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Local United Way springs into 'action'

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By Amber Coulter

Regional volunteers responded to a call to action Friday to help nonprofit organizations.

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The United Way of Central Kentucky hosted its second Day of Action in cooperation with the national organization’s effort to get volunteers to help for a day each year with cleaning, painting, repairs and other projects throughout the country.

An estimated 40 volunteers in the region — about the same number as last year — turned out last week to sort donated items for Helping Hand of Hope, assist with activities for the Hardin County Schools Junior Leadership Camp and pitch in to accomplish various other projects.

Getting people to volunteer is part of the United Way’s call to action, said Medley Byers, an AmeriCorps VISTA leader with the local United Way branch.

“Of course donations are important, but so are your time and your talent,” she said.

Research shows an hour of volunteer work is worth about $21 of saved resources, Byers said.

The Day of Action also offers the United Way a chance to help nonprofits, which the organization doesn’t usually get the chance to connect, she said.

Byers was among a group of volunteers painting four practice rooms at the Music & Arts Center of Cultural Learning on North Dixie Avenue in Elizabethtown.

The center provides music and art activities for children and seniors, as well as scholarship opportunities.

Center Director Victor Collins said the work helped finish redecorating the building.

Center leaders wanted to repaint the four rooms from their drab gray, but it was too expensive. That’s why Collins asked for the project to be included as part of the Day of Action.

Sarah Miller was one of 12 Dow Corning volunteers painting rooms and renovating a bathroom at Valley View Education Center on Hawkins Drive in Elizabethtown.

Miller, a supply manager in procurement for Dow Corning and the company’s United Way chairwoman, said the company fully supports the organization’s mission.

“We really like what the United Way does for our community and how it helps the less fortunate in our community,” she said. “We feel very blessed that we have good jobs in the community, so it’s just a way to give back.”

The volunteers know how fortunate they are, especially in tough economic times, and they were glad to have a way to give back, Miller said.

“It’s a reward in itself,” she said. “It’s very humbling to see what needs to be done in the community and how places struggle getting funding. (Helping) makes you feel pretty good.”

Veronica Helm, an engineering and services co-op for Dow Corning, agreed it’s important to give back, especially because volunteers have kept their well-paying jobs.

“I think it’s good to be able to share our fortune with people who haven’t been so lucky,” she said.

Amber Coulter can be reached at (270) 505-1746 or acoulter@thenewsenterprise.com.