of volunteers who donate their time and talent to fight with United Way for the health, education, and financial stability of every person. We could not do this work without you.
Without further ado, meet the 2019 National Volunteer Week Share Your Story contest winner and runner-up!
WINNER: Tiffany Le
“…I like to give back to a place that helped us the most when we didn't know where we're heading.”
Tiffany and her family lost everything during Hurricane Katrina – on top of the devastating loss of her husband. In her words, “Our life was turned upside down. No job, no home, no husband, and no idea where to start.”
Tiffany found counseling services through United Way to help her and her two daughters process the trauma and find a way forward. Now back on stable ground, Tiffany regularly volunteers in United Way’s office. “…I like to give back to a place that helped us the most when we didn't know where we're heading.” Thank you, Tiffany, for showing what it means to pay it forward and Live United.
RUNNER UP: Mark Ricard
“I cannot imagine my life going forward without my continued physical involvement with the UW....nor without my financial support of its programs. It has changed my life.”
Mark’s United Way story is more like a novel, covering three decades of giving back as a donor and volunteer.
His first exposure to United Way came in 1988 when he started a new job at Folgers Coffee and was asked to help with the company’s Workplace Fundraising Campaign. Naturally, he agreed, “and that was the start of my long and satisfying, and still ongoing, relationship with UW.”
After being involved with almost every Folgers United Way campaign over his 30-year career and giving faithfully, Mark found ways to stay involved with UWSELA upon retirement. He joined the new RETIRE UNITED donor network when it launched in 2018, and can be found volunteering at practically all our events and engagements.
Last year, Mark took on yet another UWSELA volunteer role as a Campaign Cabinet member. “I was so grateful to be able to be involved with the planning and execution of the efforts to expand our reach to new companies and opportunities,” he said.
You might say Mark and United Way were meant to be together. “I cannot imagine my life going forward without my continued physical involvement with the UW....nor without my financial support of its programs. It has changed my life,” Mark noted.
Mobilizing volunteers like Tiffany and Mark is part of the Blueprint for Prosperity, our plan to eradicate poverty in Southeast Louisiana. Local volunteer efforts contribute toward Vibrant Communities that are safe, thriving, and equitable. Want to get involved? Find out ways you can volunteer with United Way at UnitedWaySELA.org/Volunteer.