Coming full circle
“I’ve been involved in United Way in a lot of different ways,” says Chantel Guthrie, “and it’s been life changing.”
Indeed in her 25 years, Chantel’s life has intersected with United Way repeatedly and significantly. Growing up in a single-parent household, she benefited from social services funded through the generosity of United Way supporters. Today, she works as the children and youth program coordinator at Central Neighbourhood House, a United Way-funded agency. A recent graduate of a leadership development program for young adults offered by United Way and the University of Toronto, she is also completing a mentorship and community project.
Recognition of the impact of United Way’s work propelled Chantel to take a leading role in her workplace campaign and volunteer as a scenario participant in a unique poverty simulation exercise offered in workplaces. Whether fundraising through bake sales and silent auctions or educating Toronto executives about barriers encountered by those living in poverty, confidence and camaraderie have been welcome by-products of her involvement.
“The best part of volunteering are the doors that have been opened to me and the confidence I’ve gained through interacting with people,” enthuses Chantel. “And it’s nice that even though we’re not from the same field, we come together for the same cause.”
Coming full circle, Chantel is poised to extend those opportunities for growth to a new group of young people with a full-day empowerment conference she’s hosting for teenage girls.
“Working with girls is where my passion is—helping them reach their full potential and value their self-worth. Now with this conference I get to put my passion into reality. It’s almost a dream come true.”