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    John McMillin: Giving back to your community is important

    By John McMillin -

    Giving back to your community is important; you either believe that it is or not. For myself, I believe it’s very true and I believe what little I’ve donated over the years has paid back many times over. Personally, I like to give to United Way of Wilson County and the Upper Cumberland because my donation can support more than one thing with a small investment.

    Once again, I’d like to share a success story from just one of our programs, which has been a longtime partner with our local United Way. Kids on the Block is a program which tours our local schools and talks to children about difficult subjects such as bullying and abuse.

    One of their employees passed along some letters from a couple of school children from W.A. Wright Elementary School third graders:

    “I knew a little about child abuse … but something new I learned with Kids on the Block was that you should tell a grown up right after it happens no matter how scared and abuse where your parents smack or kick you really hard, sexual abuse, where someone inappropriately touches your body or kisses you like you are getting married.”

    Offering a bit more detail, a school counselor at West Elementary School said, “Kids on the Block visited our school many times over the years to the delight of the faculty and students. Their lessons are appropriate, timely, informative and entertaining. The students ask me every year if they are coming back to our school. They are wonderful to work with and they are so great with the students. We are eagerly anticipating their visit at West. The only problem is we wish we could get them here more than once a year. We love Kids on the Block.”

    Kids on the Block represents one of UWUC’s larger programs, but we have smaller organizations which lend tremendous support to our community such as Restoration Community Outreach in Mt. Juliet, Homework Hotline and the Lake Street Learning Center, just to name a few.

    Giving back to our community is addictive. I’ve known very few people over the years who didn’t love being involved through the United Way in helping others to live a better life. Our donors generally aren’t looking to give a handout but rather a hand-up. Our partner programs, chosen by community volunteers (you) represent the values we hold strongly in our service area.

    So whether you’re looking for a large organization to assist thousands of local people, a smaller, more focused program that relies on a more grass-roots approach to directly help hundreds of people, or you want to build a legacy of giving that continues to serve after this life is over, I would like to remind you that giving back to your community is important.

    John McMillin is president of United Way of Wilson County and the Upper Cumberland. Email him at [email protected].

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