Community Investment: Five Ways to Make a Difference

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Courtesy of United Way of Calgary and Area, Calgary Social Voice blog, Difference U Make, September 5, 2012

If you were given eight hours and $100 to ‘make a difference,’ what would you do and where would you even start?

For 25 summer students at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), it was a challenge worth embracing. They were split into teams of five, given $100 and asked to ‘make a difference.’ Each team’s efforts were commendable however, one team in particular went to extraordinary lengths – with just eight hours and $100 they made a difference in the lives of teenage girls from low-income homes!

The team was determined to give something physical back to the community but needed guidance on where to start. So they contacted United Way, because they realized United Way could help identify a need in the community and would also ensure the team’s original form of contribution would be upheld.

The team of inspired students loved United Way’s idea of a collection drive for ‘My Best Friend’s Closet,’ an initiative launched this year by the Making Changes Association. This program provides close to 500 teen girls from low-income households with fashionable and functional clothing to meet their back-to-school needs, while also helping to reduce the financial strain endured by their families.

To drive their impact even further, the team of students used their $100 to buy candy and other treats to make goody baskets. They then went to Stephen Avenue and PwC office floors, where the baskets were traded for donations. In the end, they raised an incredible $800!!! With the funds raised, the team went to Wal-Mart to purchase undergarments for teenage girls. For their efforts, this PwC summer student team was declared the winner of the challenge. Congrats!

Lili Bunce, Executive Director of Making Changes had nothing but wonderful comments to share about PwC and their summer students. “We were absolutely thrilled to receive the donation from PwC’s summer students. Bags filled with new underwear, bras and socks came just in time for our grand opening day of My Best Friend’s Closet initiative. PwC’s donations and support has provided the necessary resources for our teen participants. It was a delightful surprise!”

For anyone who believes change can’t happen, this team of five students proved that it can. The winning team of PwC summer students changed the lives of 500 teen girls with these five qualities:

  • Opportunity
  • Passion
  • Creativity
  • Support
  • Teamwork

If you had $100 to make a difference, what would you do?