United Way’s PE/VC Associates Map Out a Unique Volunteer Opportunity

The wind wreaked havoc with the stencils, but the country music kept everyone going strong. On September 20, on a breezy, balmy day in Mattapan, members from United Way’s Private Equity/Venture Capital Associate Council converged on Dr. Catherine Ellison-Rosa Parks Early Education School for a unique volunteer opportunity.

Their mission: to paint a huge, full-color map of the world on an otherwise blank playground. It was easier said than done, especially when the bluster kicked up and the paint started to splatter. Not to be deterred, the volunteers put their heads down, powered through, cranked the Jason Aldean, and by day’s end, the map was a masterpiece.

“With my job schedule, it’s nearly impossible to find meaningful time during the week to get involved with the community,” said Suruchi Mehta of Riverside Partners. “So, giving up a Saturday is a fun way to get more in touch with the local community and help others out and it’s a great way to add something different to my usual weekend activities.”

The volunteers arrived on the scene with boxes of supplies and huge strips of 40-foot long tracing paper. They pinned the stencils to the blacktop, rapidly outlined the map, and then carefully filled in all the countries with different colors. The purpose was to blend learning with play, while also offering students an up-close-and-personal perspective of the enormity of their world.

“We want to encourage children to be more aware of the world around them,” said Kate Kerrigan, Manager of Volunteer Engagement for United Way. “The Boston community is wonderfully diverse and the hope is that activities like this allow kids to identify where they’re families may be from and be proud of that, yet recognize they’re part of the same community, working and playing together.”

The PE/VC group started as a grassroots effort this summer to provide fun volunteer opportunities for associates looking for a way to get involved locally. The program blends these projects with networking events and unique strategic initiatives on behalf of United Way’s work in the community, including pro bono consulting services and analytics.

“I decided to do this project to do something fun and different,” said Daniel Sherman of MC Partners. “And at the same time I’m helping the community.”

“There is so much energy and a real desire to give back among young professionals in Boston,” said Jessica Igoe, Senior Development Manager for United Way. “Our goal is to harness this passion and connect individuals with their community. Through projects like this, it’s easy to see that even a few hours on a Saturday morning can make a big difference.”

To learn more about how you can join the ranks of PE/VC volunteers giving back, email Jessica at jigoe@unitedwaymassbay.org.



Looking for some geography resources for kids? Check these out:
National Geographic for Kids
BBC Geography Games and Activities 
Young Geography (A Project of the Geographical Association)