Young Leaders Council focuses on helping children, familiesWritten by Duane Ramsey | | email@example.com
United Way Young Leaders Council gives business professionals the opportunity to build leadership skills as they serve the community.
The council was restarted last year with a new direction after existing in Toledo for 15 years, according to Milva Valenzuela Wagner, director of major gifts at United Way.
“The council is open to anyone who wants to enhance their leadership skills and develop a better understanding of how the organization serves the community,” Wagner said. “It has become a very active group with different levels of involvement and service projects.”
Young Leaders Council is open to professionals from companies in the leadership giver level contributing $100,000 or more to United Way. There is a fast-track program for individuals or couples who contribute $1,000 over three years.
The group meets on the second Thursday of the month at 11:45 a.m., with the next meeting Sept. 11. Members can attend in person or participate by conference call.
The council has expanded its focus beyond its original literacy program and has adopted a goal of getting more children and families involved.
Elizabeth Foley, a legal counsel for HCR Manor Care in Toledo, said “it seemed like a good time to get involved because the needs are greater than ever in this economy.”
Foley has seen the good United Way does while serving on the boards of several of its affiliated agencies.
“I have been exposed to several good organizations and have a greater understanding of programs available through the United Way,” Foley said. “The most rewarding part is working with other people on the committees and events.”
The council hosts a spring executive networking session that brings together emerging leaders and top level executives.
The summer family philanthropy day encourages families to work together on a service project. This year, council volunteers helped conduct the annual lawn games for Josina Lott, an organization that serves individuals with mental and developmental disabilities.
Steve Detmer, an architect for Owens Corning in Toledo, had always contributed to United Way but decided to get involved in helping people who benefit from its services.
“We got the whole family involved in helping others in the community so the children learn the significance of becoming involved. It was a positive family experience,” Detmer said.
The council plans to install a Born Learning Trail at Woodsdale Park near the South Toledo YMCA this fall. Born Learning Trails are painted with signs and games to promote positive interaction with nature for children and families.
The council treated children from disadvantaged families to an evening at the Toledo Zoo with a tour of the holiday lights, pizza party, crafts and interacting with zoo animals in 2007. This year’s holiday carnival is scheduled for Dec. 4, with a goal of increasing the number of children attending.
Gordon MacRitchie, who recently joined the United Way staff as a major gift associate, is coordinating the Young Leaders Council.