June 27, 2016
Written by Sara Blackburn, United Way Intern
Melinda Woltring fondly recalls the day she realized the importance of serving her community. “I was finishing up college and discussing my future plans with my current employer. When asked if I was interested in a career advancement within the company, I said ‘I want to find an employer I’m proud to work for.’ I didn’t realize it then, but at that moment I was laying the groundwork for my search to find a way to give back to my community.”
Today, it is clear Melinda made good on her personal goal. Over the last 15 years since that day, she has volunteered for YMCA Sponsor-A-Scholar program, Schools that Can, Milwaukee College Prep (Lloyd Street), Hunger Task Force, St. Mary's Church in Port Washington, Feeding America, Free to Breathe, Channel 10/36, Habitat for Humanity Milwaukee, Habitat for Humanity Global Village, Victory Gardens, Great Lakes Hemophilia Foundation, Junior Achievement, and Wauwatosa Catholic Elementary School. In addition to her volunteering she also works three other jobs.
Even so, her desire to volunteer remains strong. She says her time with the YMCA led her to fall in love with organizations that are devoted to building strong communities. She says it’s important for kids to have the opportunity to learn how to swim, dance, and interact with people of all ages, races, and abilities. She wants all adults to be able to learn to develop healthy lifestyles, meet new friends, and build supportive relationships with others in their community.
When asked where her passion for volunteering comes from, Melinda says she has always worked to be a role model for her seven younger siblings. “What motivates me are results. When I see people in caps and gowns, crossing a finish line, receiving awards, or just rejoicing in the success of hard work, I take a moment to reflect on how lucky I am to have worked hard to have achieve my own goals.”
Melinda continues to be an avid believer in the power of community involvement and volunteering. “If there is a chance I could be the light in someone's day just by showing up, how could I pass that up?”