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Scott Emerson

President & CEO of United Way of Southern Nevada

Special to DAVID Magazine

How strong is your Vegas Strong? You can show the whole community during United Way of Southern Nevada’s Day of Caring on October 5, 2018. Over 2,000 volunteers will come together to put their passions and skills to work during this one-day volunteering event, which encourages residents to get out and change lives in their communities. We talked with Scott Emerson, President & CEO of United Way of Southern Nevada, to share how much this day means to Southern Nevada.

What is Day of Caring?

Day of Caring is Southern Nevada’s largest volunteer event. In one day, 2,000 volunteers will come together to complete 250 projects at 85 nonprofit organizations and schools throughout Southern Nevada. This is the third year of Day of Caring, and each year it grows by leaps and bounds. The first year, we only planned for 500 volunteers. Now, we’re expecting four times that amount to join us and make a difference.

Why is this year’s Day of Caring so important?

The community’s tradition of Day of Caring is taking on a special meaning this year. The date of October 5 was set more than a year ago, but no one could have predicted the events of 1 October. Volunteers now have a greater reason to come together, with Day of Caring serving as the focal point of a week of events in remembrance of those lost and affected and offering the opportunity to turn powerful emotions into action. It will serve as a day of healing, allowing people to engage and focus those emotions into something positive.

What does Day of Caring mean for the community?

Day of Caring has become a sign of hope for Southern Nevada. It is incredible to see so many Nevadans coming together to solve one of the toughest problems many organizations face, which is having the time and manpower to complete these projects. Volunteers who participate in Day of Caring are providing the community support that many nonprofit organizations and schools depend on, helping projects get finished that otherwise might not have been completed. For the thousands of individuals that visit these organizations each year for help, the visual reminder of the community’s support is more encouragement to succeed. Volunteers on Day of Caring are bringing octane to the efforts of these agencies and schools and supporting our entire community for years to come.

Any specific examples?

Green Our Planet, an agency that has participated since the first year of Day of Caring, spreads out across Southern Nevada to plant gardens in elementary schools to beautify campuses and create outdoor learning opportunities. Normally, these gardens take a full semester to complete, but Day of Caring volunteers finish multiple gardens in just one day. Students return to school after the weekend, ready to learn in their new school garden.

Leaders in Training, a United Way funded partner, uses Day of Caring to prepare their office space for students. Last year’s volunteers assembled new furniture purchased with Day of Caring funding to fill the space, making it a comfortable place for students to finish homework, meet with fellow program participants and prepare for high school graduation.

Is there anything new this year?

While past years have focused on the Southern Nevada community, this year’s Day of Caring is going a step further. We at United Way are partnering with Nevada Volunteers to take Day of Caring statewide, combining forces to promote volunteering across Nevada. By bringing the already-familiar event to communities throughout the state, Nevada Volunteers aims to have a project in every Nevada county.

What can volunteers expect on Day of Caring?

Although Day of Caring’s goal is to make a positive impact in the community, it is also meant to be a fun event for the volunteers. Volunteers in Las Vegas and Reno will kick off the excitement of a day of volunteering and changing lives with a breakfast celebration. Speakers will inspire and energize volunteers before sending them out into their communities to make a difference.

Which organizations are participating?

With 85 nonprofit agencies and schools signed up to participate, there will be plenty of opportunities for volunteers to get involved. Most Nevada residents will already be familiar with the organizations participating, including Opportunity Village, Three Square, Project 150, and many more agencies and schools addressing every community need.

What types of projects are there?

Projects range from family-friendly painting and kit packing to complex building and landscaping. Volunteers of all ages, skill sets, and backgrounds can choose a half-day or full-day project with friends, family, or co-workers, and use the day as a chance to bond and give back across the state.

How do I sign up?

To learn more about Day of Caring or to sign up to participate, please visit uwsn.org/caring.

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