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Marlene Aldrich first volunteered for the Mayor’s Give a Day/Week of Service years ago when she worked for the University of Phoenix. She and a team of co-workers painted and cleaned a local Boys and Girls Club. They enjoyed it so much that several of them returned on a regular basis to read to the children. “I think we really made a difference for those kids, and I know it was a win-win for us,” Marlene says. “It meant a lot to me to hear them say, ‘Hi, Ms. Marlene’ every time I came in.” Volunteering also solidified the friendship Marlene and her co-workers shared, and they remain close even though they no longer work together.

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Marlene knows as well as anyone that life doesn’t always go the way we hope. After losing her job, Marlene soon became homeless. As a U.S. Navy veteran Marlene was able to work with Operation Victory and the Metro United Way to acquire the home in which she lives. At the start of 2019, Marlene was informed her current job was being eliminated, so she finds herself seeking employment again. Her own hardships have not kept her from volunteering to help others. In fact, she finds strength in giving to others. “It doesn’t cost anything to volunteer, but what you get is priceless. It takes away anxiety and builds feelings of self-worth, something that is critical when going through hard times,” Marlene says. “Plus, great networking opportunities come from it. When I went back and helped build a home for someone else, I made a connection that led to a new job.”

Through the Mayor’s Give a Day/Week of Service, individuals and groups can donate their time by choosing from a list of service opportunities in our community. In celebration of Louisville’s core value of compassion, Mayor Greg Fischer called for the first day of service in 2011. It has since grown into a week-long event, which, in 2018, brought more than 205,000 volunteers and acts of compassion. This year’s event will take place from April 13-20, 2019.

Individuals or groups can participate by

  • Creating their own service project
  • Working with established organizations by performing a service they need
  • Going here to choose and register from select service opportunities

Can’t volunteer but still want to help? Go to the website and donate money toward supplies needed for the service projects.

Marlene invites everyone to join her for the event this year. She says, “People may have a million reasons why they can’t volunteer, but I know the benefits will exceed any of those reasons.”

Extra tidbit: This woman came up with a great idea for helping women gain more power and visibility.

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