We’re excited to spotlight LINC member and Senior Program Manager at CARE, Ladarrien Gillette!
What was your first introduction to United Way? What inspired you to become involved with LINC?
As a recent graduate I was looking for a young professional group to join where I could network and engage in community initiatives. After doing some research I stumbled upon United Way and connected with Lauren Rock. Sitting down with her over lunch really gave me the opportunity to express to her what I was looking for in a young professionals group and she was able to outline all the amazing things the United Way does for me. It was the perfect fit!
What aspect of United Way’s work in the community are you most passionate about supporting?
I am most passionate about improving educational outcomes for youth. I believe having a solid education can provide children with a path forward and an opportunity to follow their dreams. During the pandemic I think it has been challenging to offer the same type of educational outreach to youth but I am hoping once the pandemic is over to have more chances to tutor kids.
What was the turning point that made you realize the importance of giving back?
Ever since I was younger, I’ve wanted to find ways to give back I think because I had a longing to make the world a better place. So whether that meant walking dogs at the pet shelter or donating clothes to others in need, I always found ways to be a part of my community.
How do you incorporate giving back into your free time? How are you continuing to stay involved in the community during a pandemic?
During the pandemic I have tried to lean on safer ways of giving back that I was already incorporating into my life. Instead of my normal in person volunteering I have given back monetarily to help my favorite non-profits stay afloat. Much of the work they do has increased, yet the funds have continuously been diminishing so I do my best to try and help financially.
What would you say to someone who is considering joining LINC?
If you are looking for a community of like-minded young professionals who care about their communities then join LINC!
Who do you consider an inspiration and why?
Building community and seeing positive change is an inspiration to me. It is one thing to want to solve a problem but it’s always beautiful when you have the opportunity to see things come to fruition.