What’s Your Why? Denise’s is Building Bonds Through ReadUP

In this series, What’s Your Why, United Way is calling on its supporters to share what volunteering means for them and why they feel passionately about a cause in our community. This month we feature United Way of Central Indiana employee Denise Reeves.


Denise Reeves believes we can all play a role in improving the lives of children in our community. “I just don’t like kids feeling like there is no hope for a better tomorrow,” she said. She thinks there are ways we can all make a difference for the next generation through volunteerism.


She recently chatted with us about her passion for helping children and why she continues to support United Way as not only an employee, but a donor and volunteer as well. Her story involves a common theme in philanthropy: paying it forward. Read on to learn how and why Denise lives out this time-honored expression.


What do you enjoy about working for United Way?

I like our commitment to community, that’s the main reason I came to work here. We’re about finding the best way to use resources and we deliver on what we say we will do. I feel involved and connected to the community, and I can see the work we do is beneficial.


Why do you choose to give to United Way?

I want to be a part of the betterment of our community. United Way helps with the struggles and strife that our everyday citizens may be experiencing. I feel that it makes for a better environment and community; ultimately a better world.


I give for a personal reason as well. United Way helped me with a personal issue and because of that I feel an even deeper connection to its mission and cause. I have a first-person experience and know the good that comes out of our work. I definitely agree with the idea of paying it forward.


What is your favorite way to volunteer through United Way?

I loved volunteering through ReadUP! Each week, I spent 30 minutes reading with two young boys. I taught them why reading is so important and saw their reading skills improve. We built a great bond and I could see them develop their trust in me as time went on. That one-on-one time and stability is very important to kids, it’s not a revolving door.


How does ReadUP make a difference?

It made those children feel that somebody does care and built up their self-worth. I could see their reading improving, especially since ReadUP monitors their growth and improvements. I provided some sense of hope to these kids who have their own struggles, even though reading is just one part of it. I felt as if I made a difference.


Related: 5 Reasons ReadUP is the Perfect Volunteer Opportunity for You! 


Why are you so passionate about helping children?

I feel like things can be much harder on children than the parents and has a great impact on their outlook on what adulthood can be and will be. I just don’t like kids feeling like there is no hope for a better tomorrow.


Denise knows how a helping hand can make a lasting difference in someone’s life. If you’re interested in being that helping hand for a child struggling to read, consider becoming a ReadUP volunteer. With more than 40 locations spanning nearly 20 school districts in six counties, there’s bound to be a school close to home or work. If you’re ready to raise your hand and help students get on track – and stay on track – with grade-level literacy, sign up to be a ReadUP volunteer here.


Read other What’s Your Why features.


If you are a dedicated United Way volunteer and are interested in being spotlighted for this special feature, fill out the form below and we will be in touch!

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