Saturday, September 20, 2014

Features
Day of volunteerism will grow lives of those with developmental disabilities
by Marshanna Hester


MILWAUKEE -- Patrick Lubar is getting his hands dirty away from his summer internship at PNC Bank.

Armed with a shovel to move loads soil isn't just labor, but a career building tool to his future and finishing strong at UW-Madison.

"I think it really helps with communication skills and getting along with others, learning to work together," he said. "It's an important skill to have in life."

Lubar is apart of the United Way's Intern Day of Action.

It challenges young leaders in the community to volunteer their time to better the lives of others.

Sue Dlouhy, community relations director for Curative Care Network, said it also benefits them in other ways.

"Finding out what the community's needs are and understanding that both volunteer support and financial support can really go a long way in helping the community overcome some of the problems we have," she said.

The large flower beds being filled with soil will be used for the horticultural therapy program at the Curative Care Network.

The goal is to foster growth in adults with developmental disabilities.

"We've noticed a great improvement in the social interactions between the clients," said program coordinator Kelly Cunningham. "[And] We've noticed great improvements as far as attitudes go, excitement, even just being outside really brings people to life."

Dlouhy said that proves the power of living united.

The Curative Care Network is one of many agencies that receives money from the United Way of Greater Milwaukee.

Those dollars fund critical development services for a number of adults and children age birth to three.

"It's really important they get educational help, therapeutic help in their early years of life," continued Dlouhy. "So that they can hopefully overcome some of the problems they're having or learn to manage them."

With cheerful smiles, Curative clients worked right alongside volunteers to plant flowers and vegetables.

"Hopefully as the program grows at Curative we can start becoming more involved in the community and selling our produce at farmers markets," added Cunningham.

Seeds of new beginnings that all started with the giving spirit, helping the United Way's Intern Day of Action Make Milwaukee Great.