Tracie Parrella has always had a passion for service, so she was especially excited when she found out that she could donate her time through United Way to make a difference in the lives of local children. At the annual United Way Campaign meeting at Paychex, where she is employed, Tracie learned that she could not only make a difference by contributing financially to the Community Fund, but that she could also volunteer in the community. She couldn’t wait to get involved!
Recently she had the chance to literally lend her muscle to a National Volunteer Week project. Tracie and her team of co-workers gardened, planted seeds, built trellises, and made flowerbeds at a local Elementary School in Beacon in conjunction with Hudson Valley Seed. “I could hear the elementary school children talking and laughing as I was volunteering- it was a beautiful sound — I was doing this project for them!”
Tracie was nearly in tears at the end of the project, as the students went out into the garden to see what the volunteers were up to. “I couldn’t believe the looks on their faces as they took in all the work we had done, they were so excited!”
Tracie is appreciative that her employer Paychex not only allows employees to volunteer at such community initiatives but encourages them to do so. “It is amazing to be a part of a company that is so community-oriented!”
While this was Tracie’s first time volunteering at a United Way Day of Caring, Tracie has a lot of past experience being involved. She was part of the business honor society Alpha Beta Gamma that was “always working on a community project.” She also recently coordinated a fund raiser that provided Thanksgiving dinner for residents at Grace Smith House, a domestic violence shelter. “When I delivered the food, a mother cried and thanked me. She didn’t know how she would provide a Thanksgiving meal to her two boys”.
Tracie does her best to inspire not only her co-workers but her family to give back. “I have four children, every day I tell them to appreciate what they have and think of a way that they can help someone else.”
Tracie believes that children are the hope for the future. She feels that if everyone is brought up to think and act compassionately, then we, together, can make a better world.
To learn about the next Day of Caring, go to volunteer.uwdor.org.
—Melissa Clark, Manager of Community Mobilization