Article submitted by Merissa Green, United Way of Central Florida Board of Directors
When you come from nothing, you appreciate everything. I have licked the bowls of poverty and know what it is like to struggle for the American dream. Through education, determination and the support of people in my inner circle, I have experienced a level of success that has given me a decent, quality of life. I was able to improve my condition because I experienced the power of help. This is why I take great pride serving as a United Way of Central Florida board of director. The mission of the agency is to improve lives and strengthen the community. We do that daily through our financial commitment and programs to help the vulnerable.
It has been a pleasure working with others on the United Way board who want to make our community better. I have a passion for serving the least among us and being a part of the board allows me to do that at a higher level.
My journey with the organization began when I was in my early 20s working my first professional job. I learned about United Way through a workplace campaign. Because the company’s leadership set the tone for contributing to United Way, it was an easy decision to do likewise. It wasn’t until several years later I really understood how important the contributions meant. My mother had a cancer scare and could not work. I contacted the local United Way in Volusia County, and without hesitation, the organization came to her aid, making sure her expenses and basic needs were met. My mother didn’t have the added stress about how she was going to pay her bills and could focus on her recovery. If it wasn’t for the exposure to United Way at work, I wouldn’t have known where to turn to get my mother help.
After that experience, anything I could do for United Way was an obligation because I saw firsthand how valuable the organization was to my family and community. From hosting a tea party fundraiser in the office, getting food to those in need and reading to kindergartners, United Way has truly been my lifestyle.
At its core, a philanthropist is a person who donates time, money, experience skills or talent to help create a better world. You don’t have to have a multi-million dollar bank account to help those around you. You just have to be rich in love and a willingness to give something, even if it amounts to pocket change. United Way is one of our community’s greatest assets and it will continue to grow in strength from those who have the power to do good works. Change the world, by changing someone’s life. — #violetfierce