Volunteering can be easy and rewarding – start on Make a Difference Day

Once a week, Sussex County families struggling to rise above poverty meet at the Center For Prevention and Counseling in Newton as part of the Circles program to discuss their challenges and triumphs, strategies for moving forward and hopes for a better future. These Circles classes, funded by United Way of Northern New Jersey, have resulted in real successes, helping to lift individuals and families out of poverty. Sadly, for some parents, the greatest obstacle to attendance is a lack of child care. 

Sign Up for E-News

Hearing about the program’s need for adult volunteers to help supervise the children of Circles families for just 2 hours on a Tuesday night, I knew I could give that small amount of time at least once a month. Working with the kids has been, and continues to be, a great experience. They share their diverse backgrounds and life experiences with me and while the struggles in their family life have made them grow up fast, they still strive for one thing – to be kids!  So, we read together and play games, learning how to win, lose and share peacefully along the way – all of which has been very rewarding.

We all have the potential to have a positive impact in the lives of others. Consider sharing just two hours out of your busy schedules to make a difference in someone’s life.

Through United Way’s Volunteer Link, it is easy to match your interests with volunteer needs in the community.  Visit this all-inclusive website, accessible at www.UnitedWayNNJ.org/BecomeAVolunteer, which lists local volunteer opportunities year-round.

Saturday, October 27 is national Make a Difference Day. Millions will volunteer to improve their communities across the country. There is no better time to become a volunteer and consider what skills and talents you can share with those in need in our community.


Sean Hyland

United Way of Northern New Jersey