United Way’s Day of Action leaves Roanoke Valley kids with more confidence

ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ7) What better way to celebrate the first day of summer than by getting outside, and doing something good for the community?

That’s exactly what more than 100 people did for the United Way of Roanoke Valley’s Day of Action.

One of the locations volunteers spent some time Wednesday was the West End Center, where kids got some extra attention.

“Our children are disadvantaged, and our goal is to provide them with the skills that they’re going to need to be successful adults who can be independent,” said Joy Parrish, Executive Director of the West End Center.

Skills like learning how to be confident young women, and it all starts with a simple handshake.

“Little things like teaching a young, beautiful girl how to shake a hand is the beginning of a path to someplace much, much better,” said President and CEO of the Roanoke Valley United Way, Afira Devries.

This Day of Action is part of that path, and they’re hoping it goes beyond just one day.

“We love volunteers, we couldn’t do what we do without volunteers. We do have a paid staff, but their efforts are supplemented everyday by volunteers, and it’s critical we have volunteers. Without them, we simply couldn’t accomplish what we do, we’re always looking for more volunteers,” Parrish said.

And on a hot, summer day, more than 100 people gave their time to do just that. For the young children at the West End Center, the hours volunteers put in, are priceless.

“Because no matter what your circumstances are, no matter where you’re coming from, you can always decide where you’re going,” Devries said.

After gaining a little extra confidence, thanks to volunteers, these children can go anywhere they want.