YPL Member, Channing Reames
Supply Chain Analyst II
Genuine Parts Company

YPL: Why did you decide to get involved with United Way of Greater Atlanta’s YPL group?
Channing: I’ve always felt a calling to make an impact in my community by working to help others. Being in United Way’s YPL, they have given me the direction and tools to achieve that calling.

 

YPL: What aspect of United Way’s work in the community are you most passionate about supporting?
Channing: United Way’s campaign to help children in our community is one that I consider myself the most passionate about.

YPL: What is your favorite quote?
Channing: “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” – Henry Ford

#WhyWednesday: Curtis Carter

“It’s important to me to get in, roll up my sleeves and volunteer.”

Curtis Carter is a customer engagement manager for Campus Management Corp. and a Young Professional Leaders (YPL) board member. Curtis found that volunteering through YPL gives him an opportunity to meet new people and serve his community. Today, hear why Curtis donates his time and talent to United Way!

United Way of Greater Atlanta Young Professional Leaders (YPL), is a compassionate, committed group of individuals on a mission to encourage the spirit of philanthropy. YPL members represent some of the top emerging leaders in Greater Atlanta, including Atlanta Business Chronicle’s “40 under 40,” as well as community and civic leaders. Chosen as one of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s five professional clubs for millennials, YPL is the group of choice for community-minded young people. In 2015, 1,335 members donated more than $1.9 million to United Way of Greater Atlanta. Join the YPL movement as they take ownership today of Atlanta’s tomorrow. For more information, contact ypl@unitedwayatlanta.org.

YPL Member, Kaleb Holbrook
Project Manager, Renewable Development, Georgia Power Company

YPL: Why did you decide to get involved with United Way of Greater Atlanta’s YPL group
Kaleb: I decided to get involved with United Way of Greater Atlanta’s YPL group for a few different reasons, but one main reason really comes to mind to me here. Growing up, I had always been involved in extra circular activities and as I transitioned into my professional career, I knew I wanted to stay actively engaged in activities within the community. Young Professional Leaders has provided me with not only leadership opportunities to further my career, but also opportunities to give back to a community to that has provided so much to me.

YPL: What aspect of United Way’s work in the community are you most passionate about supporting?
Kaleb: I have always been and continue to be passionate about civic duties. Through being actively involved with United Way of Greater Atlanta, there are so many opportunities to give back to a community that has provided so many blessings to those within the community. I was fortunate that I had a community that supported me through my dreams growing up. I believe that it is imperative for individuals, particularly children, to be supported and provided with resources so that they too can achieve their goals.

YPL: What is your favorite quote?
Kaleb: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, concerned citizens can change world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
—Margaret Mead

August 10, 2019
Keonda M. Banks

On Saturday, August 10th, 2019, 45 YPL (Young Professional Leaders) members and other United Way volunteers had the opportunity to visit the newest United Way Kids Home Initiative site in South Fulton. On this bright and sunny Saturday, volunteers descended on to the Regency Park Apartments with hundreds of school supplies and treats to support a back-to-school event that can only be described as deliciously generous.

The brunch spread that was provided was nothing short of yummy!  It would delight even the most seasoned of “Sunday-Brunchers” (sans rosé and mimosas) and put bright smiles on the faces of even the littlest of critics.

While the kiddos enjoyed their treats, got face paintings and had fun, volunteers organized the kaleidoscope of brightly colored backpacks and stuffed them with pencils, paper, crayons, folders and more. Parents and adults could visit tables that featured community resources and other local opportunities. At the end of the event 75 students and their families were impacted and left feeling prepared and more excited for the first day of school.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

During the event, YPL members were also given an exclusive tour to visit the Kids Home Initiative office in the complex, where we talked with Tosha Settles, the site’s Community Coordinator, about the program’s successes to date and future opportunities. The space had tables for students to complete homework, a kitchen for snacks and colorful educational posters and art on the wall that completed a great learning environment. Ms. Settles’ positive attitude and enthusiasm for connecting with children was on full display.  When asked what her biggest need for the program was, with a smile, she simply replied “volunteers”.

Through the generous investment of $100K by YPL and our partners at the Night for a Brighter Tomorrow Gala this event was made possible, and is the first of many inspirational, warm and exciting opportunities to get involved.

If you and your network have a love for connecting with youth and being a positive influence in building thriving futures, join YPL members as volunteers to support Kids Home Initiative.

For more information about how to get involved, please connect with us for more information at ypl@unitedwayatlanta.org or visit www.unitedwayatlanta.org/program/kids-home-initiative.

“As the 2019 -2020 Chair of United Way’s Young Professional Leaders, I am honored and humbled to have this opportunity to serve. The opportunity to lead this organization is a testament that Atlanta remains a place where dreams are able to take form.

My passion has always been education equity, making sure all children have the tools they need to be successful regardless of their race/ethnicity, class, or the zip code they live in. Of the nearly 1.3 million children living in our 13-county region, close to half a million live in communities with low or very low child well-being. While there are many groups doing excellent work in our area, not all services and resources leverage the most important drivers of change. Gaps in services and missing resources are barriers to the well-being we all strive for.

Communities can thrive today and reach their greatest future potential only if our children are thriving. That’s why United Way’s focus is on creating a community where “all the children are well.” By ensuring that every child in our community has the opportunity to reach his or her potential, we are building a strong future for Greater Atlanta – a future where every individual and family in the community can thrive. Communities that can say, “All the children are well” have babies born healthy, kids who read proficiently by 3rd grade and teens who graduate from high school ready for college and careers. These are kids that grow up in communities where people are educated, employed, and housed.

As the 2019- 2020 Chair I can promise that our board is devoted to working to improve the living situations for all. We understand the needs of the community and encourage action – whether through contributing time, talent or treasure. No one can do it alone. We want to connect with your community through volunteer service, grow your leadership capacity through professional development opportunities, and leverage your skills to create positive change.

I get excited when I consider the possibilities of how we can continue to improve the community we already enjoy. Great things are in the works beginning this fall and conclude at another unparalleled Night for a Brighter Tomorrow gala on May 2020. I hope you will join us as we celebrate our 10th year.”

– Rashad K. Stallings

#WhyWednesday: Candice Dixon

“United Way has served as the place where I’ve learned to become a more impactful volunteer and community leader.” Today, hear why Candice Dixon, Director of Corporate Partnership Development at Community Health Charities and member of United Way’s Young Professional Leaders, is dedicated to helping communities in Greater Atlanta thrive!

How do you get involved and raise awareness for issues that matter to you? United Way of Greater Atlanta Young Professional Leaders (YPL), is a compassionate, committed group of individuals on a mission to encourage the spirit of philanthropy. YPL members represent some of the top emerging leaders in Greater Atlanta, including Atlanta Business Chronicle’s “40 under 40,” as well as community and civic leaders. Chosen as one of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s five professional clubs for millennials, YPL is the group of choice for community-minded young people. In 2015, 1,335 members donated more than $1.9 million to United Way of Greater Atlanta. Join the YPL movement as they take ownership today of Atlanta’s tomorrow! Learn more about YPL and how you can get involved here.

#WhyWednesday: Sarah Smith

For Sarah Smith, the inspiration to give back came early—and it all started with her Nana. Today, hear why this Young Professional Leaders advisory board member gives, advocates and volunteers with United Way of Greater Atlanta.

Sometimes the inspiration behind community service isn’t a why – it’s a who! Is there someone who has sparked your interest in philanthropy? We’d love to hear all about it. Give your inspiration a shout-out and send in your story to United Way of Greater Atlanta!

YPL Member, Troy Felder
HR Manager, Genuine Parts Company Shared Services

 

YPL: Why did you decide to get involved with United Way of Greater Atlanta’s YPL group

Troy: I have been fortunate enough to lead a few GPC fundraising campaigns for UW. I truly believe that if the financial support and community partnerships are to continue between the two organizations, young professionals must be actively engaged.

 

YPL: What aspect of United Way’s work in the community are you most passionate about supporting?

Troy: Income: financial education and job readiness training specifically. I have toured the City of Refuge 3 or more times and will be going again this week! I was there when the first AutoTech class started in the NAPA training center and hired one of the first graduates in a NAPA retail store. To hear that programs have been added in home security and pest control are exciting and gratifying!!

 

YPL: What is your favorite quote?

Troy: “True leaders are ladder builders; they’re not ladder climbers. The ladder builder is always saying, “What can I do to help you? How would I make you successful? If you make your team successful, your team’s going to make you successful” – David L. Brewer III

I heard John Hope Bryant quote Mr. Brewer at the annual HOPE Global Forum, here in Atlanta. #silverrights

Group is more than 1,600 members strong and growing

By Bradley Roberts

There’s a group of young adults working in the Atlanta area with a shared vision to make an impact in the lives of children in Greater Atlanta’s 13-county region.

The Young Professional Leaders affinity group is made up of people 40 and under. It’s a step-up from the LINC group, which is available to people age 22-30. Members of YPL give $500 or more a year to United Way of Greater Atlanta.

“This is a group of people that have varying backgrounds, and they come from different places around the world, but they come together hoping to make an impact by focusing on the Kids Home Initiative,” says Lauren Rock, director of Young Professional Engagement at United Way. “We have various levels of professionals—you see vice presidents and senior managers and a lot of different backgrounds. The big thing, though, is that you have people that want to talk about the issues.”

YPL has adopted the Kids Home Initiative as its primary focus. With Kids Home, children become the focus behind finding a solution to combat Greater Atlanta’s complex issues. Kids Home is a comprehensive solution helping children avoid or escape homelessness by assisting children and families have secure and successful futures. They do it by helping kids stay in school.

Through Kids Home, Rock can introduce YPL members to the Child Well-Being Agenda of United Way of Greater Atlanta.

United Way uses 14 different data-driven child, community and family measures to determine an overall “Child Well-Being” score for each zip code in our 13-county region. This helps United Way leverage your donations in order to maximize the impact and reverse the implications of the Child Well-Being score. By using the child as the lens, United Way can then identify the big picture needs of the community.

Rock says YPL has chosen “basic needs and homelessness as an umbrella” to work under. It’s an easy concept to introduce, she says. The issue is one you can see across the city, and it’s something members can get behind.

“You know that people have basic needs like having clothes, something to eat and a place to rest at night,” Rock said. “The Kids Home [relationship] came out of what most identifies with this group.”

That collective decision to focus on the Kids Home Initiative comes from the YPL board, which is the governing body of the group that is more than 1,600 members strong and continually growing.

Many of those members inquire online or through meetings or volunteer events at their office.

There are some great benefits of joining YPL.

The affinity group takes Greater Atlanta, and it gives you a smaller community of people that you’re on the same level with. Members can be open and clear with one another.

YPL meets regularly with potential members, and the members of the board sometimes assist in recruiting.

The group has several core events that happen each year, Rock says. There is the HoliDAY of Service —on Dec. 1, more than 200 volunteers at nine different sites across the Greater Atlanta Region made a difference in the lives of 300 children and families—personal and professional development events, spring mentoring mixer, which is a partnership with the Tocqueville Society, SaturDAY of Service and The Night for a Brighter Tomorrow Gala.

The YPL Gala will be May 3 at 8 p.m. on the Roof at Ponce City Market.

Rock says funds raised at the Gala goes to support Kids Home directly.

YPL has the benefit of having enough events geared around a common issue together, which makes it appealing to members. There’s an added benefit of networking and getting to know people across many different industries who have similar philosophies and passions as you.

“There are a lot of young professional groups in Atlanta, but what makes us unique is that we’ve got an umbrella view of the city and the city’s organizations,” Rock said. “We have the opportunity to connect you to people in various industries that you may not be able to otherwise.”

To learn more about YPL, click here.

YPL Member, Jessica Sturm
Secondary Special Education Lead
City Schools of Decatur

 

YPL: Why did you decide to get involved with United Way of Greater Atlanta’s YPL group

Jessica: In September, I researched different non-profit organizations in the Atlanta area where I could volunteer and decided to join United Way. After a couple of volunteer opportunities, I decided I wanted to become more involved in the organization. Young Professional Leaders (YPL) group seemed like a perfect fit! I felt this group was a place I could engage with others who are also trying to make a difference, as we are all professionals with a passion for community service. Joining the YPL Gala Committee has been such an amazing experience. The first time I came to a meeting, I felt so energized because there were people sitting around the table I had a lot in common with and all with the same goal – to help the kids! As I continue to become more involved in YPL, I am making new friends and meeting more and more amazing individuals in the Atlanta area who are passionate, strong-willed, and truly want to make this world a better place.

 

YPL: What aspect of United Way’s work in the community are you most passionate about supporting?

Jessica: YPL supports Kids Home Initiative and as an educator, this is very close to my heart. I have taught and worked with students who are currently homeless or who were homeless at one point in their life. Homelessness impacts their lives tremendously. It is amazing how the resources many of us take for granted can change a kid’s life and allow them to be and feel successful in school. I am very passionate about this project and all the fundraising we are doing at YPL to assist with stability and resources for the whole family. Children are our future and all children deserve a stable home-life.

 

YPL: What is your favorite quote?

Jessica: “Gratitude reciprocates.”