The Middletown Press (Middletown, CT)
‘Human spirit can overcome any obstacle’
Longtime volunteer explains his motivations
MIDDLETOWN — Volunteers are the backbone of any nonprofit, and I firmly believe that Middlesex United Way would not be as successful without our dedicated ones.
During my time spent as the CEO of Middlesex United Way, I’ve had the opportunity to know each one of our volunteers personally. They are all truly remarkable people.
Volunteering for a nonprofit can mean many things. You can volunteer as a member of one of our young leaders, be part of our women’s initiative, serve on our board, or serve as a community impact member driving our funding decisions. Volunteerism is a vital connection to the community, and Middlesex County, in particular, has some all stars willing to pitch in.
In this week’s column, I wanted to share one of our volunteers’ stories as he has made significant strides in bettering the Middlesex County community.
Andy Rapp calls Portland home, and to say his years of service are lengthy would be an understatement. Before retirement, Andy had a lifelong career in sales, and, as most have down after retirement, Andy has only continued his service to Middlesex County.
He has served as a volunteer for Amazing Grace Food Pantry since 2015. He has served on the Middlesex United Way board for over two decades, including board president. He is the past recipient of our Community Service Award in 2003. He most recently has helped form our Racial Equity and Inclusion committee geared to help make Middlesex United Way a more equitable organization.
“I volunteer with the Middlesex United Way because it offers the hope and assurance that our human spirit can overcome any obstacle,” Rapp said. “We, as an organization, recognize that a successful society requires that the citizenry should engage in a civic effort that ensures the least of us enjoy the same opportunities as the greatest among us.
“I truly believe that, as FDR said, ‘The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide for those who have too little.’ Some of the best that the Middlesex United Way has to offer arises from a recognition that encouraging different opinions reveals the common ground on which progress can be made,” Rapp said.
“Serving on the Community Impact Council affirms my belief that, though people in our community may experience social and economic problems, there are many dedicated people who work exceptionally hard to address those issues and seek solutions that will have a lasting benefit to us all,” Rapp added.
“I have served on the Affordable Housing focus team for many years, because stable, affordable housing provides a strong foundation for success in life. A place to call home is a basic human right and the Affordable Housing Team works with trusted partners to make that a reality for many in our community,” he said.
Volunteering for the United Way allows me to make a lasting impact on Rapp’s community, he said.
“I learn something new at every meeting that I attend, and I am continually impressed by the positive energy that flows from the discussions, and is then translated into actions which address issues which people in our community confront on a daily basis. The volunteers all come with something to add, and great decisions are made with input from all participants,” Rapp said.
Volunteers can serve on one or more of our Community Impact teams: Education, Financial Stability, Housing, Youth Development and Wellness, and Racial Equity and Inclusion. Each team is aligned with one of our focus areas. You will work directly alongside our nonprofit partners, who provide services in these areas, as well as helping us identify and address other community needs consistent with the focus and work of your specific team.
Some responsibilities these teams will have include reviewing grant proposals, conducting site visits as needed (mainly between March and May), developing funding recommendations, reviewing reports and evaluating partner effectiveness, and reviewing and revising community-level goals and outcomes.
If this sounds like an opportunity you would be interested in, please call Christina Heckart at 860346-8695 or email email@example.com.
“We, as an organization, recognize that a successful society requires that the citizenry should engage in a civic effort that ensures the least of us enjoy the same opportunities as the greatest among us. Andy Rapp