From Youth Leadership United Student to Community Advocate

First of all, I would like to thank United Way, Annie, and Celeste on behalf of the YLU class for giving us the opportunity to become emerging leaders in our community.


We are all here today because we want to make an impact in our community and improve our leadership skills. I can’t even begin to remember when I experienced United Way firsthand. We’ve always been a United Way family, whether it was helping the Hamilton County Human Society with a YAR project, or volunteering with the Readup program, but this program has delved us deeper into the community and help us understand the needs of our community and strategies to address them.


Youth Leadership United has taught us many core aspects of serving our community, whether it was executing a board meeting, giving mock resources to nonprofits, or even coordinating a service project. There were a few activities we did; however, that represented United Way’s focus the most. We all understood giving back to the community was important, but until we were presented numerous nonprofits all with different goals, but only so little to give, it became obvious that organizations need a culmination of donations, but also manpower. This showed us that United Way’s job is so difficult because of the, unfortunately, numerous needs in our city. Later on in YLU, after we had learned more about leadership and the community, we were put in the shoes of those who aren’t as privileged as us. First, we were given a certain number of tokens to dedicate in one category, for example meals a day, or transportation, but as soon as those were taken away, we had to reallocate some resources to stay afloat. Eventually, we had almost nothing, and this opened my eyes the most, because as a product of YLU, we would be helping those people.


We may be leaving our peers today, but because of this program and especially Annie and Celeste, we now will be leaders in areas of the community where we hold a strong passion.


Thank you.

Rahil Thanawala

Class 22