United Way Days of Caring marks 25 years

STUDENTS FROM THE Champlain Valley Christian School helped fix bikes and prepare them for donation during this year’s Days of Caring event. Pictured here with Timothy Mathewson, founder and director of the Green Mountain Foster Bikes program (and owner of Little City Cycles).

ADDISON COUNTY — At United Way, volunteering is a way of life. United Way of Addison County (UWAC) connects people to volunteer opportunities all year long, but for two days in September, they bring it to the next level.
Days of Caring is an annual event where UWAC matches hundreds of volunteers with dozens of nonprofits for two days of hard work, laughter, and making change in our community. This year marked the 25th anniversary of Days of Caring in Addison County!
On Sept. 19 and Sept. 21, 491 volunteers of all ages worked on 36 different projects across Addison County.
“The variety of projects was vast but the volunteers tackled them all with enthusiasm and kindness,” said UWAC Volunteer & Outreach Coordinator, Linnea Oosterman, who organized this year’s Days of Caring event. College students’ tasks included everything from painting and gardening, cleaning glass at a hockey rink, rehabbing a Little League infield and removing cattails from a pond.
High schoolers painted, landscaped, winterized and gleaned apples. Adults baked, painted, landscaped, moved furniture, hung clothing, cleaned and more. Even the elementary school kids contributed by fixing foster bikes and painting and distributing “kindness rocks” posters throughout Vergennes and Middlebury.
The impact of the event spans all over the county. Oosterman explained that when all was said and done, an estimated 2,209 volunteer hours were logged, translating to an impressive “value add” of $46,554 to area non-profits.
Oosterman thoroughly enjoyed her first experience organizing Days of Caring, exclaiming, “I love that this is something volunteers of all ages can participate in!” 
She wasn’t the only one who was pleased with the outcome. Here are some examples of gracious comments by recipients of the United Way volunteers’ good deeds:
• “The help we received from the Middlebury Lacrosse team was wonderful. The guys were great to work with and they had lots of energy. We have many older folks in our library community who appreciate the energy these younger folks have! It helps our community so much to have this work day.”
Wendy McIntosh, Librarian, Lincoln Library
• “I appreciate all that you’re doing in this community. I’m grateful that working together we could beautify the property for the enjoyment of staff, families, and the community.”
 David Mandel, Executive Director, Mary Johnson Children’s Center
• “Thanks for all your work and organization involved in getting us matched up with  the Men’s College Tennis team for Saturday’s United Way Day of Caring. It was a huge success. Wonderful student athletes and great coaches. Our participants and staff were over the top happy and excited.”
 Ken Schoen, Activities Coordinator, Project Independence, Elderly Services Inc.
“Dear Coach Lewis and the student athletes: Our heartfelt thanks again for all your efforts yesterday. It has made an incredible difference in both our ability to be ready to make ice in a week or so and also in making significant progress on our expansion project.”
Rick Marshall, Manager, Memorial Sports Center
“To the great folks at United Way: Thank you for organizing and including Vergennes Area Little League as part of your Days of Caring effort. The Midd Men’s Hockey Team worked their tails off and our Legion field looks better than it has in years! We are so appreciative. Thanks for all you do for Addison County!”
 Kelsey Bradford, President, Vergennes Area Youth League
United Way would like to thank the following business sponsors of Days of Caring 2019:
BJ’s Farm Supply, Bourdon Insurance Agency, Bristol Financial Services, Cassella Waste Management, Conner & Buck Builders, Co-operative Insurance, Countryside Carpet and Paint, Green Mountain Electromagnetics, Jackmans, INC., Kennedy Brothers, INC., Maple Landmark, Monument Farms, Vermont Family Forests, WOKO and Woodware.
It’s not too early to sign up to join the Days of Caring movement for next year! It will be on September 17 and 19, 2020. Visit to explore opportunities throughout the year and find the perfect match for your skills, interests and time.

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