The lakecity’s new United Way regional representative Melinda Mitchell was thoroughly impressed this summer with the work ethic shown by the Storm U17 Girls rep soccer team.
Without any expectations of reward, Mitchell says the team members literally re-landscaped a section of the Boys and Girls Club front lot. She says they removed all of the stones and rocks and weeds from the area, laid down landscape fabric and then put back the cleaned stones and rock.
They had help from Matt Neufeld and Steppit Hendrickson as well as her husband Greg, but said she couldn’t believe how hard the girls worked.
“They were excited to do something for the kids,” Mitchell says.
She notes people can help the United Way to help communities through their donations of cash but also through in-kind contributions such as the work the Storm team did for the Boys and Girls Club on the United Way’s Day of Caring in August.
Mitchell, who is well-known in the community for her many years working in the bakery at Save-On-Foods in Williams Lake, took over as the Cariboo representative for the United Way Thompson Nicola Cariboo branch in June from Melissa Newberry.
Newberry left the position to take over as executive director of Big Brothers and Sisters from Lorraine Levitt who has moved to Kamloops with her teacher husband, Mike, to be closer to their children.
United Way is a national movement consisting of a national office in Ottawa and more than 100 local United Ways serving communities across Canada.
The United Way’s mission is to improve lives and build community by engaging individuals and mobilizing collective action.
Mitchell says that in mid-life, with her children grown, she was looking for a change her years of working and living in Williams Lake have helped to prepare her for her new role in meeting the goals of the United Way in building stronger communities.
The United Way mission statement points out that the organization is not just about fundraising.
“We are a beacon for social change,” the statement says.
“We don’t just scratch the surface of social issues by using band-aid solutions. We inspire people to come together to make a lasting difference in our communities. We dig deeper to identify the underlying root causes of social issues and we work together with community partners to generate long-term, sustainable solutions that positively impact the health and well-being, education and financial stability of all members of our communities.
“We specialize in bringing together all sectors of a community including individuals, businesses, organizations and government in pursuit of a common goal — to create opportunities for people to live better lives. We monitor and measure the impact of both short and long-term solutions to ensure they are affecting social change that leads to stronger families and more vibrant neighbourhoods.”