United Way gives back to those who gave their time

By GRACE GAGNON

CORRESPONDENT

United Way gives back to volunteers at Blues game

For 25 years, the United Way of West Central Connecticut has assembled hundreds of volunteers to give back to their community, and now the nonprofit is giving back to those volunteers.

On May 20, over 600 volunteers contributed their time and energy to enhance local organizations within the community during the annual Day of Caring. In honor of the 25th Anniversary of Day of Caring, United Way said thank you to this year’s volunteers at a Bristol Blues game sponsored by Webster Bank Wednesday, June 22.

“I could not believe how many volunteers we had this year. To be able to say thank you to them is special,” said Donna Osuch, president and CPO of United Way of West Central Connecticut.

Osuch has instilled the importance of living united in not only her volunteers, but also in her children.

“Living United means to help the community without asking for anything in return,” said Christopher Osuch, who is entering eighth grade at Chippens Hill Middle School.

Christopher won the chance to throw in the first pitch at the game, and said he is excited to volunteer with Day of Caring when he is eligible.

Some have been volunteering for Day of Caring since the first year of the event.

Jena Doolittle, a board member of United Way, said she began volunteering 25 years ago with Cigna.

“Doing it for this long and now being on the board, I understand what it means and the community impact,” said Doolittle.

Local organizations like the New England Carousel Museum are not only positively impacted by the labor that Day of Caring volunteers put in, but also by the relationships they build year-to-year.

She added how the landscaping that volunteers do every year helps them get ready for spring.

“It isn’t just that they come and help us, many people come [to the museum] for the first time, develop a relationship with us, and then come back,” said Louise DeMars, executive director of the Carousel Museum .

During the Day of Caring celebration, volunteers and organizations spent the evening eating ice cream, watching the game and getting to know each other.

Osuch said doing something to say thank you as an organization felt good.

“When we can connect in ways that are meaningful it creates a balance,” said Osuch.United Way 2 United Way 3