Their view: Consider using your ‘power’ to help children

Bill Jones - Guest Columnist | August 12th, 2017 11:39 am

A little over a year ago at a conference in Harrisburg, I was in the audience when U.S. Sen. Bob Casey was speaking about the importance of early childhood education. He spoke passionately about the needs in our communities and the benefits of investing in young children. His message really aligned with the work of the United Way of Wyoming Valley and I appreciated his insights.

What I remember most about his presentation, however, was a line he used from his late father, former Gov. Robert Casey. The senator said his father would often challenge others by saying, “What did you do when you had the power to do it?”

What an awesome question! What did you do when you had the power to do it?

When we think of “having power,” we usually associate that with having a certain kind of job like being an elected official, a company leader, a school principal, etc. Having a position of power, of course, can be helpful in getting things done.

Yet, the reality is that we all have “power.” We all have the power to be kind; the power to help others; the power to support a cause with our time, abilities, resources, and our voice; and the power to advocate or influence actions. If we choose, we all have the power to be a means for good.

Over the course of the past couple of months, the United Way of Wyoming Valley has had a summer full of activities and we have been preparing for our 2017 campaign which kicks off on Sept. 7. In the middle of all this planning, as many of my friends and readers know, my father passed away last month.

As a former high school basketball coach, a square dance caller, an elected official and a salesman for most of his career, my father was a well-known figure. Since the time of his passing, I have heard many wonderful stories about his relationships, the influence he had on so many, and the causes he helped with his talents. In hearing those stories, I was reminded of former Gov. Casey’s challenge, and I believe that my father used his gifts and whatever power he had to do a lot of good throughout his life.

I was blessed to have a close relationship with my father all through my entire life. My dad was and will always be an inspiration to me. He was proud of the work I am doing and, like him, I hope I could use whatever gifts, talents and power I may have to do good for others and our community.

As the United Way of Wyoming Valley kicks off its annual campaign, it will be my sixth campaign as the president of the organization. Through the United Way, there are endless opportunities to do good, and I would like to invite all of us to consider the power we have to make a difference. Those who have the ability to give, the time to volunteer, or the voice to be an advocate, have the power to impact children, families and others in need in our community.

If you are asked the question, “what did you do when you had the power to do it,” what will your answer be? As the United Way looks forward to this year’s campaign, please consider supporting our work of helping the children of our community live a life of possibility.

Many thanks to all who use the power they have to do good.

Bill Jones

Guest Columnist

Bill Jones is President and CEO at United Way of Wyoming Valley. He can be reached at 829-6711 ext. 1230.