A Light in the Dark

A Light in the Dark

Laura Vinson

By Laura Vinson, 2022 Campaign Chair

One of my first volunteer opportunities with Lubbock Area United Way was through Program Review.  That year, our team reviewed the Boys and Girls Club. We were charged with assessing the organization’s measurable outcomes. Program Review is one of the ways United Way ensures accountability in its funded programs.

For our site visit, we went to the Optimist Boys and Girls Club in north Lubbock. We saw their after-school programs firsthand – study time, activities, athletics, and a meal before pick-up. At the end of our visit, we had the opportunity to talk with some of the club members. I asked one little girl if she liked it there. She responded with a polite, “Yes, ma’am.”

I then rather casually asked her, “Where would you go if you didn’t come to the Club?”  At that point, she stopped and really thought for a second. 

“I don’t know,” she said, “I don’t have anywhere else to go.”  

Clearly, that got me and still does. Maybe there were other options, but she knew when she came there, she would have friends, people who cared about her, staff and volunteers to help with schoolwork, and a hot meal. For her parent or caregiver, the Club provided an affordable option where they could be sure she was safe and was getting quality care.

20ish years later, I often wonder where that little girl is now. She’d be about 27 or 28. She may be a mom herself with kids going to quality childcare through a United Way partner. I wonder if her time at the Boys and Girls Club shaped her into a person she might not have otherwise been. I’d like to believe it did. That kind of change happens because of your support.

Each year, the Campaign Chair has an opportunity to choose a theme for the campaign. I’ve chosen the theme of light.

Even in a vacuum, there is never complete darkness. Particles of light are always bouncing around. For our neighbors (and sometimes ourselves) who are in a dark place for whatever reason, United Way finds them and shines a light into the darkness. The partner agencies light a path for them to find their way. And you? You let the light shine within you, through your gifts, your advocacy, and your volunteerism.

United Way lives and breathes and grows with Lubbock as needs change, new challenges arise, and solutions are found. Just as light is always moving around us, United Way is not static. Your help, combined with the gifts of hundreds and hundreds of our neighbors, can fuel our United Way and our Community Partners to move the needle on these challenges.  

I ask that you step just a bit deeper into the light this year as we kick off our campaign. Your donation may help a little girl like the one I met at the Boys and Girls Club. Or helps ensure a Voice of Hope advocate is there for every victim of sexual violence. Or allows for an additional intern at Family Counseling Center to give telehealth counseling to a troubled teen. Whatever it may be – you’re part of the light. So I hope you’ll think about that as you consider your participation in this year’s campaign. Give. Advocate. Volunteer. How will you be the light?