For the past eight years, it’s been my distinct pleasure to serve within the planning structure for our county’s biggest day of service delivery to people in need. As the United Way of Weld County board chairman in 2011, I worked with United Way staff to create a local day modeled after a successful program in metro Denver.
Weld Project Connect brings together service providers in healthcare, education, law, wellness, financial counseling, employment assistance and much more. Each professional provides services free of charge. In year one, close to 1,000 people accessed services. Every year we’ve added and changed services based on feedback from our guests. We’ve improved our processes to improve the experience for both our guests and our volunteers.
The guests who come to Weld Project Connect include families making tough choices everyday: “Do I get my daughter a haircut, or do I buy food?” “Can we afford flu shots this year, or do I risk having my children banished from daycare if they catch the flu?”
So, here we are in 2018, and I’m still part of the WPC team. Why have I chosen to remain involved for so long? It’s fun! Weld Project Connect brings agencies and organizations together in a collaborative effort to improve the quality of life for our entire community. Neighbors join to help neighbors. Our volunteers become aware of the challenges facing hundreds of people in our community. They learn the truth behind the myths and stereotypes of the homeless and others in need. Civic leaders strategize on possible solutions to address current issues. The event itself creates the momentum to develop long-term solutions.
Weld Project Connect 2018 takes place on Friday, October 19. I love the incredible amount of service we will provide in the Island Grove Events Center from noon until 4:30 that day. We expect to serve more than 1,000 guests. But we won’t be able to do it without you.
Weld Project Connect can only happen with the commitment of hundreds of volunteers. Every guest who comes to the event is matched with a volunteer navigator. Navigators help guests identify the services they wish to access, prioritize by importance and then guide their guest to their priority services. Our navigators stay with their guest until all their needs are met. Training is provided for navigators so they’ll feel confident in their ability to assist each guest.
I’ll be there all day on October 19. You might hear me making announcements over the public address system or you may come to me with a question or problem. I’ll be available to solve problems for our providers and volunteers.
Why should you become a navigator? You can touch the lives of people in need. If you have the heart of a helper, you can truly make a difference. One Day. One Place. One Person at a Time. When you count your own blessings and find you are blessed enough in your own life to volunteer, you will be doubly blessed by the experience.
To volunteer and to learn about upcoming training sessions, click here.