The United Way of Jefferson & North Walworth Counties is launching its second annual Season of Caring, scheduled to run for seven weeks from Sept. 27 to Nov. 14.

“We are kicking off our 2021 campaign season focused on our theme of being ‘United For All,’ and the greatest way we believe our communities can be United For All, is to generously spread kindness and caring power to as many people as they can,” stated Megan Hartwick, United Way executive director. “Our communities have faced very difficult times this past year and a half, so we want our campaign efforts focused not only on fundraising, but on taking care of one another and showing our appreciation. We want to help people recognize the importance of community engagement and give them easy opportunities to become more involved.”

The Season of Caring will consist of seven different small missions across seven weeks, beginning on Monday, Sept. 27. The missions will be as follows: Join our Mission (week one), Praise a Community Worker (week two), Thank a Business (week 3), Commit to Volunteering (week four), Be a Local Champion (week five), Lend Your Support (week 6), and Practice Self-Care (week seven). There are no set requirements for completing each mission, and there is no sign up or registration fee for participating.

“We wanted to make participation in this seven-week series as easy as possible,” Hartwick states. “We will be offering a lot of suggestions and information that will help people determine what specific acts of caring will work best for them, but we also want community members to get creative and express themselves during these small missions.

“Mostly, we want people to remember that small, simple acts of kindness can have a huge ripple affect across communities,” she added. “And I think we can all agree that our communities need as much caring power and support as possible right now.”

Some of the suggested acts from United Way include signing up for United Way newsletters (Join Our Mission), sending a thank you note to a healthcare worker (Encourage a Community Worker), posting a positive review about a local business (Thank a Business), registering on United Way’s volunteer platform (Commit to Volunteering), reaching out to a local nonprofit to learn more about their work (Be a Local Champion), delivering a homecooked meal to a neighbor (Lend Your Support), and taking time to enjoy a favorite activity (Practice Self-Care).

Any community member can participate in the Season of Caring, and United Way is encouraging workplaces to join in and use it as a team-building exercise, or for parents to engage their children and make it a fun family activity. The acts can be as small or as big as an individual determines and can include acts that are completed very quickly or tasks that require a longer commitment. The one request from United Way is that folks share their participation and encourage others to join.

“We want to see all of these amazing acts of caring and we want the participants to share their positive impact with others and encourage them to join in,” Hartwick stated. “We have created specific hashtags for the week that we ask people to use anytime they post their participation on social media. We’d also love for United Way to be tagged in any postings so we can help share the information.

“But mostly, we want participants to find any way to share — text your friends, post something up in your break room at work, or email your family members,” she said. “We want to see this have a profound, positive impact on our communities.”

Full details for the Season of Caring — including instruction sheets for each individual day, hashtag details, Facebook images, and more — can be found on the Season of Caring page on the United Way’s website: https://uwjnwc.com/events/week-of-caring/.

“We’ve put together lots of details and marketing information to make it very easy for people to participate and to promote each week’s task,” Hartwick stated. “I’ll be sharing my personal participation each week, as well as our board of directors’ involvement, because our United Way is fully committed to spreading caring power throughout our communities.

“At United Way, we see one of our main responsibilities as creating connections throughout our communities — connecting individuals to needed help and resources, connecting volunteers to organizations who could benefit from their time, connecting donors to causes and missions they care about, and now connecting the power of kindness and support to those who need it,” she added.

To join in on the week’s events, people are encouraged to visit the United Way website and subscribe to their newsletter and to “like and follow” their Facebook page (@uwjnwc). Participants are encouraged to share their acts of caring by sharing to their social media pages and using the following hashtags: #uwjnwc #seasonofcaring #2021campaign #unitedforall.

“We’re so excited to launch this extended version of this caring series and we think it’s the perfect way to begin our campaign season,” Hartwick continued. “We look so forward to seeing community member participation, and to see witnessing the impact that simple acts of caring can make in our communities. Thank you to those who will join us in our efforts to be “United For All.”

Anyone who would like more information on United Way or who has any questions on the Season of Caring can visit the United Way website at www.uwjnwc.com or contact Hartwick at (920) 563-8880 or unitedway@idcnet.com.

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