I have been so privileged and have had so many champions in my life - it’s important to me to be that champion for other people. As a community, when everyone feels like they have a champion and the resources to be the best they can be, we all benefit.
Preparing young children to thrive in school.
Leon and Vonnie created an endowment to support Kid Kits because they want to see everyone have an opportunity to succeed.
"We have had very rewarding careers. Vonnie was an early childhood and music teacher, and Leon was an executive with Enbridge Pipelines, retiring in August of 2017 after 30 years.
We first learned about United Way through Enbridge. In 2004, Leon was asked to join the Campaign Cabinet and he later chaired the Campaign in 2008.
Over time, through hearing agency speakers, attending kick-offs and participating in the Annual Campaign we learned more about the needs of our community. More importantly, we learned how donating one's time and resources could support those people that needed support.
Leon decided to join the United Way board and Vonnie began volunteering at Norwood School, working directly with kids who are in need of the United Way funded breakfast program and teaching supports. It placed a face on the people in our community that most needed our help.
We chose to support Kid Kits with our endowment. We want to prepare young children for school. A successful education is extremely important as they only get one chance to develop those growing brains. Because it is so important, we decided to support the program for the next five years. It is quite humbling to think of all the children and families that will be positively impacted by this program.
United Way is not just about fundraising. It is really about transforming our region so that we see success for everyone - children, teens, adults, seniors and new immigrants looking to create a better life for their children.
For many of us, we have had the opportunity to realize success for ourselves, our families and our careers. Not everyone has those same opportunities. United Way is transforming this city to a place where everyone has the opportunity to succeed."