LINC volunteers and members of the Harry & Rose Samson Family JCC "Chaverim" program
September 6, 2019
At United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County, we love connecting people with unique opportunities to give back to their community.
In Hebrew, the word “chaverim” means “friends,” and friendship was the theme at a recent LINC event.
LINC (Lead. Impact. Network. Change.) is a group of young professionals who are passionate about giving back to their community with United Way. Through monthly events that combine volunteerism and networking, LINC members get to give back in unique ways.
Alli Andrews is the events coordinator at the Harry & Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center (JCC) in Whitefish Bay and a member of the LINC committee. Last month, it was Alli’s turn to come up with their monthly event, and she knew she wanted to connect the group with the JCC.
“Our Chaverim group, which does social engagement programming for adults with different abilities, has always wanted to attend The Travelling Food Truck Tour in Thiensville” said Alli. “But it was always a challenge because of how much staff and volunteer support it would require.”
Enter LINC. On a beautiful Summer evening, volunteers and Chaverim participants met at the event, which brings a variety of food trucks, live music, and other entertainment to Thiensivlle’s Village Park. Volunteers paired up one-on-one with Chaverim participants and went together to pick out what they wanted to eat.
“A lot of our Chaverim participants live in group homes with other adults with different abilities and don’t have as many everyday choices,” said Sarah McCutcheon, special needs coordinator at the JCC. “with the volunteers by their side, they were empowered to choose what they wanted to eat, where they wanted to sit, and how they wanted to spend their time...it was an amazing experience”
Last year, volunteers contributed more than 43,000 hours of service through United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County.
It was a busy night at the event, and some Chaverim participants were nervous when they arrived. But after meeting with the volunteers, everyone started to relax and have fun.
“This experience helped our participants’ social skills, communication skills, got them out in the community, doing something everyone should have the opportunity to do,” said Sarah. “They got to put into practice real-world skills that we work on in Chaverim, like meeting new people and exchanging money.”
LINC volunteers had a blast hanging out with Chaverim participants. “It was amazing to see Chaverim participants working on their personal skills and being so open to sharing stories with me,” said Jenna Pepitone, LINC volunteer and United Way staff member. “I’m excited to volunteer again!”
“An experience like going to a food truck night may not seem like a big deal for most of us,” said Alli. “But it can make a huge difference in the lives of people with different abilities.”
Learn more about United Way LINC and how you can get involved.