The United Way of Porter County held their annual Day of Caring at Valparaiso Nazarene Church, bringing over a thousand volunteers across Porter County and various organizations as they came together to help out in various projects across the community.
“It is so wonderful to see so many people here to make our community a better place for all of us,” said 2015 United Co-Chair Kathryn McMillian. “I am very excited to launch this year and all of our great projects we have planned for the community.”
McMillian, along with her husband Stewart McMillian of Task Force Tips and the rest of her family were instrumental in organizing this year’s Day of Caring along with contributing to the United Way’s main objective of helping and assisting those who need it in the Porter County community.
“The Day of Caring is a day when the community comes together and volunteers donate their time to make this community a better place to live,” said United Way of Porter County President Sharon Kish. “We have 1,200 volunteers heading out into the community doing a variety of activities from painting, to picnics with clients to landscaping. It is just that opportunity for everyone to come together to make it a better place.”
In the beginning The United Way reached out to organizations for volunteers, word of mouth quickly spread on how much people enjoyed participating in the event and eventually had an equal amount of individuals and organizations reaching out to the United Way for volunteering opportunities.
The event served dual purposes, as not only did it celebrate the spirit of volunteerism throughout the Northwest Indiana Region but also as a team building day for groups and organizations. Local businesses, municipalities, churches and civic groups were allowed to witness firsthand what a nonprofit organization does and how it makes a positive impact on the community.
“This is important because it shows members of the community that things can get better and that this is a great place to live,” says Kish. “It shows that we're all together and through that we can make great things happen.”
“I tell everyone that I have the best job in the world,” said Director of Volunteer Engagement Mackenna Schon. ‘My nine to five consists of helping children and doing things that I’m passionate about, my big project of the year is bringing together these volunteers and getting them out the door, it’s great.”
As the volunteers left to head out to their various projects and community events across Porter County, both Schon and Kish remained excited that this event would be one that would continue to make a positive impact on the community for years to come.
“I hope that everyone volunteering today can take with them the fact that we are part of the whole, and all of us here can make a difference,” says Kish.
“I love seeing how much this community cares, United Ways across the nation do similar events and a lot of them have smaller ones or don’t see as many people show up to the events but here in Northwest Indiana, especially in Valpo, we’ve seen growth and it’s great that so many people can show that they care,” says Schon.