As we celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. day this year, I felt Dr. King’s spirit more fervently than I had in years’ past. Maybe it was because of our current social and political climate, or maybe it was the countless posts on my Instagram feed reminding me of his words of wisdom. And of the quotes that stood out, “Life’s most urgent question is: What are you doing for others?”
We live in a community that’s thriving, with exciting things on the horizon. According to IndyHub’s recent study, “Millennial Voices: The 2017 Indy Report,” 90% of young professionals surveyed said that Indy is a great place to live, work and play. And, almost all said they believed in their power to influence change in our city. Which is good because, even though our community has promise and our people have passion, we are facing tough issues and complex problems.
Today, more than 200,000 families in Central Indiana are living in or one step away from poverty.
Neighbors are struggling to get the tools necessary for better jobs, higher wages and a solid financial foundation.
For those fighting substance use disorders or suffering from mental illness, access is limited to the care, resources and treatment they need.
On Thursday, June 14, IndyHub hosts IndyVolved 13 – a yearly convening of over 100 non-profit and civic organizations offering ways 20 and 30-somethings can deepen their engagement with our community. This year, United Way of Central Indiana is proud to offer our support as a sponsor of IndyVolved 13 and present the Official IndyVolved 13 After Party.
At United Way we are more than fundraisers. We are the hand raisers and the game changers. Together we fight for the education, financial stability, health and basic needs of every person in our community. No matter the obstacles; no matter the odds. We surround a community’s most critical problems and we fight.
We know that Indy Millennials like to support the community through volunteer opportunities, which is why IndyVolved helps United Way connect our work with the next generation. United Way LINC, part of United Way’s national network of 22-30-year-olds, builds a yearly calendar of hands-on events, called “philanthro-parties,” – volunteer events with a social twist – a perfect combination of good deeds and a good time.
Volunteering can provide an experience and education like no other. According to the 2016 Millennial Impact Report, it is critical for our generation to clearly connect volunteering – or any social action – with making a real difference. Sure, it’s fun to volunteer for social reasons, but it’s also important to know that the time and effort given can have greater impact. Nationally, volunteering with United Way has grown 65% between 2012-2017, including among Millennials who never before have had so many ways to engage in issues that affect us most.
Why throw our support behind an After Party? Other than the obvious “it’ll be a great time,” LINC members know that to become educated on the complex problems of our community and get involved with creating solutions for our neighbors – we must start by building relationships. What better way to connect with old friends and meet new ones than an After Party? Oh, and there will be drinks, music and giveaways. So, who can say no to that?
We can all use this as opportunity to be inspired in ways that lead us closer to Dr. King’s question, “What are we doing for others?” But, don’t just take our word for it. At IndyVolved 13 and the Official After Party, meet our staff, volunteers and young professionals involved with our membership groups, United Way LINC and Emerging Leaders. Visit us on the steps of the Indianapolis Public Library or say “hi” at the After Party.
Because we need more hand raisers and game changers, like you.
About the Author: Ashleigh Resetarits joined the marketing and communications team at United Way of Central Indiana in October 2016. She manages United Way LINC in Indy, finding ways to connect young professionals with the hands-on work of United Way. In May you’ll find her at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the remainder at the year she’ll be talking about May at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.