January 12, 2016
By Tamara Watkins, Board Member Easter Seals Southeast Wisconsin
At the start of a new year, most of us reflect over the past year’s accomplishments and disappointments and begin to set new goals for the upcoming year. When I think about my resolutions for 2015, I recall setting a goal of “giving back;” using my life lessons, disappointments and successes to aid in the growth of others. I can honestly say, one of the most rewarding experiences on my path to reach that goal, was my graduation from United Way’s Project LEAD program. A result was my nomination to the Board of Directors for Easter Seals Southeast Wisconsin.
Easter Seals is a program partner of United Way, which provides services for individuals with disabilities to ensure they have equal access to live, learn, work and play in their communities. Soon after graduating from Project LEAD I was ecstatic to learn Easter Seals was seeking to grow its board of directors, and through a mutual interest, I was invited to join.
In my first two months as a board member of the organization it experienced phenomenal change. Easter Seals completed a merger with Safe Babies Healthy Families, a Waukesha-based nonprofit focused on ensuring children are born into safe and healthy environments, and the CEO, Bob Glowacki, was awarded the Biz Times’ Nonprofit Executive of the Year Award. Easter Seals will also be undergoing a new national marketing and brand image campaign across the country in 2016. Talk about a fantastic and exciting time to be a member of this organization!
As I continue to look back on the numerous organizations I lent a helping hand to in 2015 by “giving back”, including Junior Achievement, Pearls for Teen Girls, Milwaukee Public Schools, National Society of Black Engineers, I can admit I truly feel I received more than I gave in 2015.
The past year was a gift of gratitude.
As you consider your own 2016 resolutions, consider serving others; donate your time and/or resources to an organization like United Way or Easter Seals Southeast Wisconsin. You might be surprised by the benefits you gain along the way. As I consider my own goals for 2016 I feel compelled to continue “giving back” – and surprisingly it’s resulted in an improved version of me.