What United Way Youth Board Meant to Me

Thursday, February 13, 2014


Photo by Image Studios

Carli was featured in the 2012 Annual Report.

Contributor: Carli Johnson, former United Way Fox Cities Youth Board Member

The United Way Youth Board functions as an advisory committee to the adult board of directors. Youth Board Members are sophomore through senior high school students from the Fox Cities who are interested in becoming more involved and engaged in their school and community. These young citizens experience firsthand the inner workings of our United Way. "Learning by doing" helps develop the next generation of community leaders.

I was very involved with clubs and organizations in high school, but United Way's Youth Board is definitely the one I miss the most now that I have graduated and have started college. I loved everything about serving on the Youth Board; the volunteering, the leadership development, the meetings, the photo and video shoots and the radio Public Service Announcement tapings. I was able to participate in so many awesome opportunities through the Youth Board, none of which I would trade for anything.

Some of my fondest memories from my senior year of high school come from serving on the Youth Board. Volunteering at the Convoy of Hope (a non-profit that serves people throughout the world) and holding "happiness signs" in the community to encourage people to take a moment of their day and reflect on their happiness, are two events that come to mind first. I also had the chance to give the invocation speech at Teen Symposium, a regional event that helps students develop their own leadership skills, with a focus on civic engagement. I never thought, in a million years, that I would be confident enough to give a speech to 300+ people, but through the Youth Board and Teen Symposium I had that opportunity, and it was one of the most nerve-racking and inspiring experiences of my life.

I learned so much about myself and grew so much through being involved with the Youth Board. My leadership skills, my passion for volunteering and my overall sense of self, all were positively impacted by my involvement with the Youth Board. The Youth Board was like one big family that loved to lead and serve, which made my Youth Board experience so incredibly memorable. Youth Board meant way more than words, or even a paragraph, can express; my involvement in United Way's Youth Board definitely changed my life for the better and I am eternally thankful that I got to be so involved with such a wonderful organization.

If you would like to learn more about the United Way Youth Board, please visit our Youth Board webpage for more information. If you or someone you know would like to become a United Way Youth Board member, please print and fill out the Youth Board Application.