Find Your Local United Way


Julie Roehrig

By Julie Roehrig

Make the Most of National Volunteer Week with United Way

Fri, April 28, 2017


As National Volunteer Week comes to a close, I’m reminded of a volunteer’s story from the past year that has stuck with me.

When Hal Rosenthal made his way into the Vare-Washington school auditorium, memories buried for more than 70 years suddenly flooded back.

As he spent most of the morning with his wife filling carts with teacher toolkits that contained everything from tissue boxes to notebooks, he looked around at the familiar auditorium where he spent years as a student and reflected.

“In most professions you get instant feedback about whether or not you did the job right,” he shared. “But teachers don’t always get to see the results of the seeds they’ve planted and watered. That’s why I appreciate the opportunity to continue to help in any way we can.”

On this day in September, Hal had joined more than 100 other corporate and community volunteers to help students get the school year started on the right track, as part of United Way’s Day of Caring event. Inside the school, volunteers built reading corners, outfitted classrooms with new supplies, and hung college pendants throughout the hallways to remind students of the places they can go beyond school walls. Outside the building, volunteers beautified the exterior with new flowers, a stone walking path and a fresh coat of paint on the fence to create a welcoming environment for the school community.

It was a day full of passion and excitement where people like Hal and volunteers from throughout the region joined hands to make a difference, and it continues to inspire me well beyond the hours we spent there. We all have time and talent we can contribute. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “Everybody can be great. Because anybody can serve.”

As we celebrate National Volunteer Week, it’s important to know that 365 days a year, United Way mobilizes volunteers in local communities to help change lives and strengthen communities. And there are opportunities for everyone!

I encourage you to join us this week and find a volunteer opportunity that’s a perfect match for you. Join us on social media @PhillySJUnited and share your story using #NVW and #momentsofservice.