Millennial volunteerism sought

By SARALYN NORKUS saralyn.norkus@clevelandbanner.com
Posted 3/16/17

Having realized that a particular generation has yet to find ways to plug into the community and area volunteer efforts, the United Way of the Ocoee Region began to formulate a plan.

“There …

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Millennial volunteerism sought

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Having realized that a particular generation has yet to find ways to plug into the community and area volunteer efforts, the United Way of the Ocoee Region began to formulate a plan.

“There are a lot of millennials who have great hearts and care about people, but who just don’t know about what they can do in the community,” said James Vassell, Volunteer engagement coordinator.

“The United Way has a very strong number of people over the age of 40 involved, but we don’t necessarily have many in their 30s and 20s.”

The solution to this is linc.

What is linc? Linc stands for “lead, impact, network and change,” and will help to connect its members with the needs of numerous nonprofit organizations. According to Vassell, it is a way for young, working professionals ages 21 to 39 to get plugged in through unique volunteer events and worthy causes that will help elevate the community, connections and the social calendar.

“When you hear the term millennials, you don’t necessarily hear positive things about them, but we want to change that stereotype. We all have the same goal, we’re willing to get our hands dirty and have a good time in the process,” Vassell said.

“A lot of times, young professionals are really focused on pursuing their own personal goals, developing their futures and trying to get somewhere higher, so you’ll see many who are networking. Really and truly, I think in Cleveland and Bradley County everyone does enough networking. We’re trying to get people to not just focus on themselves, but to focus on others around them so that we are no longer just self-motivated and self-driven, we’re community-motivated and community-driven.”

Linc is holding its first meeting on Friday at the Bald Headed Bistro from 5 to 6 p.m., a St. Patty’s Day Bash that is serving as an informal meet and greet.

“We’re trying to have as much fun as possible, make friends, but have a purpose behind those friendships as well, not just for self-serving, but to serve others,” Vassell commented.

“We’re not just looking for young professionals who run companies — we’re looking for goodhearted people who are teachers, firefighters, garbagemen, or roofers. I want ‘The Avengers” coming in. My goal is to put together a team that is not just one demographic of people. We really want diversity, so if you have a job and feel blessed, come be a blessing and teach us what we don’t know.”

Linc is already planning a Cinco de Mayo bash and is working on projects to benefit organizations like Impact Cleveland, The Refuge, The HOPE Center and Department of Child Services.

“We will have different focuses throughout the year,” Vassell explained.

More information about linc can be found on Facebook by searching “Linc Ocoee.”

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