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2015 Day of Caring helps nonprofits, schools

The numbers are in, and the 2015 Bartlesville Regional United Way Day of Caring had an impressive impact. Approximately 7,200 volunteer hours were given to helping local organizations, which has a value of $154,440, according to a report by Independent Sector.

“I am so amazed by the amount of volunteers who participated in Day of Caring this year!” Bartlesville Regional United Way Campaign Manager Annah Fischer said. “Over 1,800 volunteers gave of their time and put in great work at nonprofit organizations in Bartlesville, Nowata, Dewey, and Caney. These projects take coordination on the part of the volunteers and the agencies; their work and dedication make these projects successful.”

Day of Caring occurs each year in September during the annual United Way Campaign. This year, the volunteers took on 184 projects at 54 agencies for a huge impact on the local nonprofit community. Many of the projects occurred on Day of Caring – Sept. 23 – but others occurred in the weeks around the “official” date.

“United Way facilitates volunteering in the community through Day of Caring,” CEO and Executive Director Jody Burch said. “A nonprofit does not need to be a part of United Way to submit a project. We want everyone to benefit from Day of Caring uniting the community to help others.”

Day of Caring increases the awareness of needs in our community, what nonprofits meet those needs and demonstrates what people working together can accomplish in our community.

 “I also greatly appreciate local employers and instructors for allowing time during the work and school day for individuals to give back to the community,” Fischer said. “It is clear that people value the work local nonprofits are doing and are eager to help them. I’m glad the United Way can serve as a facilitator for Day of Caring, but we absolutely could not have this impact without the commitment from volunteers, nonprofit agencies, local employers, and local schools.”

Corporate partners who provided volunteers for the projects include Arvest, ConocoPhillips, EY, Habitat for Humanity, Jane Phillips Medical Center, Keller Williams Realty, Phillips 66, Siemens, Town & Country Christian Church and Walmart Distribution Center.

Each group of volunteers chose a project that benefitted a local nonprofit or school. Many groups of volunteers helped with yard work, painting, cleaning and even cabinetry from volunteers. White Rose Cemetery got a facelift from a group of Tri County Technology Center students who picked up trash and did some yard work on the grounds, and a group from EY helped clean up the Girl Scouts Camp. A group of volunteers from ConocoPhillips went to Delaware Child Development Center to rock babies and read to young children.

Also, two teams of volunteers from Phillips 66 helped at Elder Care with DayBreak participants. DayBreak is an adult day health program that offers a safe and stimulating environment with therapeutic activities, socialization and exercise programs for seniors. It gives caregivers an important daytime respite that allows them to continue employment, run errands or simply recharge.

One of the Phillips 66 teams helped with a Daybreak party at the fairgrounds. They facilitated crafts and activities for the seniors, helped serve the snacks and played bingo with them. Another group of volunteers helped with a trip to Coffeyville where they participated in a tour of the area the Dalton Gang used to use. The volunteers walked with the participants and helped them look at and read to them about the museum displays.

“We wouldn’t have the manpower to do these trips without the volunteer help,” Stevie Williams, director of community relations at Elder Care, said. “We’ve had the same group of volunteers coordinated by Janet Crawford at Phillips 66 for several years now. They are very caring and take time to get to know the participants.”

Several Bartlesville area schools benefitted from Day of Caring also. At Madison Middle School, different teams of Day of Caring volunteers from both ConocoPhillips and Phillips 66 worked for two weeks to paint all the hallways before the new lockers arrived.

“It was amazing to witness the example of community service demonstrated by the United Way volunteers in our community,” Joey Eidson, Madison Middle School principal, said. “Our students are blessed to live in a community that continuously gives back.”

Other volunteers helped spruce up the grounds at Hoover Elementary School, Jane Phillips Elementary School, Ranch Heights Elementary School, Richard Kane Elementary School, Wesleyan Christian School and Wilson Elementary School, among other projects.

“Each of the 184 projects helped fill a need,” BRUW Marketing Manager Abigail Singrey said. “It was great to see the volunteers enthusiastically helping the nonprofits with projects they would have had a hard time getting done otherwise. Day of Caring truly made a difference in our community.”