“What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.” – Nelson Mandela
July 18th is Nelson Mandela Day, which commemorates the great leader’s legacy and lifetime of service to South Africa and the world. United Ways across the globe take inspiration from his commitment to improving lives. Today and every day, we invite everyone to Give, Advocate, and Volunteer to take action against poverty. We are especially proud of our work with those who have made a commitment to serve and are leading particularly significant lives by helping others: AmeriCorps VISTAs.
AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) members bring their passion and perseverance to advancing local solutions to poverty, living and working alongside people who are struggling. With the support of VISTAs, United Way of Central Georgia has been able to launch and strengthen initiatives that disrupt the cycle of poverty, such as a camp that helps make sure young children are ready for Kindergarten. Through Heart of Florida United Way, VISTA members’ successful efforts to establish early warning and response systems in schools and increasing volunteer capacity to deliver services are expected to lead to improvement in attendance, behavior, course performance and college/career readiness among central Florida’s students. The contributions of VISTAs, from the sustainable solutions they deliver, to empowering communities, to expanding capacity of local nonprofit organizations, are credited with “lifting people out of poverty since 1965.”
Mandela Day celebrates a great life and legacy that inspire VISTAs and all volunteers the world over, working to make a difference to bring about enduring change – for those living in poverty, and for us all. We all benefit when a child succeeds in school, adults can provide for their family, and it is easy to access quality, affordable health care and nutritious foods and maintain an active lifestyle. What difference can you make today?