“If you want to be a true professional, you will do something outside yourself. Something to repair tears in your community. Something to make life a little better for people less fortunate than you. That’s what I think a meaningful life is – living not for oneself, but for one’s community.” This quote from Ruth Bader Ginsburg came to the forefront and stuck with me. With her recent passing, I feel inspired when I think about her legacy and how these words along with her work will continue to have an impact in generations forward.
I decided to join the board of United Way of Southwest Minnesota to feel more connected to the community in which I live. I am an implant to this area having grown up in Wisconsin and living in the Twin Cities for 8 years prior to meeting my husband and moving out to Southwest Minnesota. The uniqueness of the community here I am proud to call home which is grounded in all the great people that support each other day to day. We wave as we pass by someone that we know, know most of the children’s parents that our kids go to school with, and a trip to the grocery store often includes pleasant small talk and seeing a few familiar faces. Neighbors helping one another, coming to the rescue in times of need, lifting each other up and evolving together as we face issues such as the unprecedented pandemic.
This is why United Way is so special with all the programs that support education, advocacy, community problems and other support. In fact, I am sure that if everyone looked around at friends and family members you are sure to find at least one United Way Program that has repaired or have made a life better. It is all around us. My example resides every night when my second grader pulls out a book to read before bedtime, which often comes from the United Way sponsored Imagination Library, and reads to me or my husband. The other night we sat in amazement at how well he was reading and progressing. I have no doubt that that is partially due to the amazing program where our family is sent books each month to encourage literacy and reading development.
This year, I raised my hand to serve as a leadership role on the board serving as co-campaign chair. I am excited to be involved at a more intimate level and continue to learn more about United Way. I am also searching for ways I can continue to make life better and repair where I can and why I decided to become more involved in United Way.
As we approach the annual campaign to ensure these great programs continue to enhance our communities, I encourage everyone reading this to consider a meaningful contribution, look for ways to get involved and let’s all make a difference together!