For 24 joyful years I was witness to and part of the power of United Way of Miami-Dade – a community institution whose mission is built on the spirit of inclusion, caring and kindness and whose volunteers and staff embody that culture in everything they do. It is in that same spirit that #ConnectMiami was founded a year ago – both a celebration and a challenge to connect with one another, serve each other and embrace all who are part of this extraordinary community we call home, Miami. Like I said, joyful. I’m grateful!
In the last two months, I’ve moved on to join University of Miami! Like United Way, the U is a most significant institution in our community. Imagine my range of emotions and unknowns as I embarked on a new professional adventure.
My first official duty was to make my way to HR and provide my ID. I was seated in the lobby and noticed this card.
Note the top left—it begins:
Value differences of opinion
In that moment, I knew I had found my new home, the U. And, when I turned it over and saw how the U was taking it to the next level by inviting us to ‘catch’ our colleagues transforming lives through service, I was even more energized.
With over 17,000 students and almost 16,000 faculty and staff the U is #ConnectMiami every day, all year. Thanks to The Children’s Trust, MCCJ, The Miami Foundation, Miami Herald and United Way for founding this important call to action – to be kind, inclusive and empathic to each other.
At the U I’ve been greeted with kindness and openness from everyone I’ve met. And I’ll be sending many of these cards to my new U colleagues in the months and years to come.
I recently learned about a young man who works on the Coral Gables campus through my friend, Jayne, who had surgery and has been receiving physical therapy at the new, innovative Lennar Foundation Medical Center. She shared that each time she pulls up for therapy, she is greeted by Luis Salgado, who always has a smile on his face and words of encouragement to offer as she heads off for treatment. Not in his job description but she says that his warmth and kindness immediately embolden her; gives her the strength she needs to get through whatever painful exercises await her. He is #ConnectMiami.
That’s what we all need to do…connect with others, be empathic and kind. I’m going to find Luis and send him the Cane card – my first of many, I’m confident. Stay tuned for more on his story and the #10DaysofConnection.