Making A Difference
United Way young professionals group provides a crucial LINC to a better Houston
The face of the nation’s workplace is fast-changing, reflecting a new generation that will soon outnumber baby boomers. These early-career professionals, born between 1980 and 2000, are expected to dominate the workforce by 2020. In the next decade, they will lead our businesses and communities.
These early-career individuals are passionate about helping young people succeed in school and lifting up those who have fallen on hard times.
What United Way of Greater Houston has learned about these early-career individuals is that they are concerned about the communities in which they live and work. And, they are passionate about the same issues as the United Way − helping young people succeed in school and lifting up those who have fallen on hard times.
United Way LINC (Lead, Impact, Network, Change) is a new group engaging early-career professionals, 30 and under, in pursuing those passions in a way that helps them grow as people and professionals. United Way LINC members participate in volunteer projects that serve our community, get exclusive opportunities to hear from some of the most respected leaders in our area about important community issues, and meet and network with their peers.
In focus groups, young professionals said they wanted a variety of engagement opportunities that focus on volunteering, along with a social component. They said they want to use their skills and share their knowledge with others while volunteering, and that they want to see the impact they are making. They also asked for opportunities to meet and learn from community and business leaders.
First volunteer project
LINC members took on their first volunteer project in September, building and painting Tiny Libraries to support United Way’s goal to improve academic success. Members also donated books to stock the Tiny Libraries, which will resemble large birdhouses and will be placed in lower-income neighborhoods to provide children with easy access to free books in their neighborhoods. There are 13 book age-appropriate books for every one child in middle-class neighborhoods. The corresponding ratio is one book for every 300 children in lower-income neighborhoods.
“United Way LINC is our way of reaching out this important generation,” said United Way LINC senior relationship manager Nicole Ketchum.
With several volunteer projects coming up, United Way LINC members will gain a greater understanding of the needs in our community and how their efforts help to address those needs. They will build a garden and a park at United Way Bright Beginnings child care center, where children from lower-income families get the foundation they need to start school.
They will also work with students to ignite excitement about math and science and assemble hurricane kits for homebound seniors. Upcoming United Way LINC events also host a speaker lineup that includes a CEO, a Houston restaurateur and Food Network Star, an Olympian and the founder of Houston’s own Saint Arnold Brewing Company.
“United Way LINC is our way of reaching out this important generation,” said United Way LINC senior relationship manager Nicole Ketchum. “We hope that as they see, feel and participate in the work of the United Way, they will be inspired to join us in making long-lasting, positive change in our community.”
Anyone 30 and under is invited to come to an event and check out United Way LINC. United Way hopes the LINC experience will compel those interested to make a commitment of $250 or more to support the nonprofit’s work.