United Way’s work to build stronger neighborhoods is powered by the time and effort of our generous volunteers. Each and every volunteer is invaluable to our mission.
Some raise money to support our community partners, help job-seekers prepare for upcoming interviews or assemble literacy kits for students, while others lend their time and expertise to our board and affinity groups.
Creative teams at UL, one of our corporate partners, are currently volunteering their time to support our Neighborhood Network partners’ marketing and communications — helping them connect with their neighbors and tell their organizations’ stories. Andrew Vail of Jenner & Block, another United Way partner, volunteers as our pro bono general counsel, too.
No matter how they give back, United Way volunteers make a difference. Get to know a few others below!
Tiara Muse — Vice President of Executive Search at Koya Partners
Tiara Muse is the Speaker Series Chair for United Way’s Young Leaders United (YLU) affinity group. Volunteering has always been important to her. Tiara’s volunteer experience began in high school when she mentored younger students. She always had a passion for making connections, and volunteering was one way she could express it.
Tiara continued to volunteer throughout college and was determined to incorporate it into her professional work life as well.
As a member of YLU, Tiara organizes important conversations about philanthropy through YLU’s monthly Speaker Series, supports YLU’s annual event Ignite to raise money for United Way’s community partners, and volunteers for service projects with our community partners.
A year ago, United Way connected Tiara with Belfort House, a partner that supports youth and young adults who are homeless by offering housing and basic services. This was an impactful experience for Tiara and opened her eyes to the complexity of volunteering.
“United Way has allowed me to see the variety of ways you can contribute to a cause beyond fundraising. It can be cause or issue awareness, where you create space for understanding,” Tiara said. “It’s not just of your time or money, it’s of your support and how you empower and motivate others to get on board.”
Barbara Castleton — Senior Manager, Executive Administration at Great Lakes Credit Union
Barbara started volunteering with United Way after her employer Great Lakes Credit Union renewed its partnership with United Way two years ago.
When United Way’s Mock Interview Program was listed through Jane Addams Resource Corporation as a volunteer opportunity last summer for GLCU staff, it immediately resonated with Barbara. The program matches United Way volunteers with prospective applicants who want to practice before their job interviews and get feedback for improvement so they can land a new job. She was drawn to the opportunity to assist those who are looking to start a new career or re-enter the workforce.
So far, Barbara has held four virtual mock interviews, with candidates from all ages, career stages and backgrounds. She’s watched as the candidates gained confidence in real time and better articulated their professional and personal narratives. “They’re in this process, moving forward on a new path, and you get to be a part of their experience,” Barbara said. “You can feel their excitement.”
Her favorite part has been learning each person’s personal story; each one a reminder of how unique and diverse life experiences can be. One individual couldn’t find a job shortly after obtaining a masters degree. Another interviewee’s impetus was the pandemic, which hit his industry hard. She felt grateful to help them.
“It’s very evident each individual I talked to was at a time in their lives where they go, ‘okay, now what I do? Where do I want to go?’” Barbara said. “It’s just an incredibly rewarding process.”
Mark Seigle — President of Seigle’s Cabinet Center
Over the holiday season, Mark Seigle, a United Way volunteer and donor, helped feed his neighbors and spread holiday cheer in his hometown of Elgin.
Mark was one of many volunteers that supported our Uniting for the Holidays events in six locations across the suburbs. In total, nearly 3,000 families took home food and gifts in areas where there is high food insecurity.
On a chilly winter evening, Mark greeted families and packed their cars with frozen turkeys, side dishes, backpacks, hand sanitizer, diapers, books and more. His company Seigle’s Cabinet Center also sponsored the event.
Afterward, he said he was “thrilled [the event was] in Elgin, because it’s my hometown and the need is critical here.”
Mark’s commitment to United Way can be traced farther back though. He’s volunteered on United Way boards for years and, for decades, has invested in our work to build a stronger Chicago region.
“Why do I give to United Way?” he said. “For the same reason I’ve been giving for nearly 40 years. United Way is efficient. It’s effective. And it’s encompassing.”
You can help build stronger neighborhoods, too. Get involved with United Way!