Thursday, October 22, 2015

Live United: Connecting with our Communities

Montage of images from United Way Project Connect day.  Text: Give. Advocate. Volunteer.  Live United.  United Way.

Rio Salado College embraces community outreach and service. Each year, the college participates in the annual United Way campaign in a variety of efforts including book drives, fundraising activities and community service. 

Image of Dr. Terry registering to volunteer

Last week, Rio Salado’s Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. LeRodrick Terry participated in a United Way Project Connect event in Tempe to benefit the homeless.

Project Connect helps those in need on their journey to health, financial stability, and housing by bringing over 50 service providers to one location.

image of someone getting a hair cut.

This event allows individuals and families to receive numerous services in one day that could normally take days, weeks, or months on their own.

“I believe as educators, we have a responsibility to serve our communities,” Terry said. “Just as teaching and learning surpass the walls of traditional educational settings, the same is true in regards to the impact created through community service and outreach.”

back of a volunteer.  T-shirt reads: "...because we are all connected."

Terry said participating in the Project Connect event was enlightening on many levels.

“Interacting with people from the community reminds me of why we do what we do,” Terry said. Our purpose as an institution and as people are made clearer when we take the time to serve.”

He recounted this memorable interaction:

Image of Dr. Terry talking to another volunteer as his companion Carol shops.

“As I went around from one resource to another, I got to know my participant. Her name was Carol. She shared her testimony. She was adamant that she didn’t come for a hand out. She did not want charity. She wanted access and information to assist her in taking advantage of available resources. Even though she was enduring intolerable hardships, her dignity was still intact. Our conversation and interaction was inspirational. In sharing her story, she exemplified the strength of the human spirit.”

In addition to Project Connect, the United Way offers many ways for people to get involved in their communities.
Image of Dr. Terry shaking hands with another volunteer

“You can volunteer a few hours of your time and/or commit to a modest financial donation,” Terry said. “In this act, you have the ability to become a change agent, and the opportunity to make a difference.”

Additional volunteer opportunities with the Valley of the Sun United Way include WeekEnd Hunger backpack assembly, Generation United kids care, Make a Difference Day, literacy fairs, serving Thanksgiving dinner at community centers and shelters, and more. Visit to learn more about the Valley of the Sun United Way and how you can make a difference all year long.

For more information about Rio Salado United Way initiatives and how you can get involved, visit this blog.   

Check out this Facebook album for additional photos.

By Rio Salado Communications Coordinator Mira Radovich.