Introducing Volunteer Voices. Through these blogs, videos and photos you'll have the chance to meet United Way Volunteers who LIVE UNITED by engaging in our community.
United Way of Marion County is dedicated to providing a wide variety of resources and options for you to get involved. To learn more about ways you can be involved visit volunteermarioncounty.org.
"From a very young age, I knew I wanted to have a positive impact on the world. My experience with volunteering began when I joined the Girls Scouts in grade school. As a Girl Scout, I began to understand what it meant to serve others, not just myself. My desire for making the world a better place blossomed in high school and throughout my undergraduate program, where I luckily attended schools that put a large emphasis on serving and leading. I was a part of several service groups and really felt myself grow when I was giving back to others using the creative gifts I have been blessed with.
I moved to Central Florida from Cleveland, OH almost 11 years ago and one of the first things I noticed was the void I felt from leaving my service work behind. As any millennial would do, I took to the internet to try and find a cause that would help me connect back with the part of me that loved to give. Unfortunately, I kept coming up empty-handed, I was not able to find a cause or purpose I was truly passionate about until I moved to Ocala.
Moving to Ocala was like a breath of fresh air as far as my service life was concerned. Through my job, I was able to get plugged in right away with likeminded individuals who had the desire to make the community a better place for all. I started off on the Marketing and PR subcommittee for the United Way of Marion County and in five years, I now sit on the Executive Board and chair the Marketing and PR subcommittee. I am also a board member for the Girl Scouts of West Central Florida and in my free time, I “volunteer” my time by plogging (jogging and picking up litter) throughout Ocala.
My experience serving on these various boards and being involved with awesome organizations like the United Way of Marion County invigorate me because not only am I able to give back and do my part to make the Ocala/Metro a better place to live in, but I also get to see the circle of volunteers grow and that is so encouraging to me.
To me, volunteering means setting an example of helping others, being courageous, doing what is right, even if that isn’t always easy, teaching, and most importantly, learning. I have learned so much about myself and my community because of my role as a volunteer. What I love about volunteering is there are so many ways to do it. People can give of their time, treasure, or talent. Personally, giving my time and talent are most important to me as I enjoy seeing what is being accomplished through my volunteering. If someone is interested in becoming more engaged as a volunteer, I would encourage them to think about what kind of world they want to live in, and then find causes that support that change or impact. We are fortunate to have so many organizations in our community who are wanting to make a positive difference in the world and that can only happen through individuals like me and you."
Lauren Debick, APR, CLC, CEC is the Director of Public Relations and Communications for Ocala Health
. In addition to her role at Ocala Health, Lauren is also the founder and owner of Life Coaching
with Lauren, a coaching firm that works with women on personal and professional confidence building techniques. Lauren serves on the Florida Public Relations Association
Ocala Chapter board, the Executive Board for the United Way of Marion County, and the board of directors for the Girl Scouts of West Central Florida
. Lauren is also the host of the “Graceful Confidence