Matt Paquet has been a devoted UWDOR supporter and a part of Young Leaders United for nearly eight years. As the current chair, he ensures the group of community leaders gets out there and lives their mission, to support the work of UWDOR and foster a spirit of community involvement among the next generation of leaders. For two years in a row, they’ve teamed up with the Hudson Valley Young Professionals to revitalize the City of Poughkeepsie.
The volunteer group collected nearly 40 bags of trash from the “Middle Main” area of Poughkeepsie as part of National Volunteer Week and Earth Day. The trash collection went a long way towards beautifying the city. Matt felt inspired as local residents of the area “kept commending us for our efforts during the Middle Main Cleanup!”
He was thoroughly impressed by the diverse community turn out. Alongside the Young Leaders and Hudson Valley Young Professionals, this year he saw a great representation from Dutchess Community College as well as high school students and children and was “thrilled to meet new people with an avid interest in volunteering.” Matt hopes that the local business community will get involved and support these volunteer efforts on a regular basis.
Under Matt’s leadership, the Young Leaders United have become involved with the Book Buddies program through Literacy Connections of the Hudson Valley. The Young Leaders each meet with an Elementary School “buddy” on a weekly basis to improve their early literacy.
Matt tutors two third graders George and Ryan. George and Ryan not only learn reading comprehension but they have fun and look up to Matt as a role model. Once when they had to reschedule their weekly time Matt was surprised that they would want to skip computer class for their session, but indeed they jumped right out of their seats and Ryan said “we get to go spend time with Matt!”
In addition to his volunteer work for National Volunteer Week and weekly Book Buddy session, Matt organized the annual Young Leaders United Holiday Happy Hour. Young Leaders and their guests are invited to the event as long as they bring a grocery store gift card to support local families. In two years, the event has provided over $1000 worth of gift cards to ensure local families had a holiday meal!
Matt not only makes a difference as a United Way volunteer and advocate, he serves as an example that one person can truly make a difference.
To learn more about joining Young Leaders please visit this page www.uwdor.org/YLU or to sign up to volunteer visit the Volunteer Portal at volunteer.uwdor.org.