Trident United Way Day of Caring activities are barely wrapped up for the current year before Volunteer Engagement Manager Amanda Netsch starts hearing the familiar question “What color will next year’s shirts be?”
While people participate in Day of Caring for a host of reasons, a perk of participation has always been the complimentary t-shirt that proudly associates volunteers with the single largest one-day community service event in the Tri-County region. The shirts can frequently be spotted year-round around town and seasoned participants have several years of shirts to choose from as a new color or design is featured each year.
So what is it about these shirts that makes people so excited to participate in Day of Caring and proud enough to wear them all year round?
“Having the t-shirt forms a unity in the group and identifies them as volunteers for a common purpose, like a football team,” Richard Anderson, resources coordinator for the Department of Pediatrics at MUSC said. “They really get a kick out of it, so it’s fun.”
Anderson first got MUSC Pediatrics involved in Day of Caring in 2010 and his team volunteers every year with Spann Elementary School in Summerville, S.C.
This year’s shirt continues the circle theme that began in 2016 and introduces a new color to the Day of Caring lineup: Carolina Blue. The color choice was made to match the organization’s new Live United shirts, which are the same color.
“We chose the circles design last year because the mission of Day of Caring and volunteer engagement is to UNITE your team, ENGAGE in Day of Caring and year-round volunteer opportunities and make a real IMPACT in our community,” Netsch said. “When you volunteer with a team, your impact is exponentially larger than if you volunteer alone so we really wanted a design that speaks to that team aspect and that people would want to wear year after year.”
This year will be Trident United Way’s 17th Day of Caring, dating back to 2000 as the inaugural year. Over that time, tens of thousands of volunteers have helped hundreds of nonprofit agencies and schools around the Tri-County with everything from planting and tending gardens to refinishing furniture, cleaning up parks and beautifying senior homes and schools . In 2016 alone, 6,005 Day of Caring participants provided more than $500,000 of in-kind volunteer labor to the community.*
This year, Trident United Way has 270 projects and currently has 94 teams of 4,574 volunteers registered. Team registration runs through Nov. 3 – check out http://epledge.tuw.org/Volunteer/VolHome.jsp and Search Day of Caring to see available opportunities and to register your team!
*Amount calculated using the SC volunteer hourly rate as determined by Independent Sector and the number of volunteer hours.
TUW Volunteer Engagement Manager Amanda Netsch has compiled a collection of 11 of the 17 Day of Caring t-shirts that have existed over the life of the event, but is always on the search to make a complete set. If you have a Day of Caring shirt that is different than those pictured and would be willing to donate it, contact Amanda at firstname.lastname@example.org.