By Dmitri and Ann Shiry
The Shiry’s involvement with United Way began with Dmitri learning about the organization’s mission to improve the community through preventative programming. He was also impressed with United Way’s size, scale and reach within Southwestern PA. Dmitri became a board member and grew very passionate about United Way’s work.
As for Ann, Dmitri encouraged her to participate in events and to increase her exposure to United Way’s mission. As she learned more about United Way’s impact areas – children and youth, seniors, veterans, people with disabilities and struggling families – she became energized about the difference she and Dmitri could make in the community through United Way.
Here’s what Dmitri and Ann have to say about their experience.
Giving just a bit of your time to a cause you are passionate about is rewarding for both yourself and your community. Our favorite part of being involved with the Tocqueville Society is volunteering at the various activities throughout the year and helping local people in need. We are making a difference in someone’s life, even if it’s only in a small way.
One of my (Ann’s) favorite volunteer activities is with United Way’s Open Your Heart to a Senior. I’ve developed a great friendship with 90-year-old Sally and am able to provide her with support whether it’s a trip to the grocery store or doctor, or simply an hour of conversation. We have even hopped on the “T” to take a ride from the South Hills to the Northside — the last time Sally was on a subway was in 1965! The one indelible mark that I have left with Sally is the smile on her face when I show up every Thursday.
We have also volunteered at events throughout the year, including the Sensory Picnic for Children with Disabilities and Intergenerational Fun Day with seniors. At both events, we chose to bring our children, Vianna and Colton, along with us, so they could see the direct impact of giving a small amount of their time and gain an appreciation for helping others.
Both of us give our skills to United Way. For me (Ann), it’s relationship and customer service skills through Open Your Heart to a Senior and serving on the Tocqueville Society Volunteer Committee which provides an opportunity to offer ideas and direction to working toward a stronger region.
For me (Dmitri), as a business professional, it’s being involved in many ways, such as serving as the 2015-17 co-chair of the Tocqueville Society. I currently serve as the co-chair for the United for Seniors Campaign and helped shape United Way’s United for Caregivers @Work program. This latter initiative focuses on how businesses can team with United Way to offer support to their employees who are caregivers.
Giving our talents and skills is very rewarding, and allows United Way to utilize our professional backgrounds and ideas to help make our community even stronger.
None of this work could happen without financial support. We are passionate about United Way’s work, and appreciate the organization’s reach throughout our community. As invested stakeholders, we are confident in United Way’s impact and outcomes, so contributing our treasure is an easy decision.
It feels good to give to a cause you care deeply about. Consider giving your time, talents and treasure to United Way, where your time will be well spent, your talents will be utilized, and your treasure will make the biggest impact.