Dec. 5, 2018

There's more than one way to Do Local Good

Werklund staff volunteer to pack schoolchildren's lunches as part of 2018 United Way campaign

Author

Nicola Waugh, University Relations

Brenda Tschanz, Lisa Llewellyn, Megan Atkins-Baker (campaign associate, United Way), Avril Tatterson, Angie Crowley, Shelley Enderton and Jayne Dangerfield lend at hand on behalf of Werklund School of Education at Closer to Home Community Services. Photo by Nicola Waugh, University Relations

There's more than one way to Do Local Good.

Nicola Waugh, University Relations

Organizations like United Way are most strongly associated with monetary support, but there are others ways to give back — and members of our University of Calgary community stepped up to lend a hand.

On Nov. 15, a group of staff from the Werklund School of Education took a trip to Closer to Home Community Services as part of United Way’s Day of Caring initiative, which pairs volunteers with agencies that need support.  

“I think UCalgary’s Eyes High strategy has laid a strong foundation to build our community here on campus, and we want to start taking our collaborative spirit back out into the wider community,” says Brenda Tschanz, Werklund’s graduate program administrator and one of the Day of Caring volunteers.

  • Photo above: Brenda Tschanz, Lisa Llewellyn, Megan Atkins-Baker (campaign associate, United Way), Avril Tatterson, Angie Crowley, Shelley Enderton and Jayne Dangerfield lend at hand on behalf of Werklund School of Education at Closer to Home Community Services. Photo by Nicola Waugh, University Relations

Supporting Closer to Home’s mission to ensure that children have stable, healthy and safe living environments where they can grow and develop, Tschanz and her colleagues spent time packing lunches for children who are part of Closer to Home’s programs.

Why is this important? Because kids are the future of our city. Lack of access to adequate and nutritious food has a detrimental effect on physical and mental health, and food insecurity and hunger can result in depression, anxiety, suicide, decreased productivity, and in the case of young children, permanent brain damage.

“The support that Closer to Home offers to vulnerable youth is what drew me to volunteering,” says Jayne Dangerfield, development co-ordinator at Werklund, and UCalgary United Way Campaign subcommittee member. “I hear stories from my kids about other kids, and I wanted to help. To take just one stressor out of their day is bigger than we realize.”

In addition to packing the lunches, the volunteers added messages of encouragement to the students on napkins with phrases like ‘You’re special’, ‘Stay positive’ and ‘Have a great day’ — another small gesture toward well-being for the youth in the program.

As the graduate program administrator at Werklund, Tschanz reflects on where these children could go. “I see them as prospective students,” she says. “If they don’t have that lunch, and that positivity, they may not get there. I see this as the start of their path toward higher education.”

The team plans on engaging in more volunteer opportunities, both to support United Way in their next campaign and in future giving initiatives. “We want to bring this back to the faculty and do more throughout the year in some capacity,” says Dangerfield. “And it’s a great way for us to branch out and connect with staff from different departments in the faculty.”

Closer to Home is just one of the many agencies that United Way supports. The generous contributions of faculty and staff to the 2018 campaign fuels United Way’s work in helping kids across Calgary and the surrounding area create a better tomorrow. Together, we are providing them with the support they need to succeed.

Do Local Good: Learn more about UCalgary’s United Way campaign, which ends Dec. 14, and check out the full list of engaging activities. Giving is easy. Give online, download a paper pledge form or find information on tax receipts related to your United Way investment. Or, your donation can easily be made through payroll deductions.