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National Volunteer Week: Hannah Puccetti

Each day during National Volunteer Week, we will share a story about one of our dedicated volunteers. We are so grateful for the commitment and passion of all volunteers in our great city. Thank you for everything you do!

Today we are profiling Hannah Puccetti, who is a member of the GAIN Team and assists with Strategic Financial Planning.

How did you decide to get involved with your programs?

In all honesty, I decided to get involved with the GAIN team because I am a bit of a nerd. I really enjoy working through models, analyzing numbers, and doing some serious damage in Excel. As a new resident to Calgary, having moved from Toronto this past summer, I knew I wanted to become more involved in the community. With this desire in mind, and knowing my affinity for all things Excel, a friend of mine suggested I get involved with the GAIN team. She explained how volunteering through the GAIN team would be a fun way to “nerd-out”. That was all I needed to hear to get involved!

Why do you volunteer with these programs?

While I originally began volunteering through the GAIN team to “nerd-out”, I continue to get more involved with the GAIN team and United Way in other capacities because I feel incredibly gratified by my contributions. When you work for the GAIN team, or volunteer through United Way in some other form, you are adding capacity that otherwise doesn’t exist. Your work is concrete and you can really see the benefit you are providing to the community. The services the GAIN team provides to agencies will ultimately allow for the important causes they serve to receive more help. Knowing that my actions contributed to that increased capacity is extremely rewarding.

How have these programs benefitted you?

Volunteering through the GAIN team has gifted me with a new perspective. The not-for-profit sector operates completely differently from the for-profit sector, and it has been interesting for me to gain insight on those disparities. I also accredit the GAIN team for helping me to become a more well-rounded individual, from both a professional and personal perspective. The projects I have worked on through the GAIN team have centred on challenges I wouldn’t have encountered otherwise, and I am grateful for that personal development opportunity.

What is your favourite part about these programs?

My favourite part about volunteering with the GAIN team is being surrounded by such incredible individuals. Every member of the GAIN team brings invaluable knowledge and expertise to the table, with most members having years and years of experience in their fields. These individuals are driven and passionate about getting involved and making a difference in the community. Their energy is infectious and being exposed to a group of people like that is transformative.

Why did you get involved with United Way?

I view United Way as a charity that strives for innovation and positive sector change, which is exactly the type of charitable organization I wanted to align myself with. I also respect that United Way doesn’t only invest capital in local causes, it invests other resources such as skilled volunteers and time. Their commitment to supporting agencies, beyond just funding, is one of the main reasons I am such an avid supporter of United Way.

Why is volunteering so important?

More and more, I believe it is important to volunteer, not only to make a positive impact on the community, but to set a positive example. The sad reality is that we are entering an era with an aging population where the younger generation isn’t becoming as involved in the community. If this trend continues, the number of volunteers available to get involved in these worthwhile causes is going to diminish steeply. By volunteering, we can lead by example and hopefully inspire the younger community members to follow.

Can you describe a specific experience you’ve had that was particularly impactful?

One moment that stands out to me as impactful occurred when I acted as a table lead at a United Way conversation café. The purpose of this event was to lead brainstorming sessions aimed at tackling the big problems our city could face over the coming years. One elderly gentleman at my table was particular inspiring with his passion and I sensed that he got a lot of joy from seeing me, as a younger person, getting involved. The day following the event, I received a note from him. He thanked me for my leadership in the community and my involvement through United Way. I was so honoured that he looked at me as a leader and believed I could generate change. His kind words provided me with a sense of empowerment and pushed me to want to get more involved.

What advice would you give someone who is considering volunteering?

Don’t just consider it – do it. It is so easy to justify that you are too busy to get involved in volunteering, but the reality is that everyone can spare a couple hours a month. Sometimes the time commitment is as small as that – just a couple hours – and yet those hours can make an exponentially larger impact on your community.

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