National Volunteer Week Honors Our United Efforts for a Better Broward

Celebrated from April 21 to 27 this year, National Volunteer Week spotlights inspiring, everyday people whose invaluable acts of kindness and generosity are improving our community and our world.

This week is the perfect opportunity for us to say thank you to the hundreds of volunteers at United Way of Broward County — plus it promotes new ways for all individuals to get united, tackle complex challenges, recognize the personal fulfillment that comes with volunteerism, and be a collective force in building a stronger, healthier community for every person who lives here.

One example of our impact in building better lives is through our Broward Youth Coalition (BYC) — a group of young leaders focused on becoming advocates for the prevention of substance abuse and the promotion of mental health promotion across Broward.

The objective of BYC is to unite current clubs in middle schools and high schools and then encourage peer support for healthy decisions and behaviors. Because of BYC, participating students are better equipped to remain drug-free, navigate through developmental transitions, and become prepared and confident for college and the future.

Among the many benefits of being a part of BYC are participating in meaningful volunteer opportunities, networking with community leaders, and developing personal and professional skills for life-long well-being.

“I always have been in being a part of social change, and when I first heard about BYC at my school, I was interested in learning more about it. I attended an excellent webinar about the impact of the opioid crisis on our community, and I immediately wanted to become involved in BYC,” says Ava Havidic, a senior at Millennium 6-12 Collegiate Academy and current president of BYC.

“I began BYC when I was a freshman in high school, and I have been engaged the entire time. Being connected to BYC has been powerful in so many ways — education, social support, personal development, and mindfulness about mental health. Because of my experience with BYC, I understand how people experience different socio-economic circumstances, how to build and advocate for equity for under-served people and overlooked communities, how to identify warning signs in people’s mental health, how to provide better communication and care, and how to prioritize my own mental health.

“At school, we learn in a general way about substance use prevention — in BYC, we dive into the specific actions how can promote better care for ourselves and the people around us. I have been active in many school clubs, but BYC is unmatched in how it connects like-minded students, instills confidence and empowers its members. We really have a unique culture of care, empathy, trust and action. Plus hundreds of BYC students gather throughout the year at great events like the Youth Leadership Institute and Alternative Spring Break. Our work together is redefining community service.”

Ava’s experience illustrates why being a volunteer has many personal rewards. Giving back to the community and helping others makes us feel empowered, goal-driven and fulfilled. Plus being a volunteer brings new skills and insights, increases social interaction, boosts self-esteem and much more.

In addition to young people like Ava who are agents of change, our United Way provides ample opportunities for people of all ages and all backgrounds to give your time, talent and voice in making a difference in Broward County.

How can you support National Volunteer Week?

  • Get involved — find various ways in which you can show your support by clicking here
  • Spread the word — be a part of the movement to call on more volunteers by using the hashtags hashtag #LiveUnitedBroward on your social posts
  • Say thank you — send your personal appreciation to volunteers about their impact through our LOVE United