“I went back to the office just destroyed, knowing what happens in this community,” confessed Julie Mandrell following the Program Review site visit for CASA of the South Plains.
This is Julie’s fifth year volunteering for Lubbock Area United Way’s annual Program Review process. Through Program Review, United Way invites community volunteers to review funded programs at the 23 Community Partners to ensure donor funds go to proven services that benefit our South Plains communities.
What keeps Julie coming back each year is the knowledge that she’s making a difference in the community. “In some way, I’m making sure the dollars that get donated are going to an impactful place. And for me, I get to see where my money goes by being involved with these agencies. I get to do the site visits. I get to hear from the staff members, the board, and the volunteers. It keeps me connected to the process, and I love that. I love being able to see where my money goes.”
Beyond Program Review, both Julie and her husband Chris have volunteered in a number of different capacities for the United Way, including the Loaned Executive program and as Campaign Coordinators for their respective companies. “It’s made our marriage stronger to be involved, to have that connection with one another. We’re better parents to our son because of our involvement with [United Way].”
Julie’s son Christian is 2-years-old. “My husband and I talk all the time about how we are going to get him involved… It’s not just because I want him to see how fortunate he is, that’s part of it…but [we want] to expose him to the idea that it’s ok for not everyone to be like you or to have what you have or to do what you do. That you can be friends with different kinds of people.”
When Julie reflects on her involvement with the United Way she hopes “other people can see that it’s not about the money you donate.” That’s important, she says, but to her, it’s more about “the impact you make on someone’s life... For me the ability to change one woman’s life by giving her a job or giving her a skill that gives her more confidence, that’s what’s important to [me].”
“As a volunteer who is a donor, it’s nice for me to be able to see and audit where my money goes [through Program Review]… My husband and I can talk about it and know our money is still impactful.”
Julie and every Program Review volunteer are invaluable assets to United Way and our South Plains communities. Without the dedication of their time and personal skill set, we would not be able to ascertain that your dollars continue to be used to support proven programs and services that benefit and uplift people.
“I’m lucky enough y’all keep asking me back.”
To find out more about Program Review or how you can volunteer with United Way click here.