Over the past 20 years, Evelyn Karmiris Daley says one of the most rewarding things she’s seen throughout her involvement with United Way is the organization’s unique ability to be a part of someone’s life – even if they may not know it quite yet. “Ask 10 people and I bet that if they haven’t themselves accessed a United Way service, a loved one or family member has.”
First volunteering with the Oxford-area United Way, Evelyn – who’s also an OSSTF District 11 member – recognizes that no matter what region she lives and works in, the need for social support is always there. This awareness underpins her dedication and in 2016, Evelyn served as the Labour Chair and vice-chair for the annual United Way London & Middlesex community campaign. And though she’d been socially active for decades, being that involved with the organization was still eye-opening.
Looking back on her past year of executive volunteerism, Evelyn recalls a particular United Way cheque presentation that really touched her heart:
“Years ago,” Evelyn explains, “I was doing a campaign presentation and asked a Big Brothers Big Sisters mentee to share her story with our group. She had a tough home life, and clearly felt so alone in the world – you could feel the compassion and care for her in the room, and the understanding of just how important United Way is since they fund BBBS. Jump ahead to 2016, I’ve joined CAMI’s campaign fundraising announcement where one of their staff was speaking about how United Way has impacted her life. Wouldn’t you know it, it was the mentor of the young girl who once shared her story all that time back! That CAMI employee talked about how the teen she had been a Big Sister for is now healthy, doing well and a mom of two. It was just incredible to hear about that kind of success, and know it’s in part due to the social supports available that this woman was able to thrive.”
“What I’ve learned is that no matter the community, there is a need for United Way.”