Chuck Ducey worked for Diebold 35 years and supported United Way of Greater Stark County through the annual workplace campaign. He heard about United Way’s work in the community work at campaign rallies, and it piqued his curiosity about volunteering. Chuck checked out volunteer opportunities, and decided that he was interested in the area of education. He spoke with Kim Douce of United Way’s Education Impact Council.
“Kim is a wonderful lady. She encouraged me to come and join the Education Impact Council. That’s how I started out with volunteering with United Way. It was really a great experience.”
Chuck was shocked and amazed at the amount of work involved the allocation process. “That Education Impact Council is composed of different folks with different levels of education…all local folks,” Chuck explains. “The funds allocation process, I can assure you, is an unbelievably rigorous process. I was extremely impressed with it. The people are just unbelievable to work with.”
He also speaks highly of the agencies and programs that receive funding from United Way. “Stark County is very blessed.” He learned that there are numerous agencies operated by people who don’t make a lot of money – but bring lots of passion & hard work, and help a lot of people. “United Way staff & agencies are wonderful people just trying to do good.” Chuck enjoyed the EIC sessions, keeping quiet at first so he could listen and learn as much as possible.
Around this time, United Way was revising the existing Strategic Plan with BOLD GOALS in Education, Income and Health – unique to each community being served. To accommodate this, the Education Impact Council adjusted their framework to support sustainable progress toward 2 local BOLD Goals in Education by 2020: 100% of eligible students being kindergarten ready and 100% of students graduating from high school. “We believe very strongly that hitting those 2 goals would have a very big impact on the community, says Chuck. “We had a lot of support, great people. “
Chuck’s opportunities to volunteer kept increasing. United Way’s Dee Shelton reached out to Chuck about the MyBudgetCoachTM program. “It seemed like a great way to get involved and help people.” He met with Dee & Chrisann Leaman and learned about the tremendous support given to volunteers. He was immediately impressed with the excellent training and great program.
Dee and Kim encouraged Chuck to participate in Bridges Out of Poverty, a full-day training program offered by United Way of Greater Stark County for anyone working with those in poverty. Chuck believes this is one of the most helpful tools to help him work with clients, because he learned about the differences between social-economic classes. The specialized training enhances sensitivity to individuals’ situations, behaviors, thinking, coping skills. “These folks live in the moment. If you want to try to talk with them about 5 or 10 years out, they’re not going to hear you. They’re not going to be receptive to it.” Chuck explains, “Without that training, I never would have had that type of sensitivity.”
Chuck was also made more aware of the reliance upon relationships among those struggling with poverty. “They don’t rely on the written word, contracts, or anything like that. They rely very heavily on relationships.” He saw the level of his clients’ trust increase with the MyBudgetCoach sessions, which led to success in the program. He is inspired by the resourcefulness and can-do attitude of his clients. Understanding that helps make the program more relevant.
The biggest payback for Chuck is working with the clients. “Fantastic, hard-working people who want to learn and do better.” Chuck finds it very rewarding helping people improve their situation. “It’s the best feeling in the world. I hope to have many more, I hope to do more!”
Chuck encourages everyone to get involved with United Way of Greater Stark County. “It’s been a wonderful experience. I suggest that everybody to either support United Way financially or do both – support financially and work as a volunteer, because it does great things for the community. Volunteering with caring and compassionate people at United Way gives me an opportunity to help the community and feel good about the work I am doing. It’s all about the people you work with and serve.”