WebHdr_Volunteerism Community Engagement & Volunteerism | The Power of a Helping Hand

United Way’s Community Engagement Team stewards the largest community volunteer force in Southern Nevada. A vital community resource that connects individuals, families, groups and corporations to fun, meaningful and impactful volunteer opportunities in southern Nevada, we have amassed a near army of dedicated and passionate volunteers. A deeply rewarding experience, whether you’re 18 or 80, a high school student or a retiree, volunteers make both immediate and lasting change, improving lives and building a stronger community fabric person by person. We inspire, equip and mobilize people to change lives through volunteerism and activation of groups, corporation and individuals.

Via our volunteer website, we engage more than 14,000 individuals with year round opportunities to make a difference through time energy and passion. Whether a volunteer is looking to read to children, prepare taxes for qualifying families, assemble hygiene kits, or warm a family around the holidays, UWSN can connect you to an project in need of your help. Whether you are looking to volunteer for an hour, a day, a week or all year long, we promise that your time will be time well spent for all. We also will take care of all the details, so all you have to do is show up ready to help. Custom projects can also be designed. Please call 892-2322 for a proposal.


For those individuals who are looking for an opportunity to make an amazing difference in southern Nevada through a one or two-year commitment to the community, United Way of Southern Nevada coordinates national AmeriCorps and AmeriCorps VISTA programs, offering  education awards and real world experience.

Thousands of AmeriCorps volunteers of all ages from across the country donate millions of hours of service each year towards education, public safety, health, and the environment. The variety of service opportunities is almost unlimited. Members may tutor and mentor youth, build affordable housing, teach computer skills, clean parks and streams, run after-school programs, or help communities respond to disasters. AmeriCorps members assigned through UWSN serve part-time, at a minimum of 900 hours during their 12 month term of service. Results from a longitudinal study of AmeriCorps members and surveys of members, alumni, and the organizations where members served examined the impacts of national service on members’ civic engagement, education, employment, and life skills. Findings reveal that AmeriCorps alumni are more connected to their communities, continue to participate in community activities, and choose public service careers after their service with AmeriCorps.
AmeriCorps VISTA
Similarly, AmeriCorps VISTA members help build the capacity of our nonprofit community via citizen mobilization and volunteer leadership development. Founded in 1963 by President John F. Kennedy, it merged with the Peace Corps in the 1970’s and became unofficially known as the ‘Domestic Peace Corps’.  By engaging citizens through training, volunteer projects and deeper community engagement, the VISTA program strengthens the foundation and infrastructure for community involvement, neighborhood empowerment, and resident leadership. VISTA members serve full time for 12 months and earn a living allowance of $12,192.

Making an Impact in Our Community
UWSN’s Community Engagement Team engages people in volunteer opportunities where they can share their talents, learn new skills and create positive change as individuals. We also host a large National Day of Service and Corporate Service Projects throughout the year.

  • More than 332,000 hours of service were donated, helping to improve community conditions through critical projects
  • Nearly 24,540 volunteers were activated to unique community wide service projects, driving immediate community change
  • More than 14,559 transformative volunteer opportunities were offered, supporting multiple needs across the community.

Time and talent is critical to delivering solutions to the problems facing our community.

Workplace Engagement
We regularly partner with local businesses and corporations to design days of service for their team members. Corporations repeatedly comment on the “esprits de corps” in their workforce generated from community service. We see that those that volunteer through the workplace are appreciative to have the opportunity to do so, and have a greater outlook on their work and in life in general. Along with making a difference in the lives of those living in southern Nevada, corporate teams who volunteer build morale, improve leadership skills, open lines of communication and help employees feel good about the organization for which they work. We are able to create volunteer projects which support a variety of impact areas, including education, financial stability and health. Please see our Guide to Changing Lives to find an opportunity.

The Immeasurable Value of Volunteerism
While the Independent Sector has assigned an hourly value of a volunteer’s time, we view every hour spent as immeasurable. Every hour given has such enormous impact on the community and on the outlook of the volunteer that in our view, that time is priceless. According to the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB), the value of volunteer services can be used on financial statements –- including statements for internal and external purposes, grant proposals, and annual reports –- only if a volunteer is performing a specialized skill for a nonprofit. The general rule to follow when determining if contributed services meet the FASB criteria for financial forms is to determine whether the organization would have purchased the services if they had not been donated.

Chris Cappas

Senior Director,
Community Engagement/H.R.

With over 25 years of Human Resource and Employee Engagement experience, Chris has earned countless awards for her deep community involvement and excellence in the workplace. Chris’ experience working for best-in-breed corporate entities allows her to understand the nuances of varying corporate cultures and how to empower employees. At UWSN, Chris creates meaningful, seamless intersections between individuals, companies, and experiences.

Lynn Stewart

Community Engagement

Lynn is an avid volunteer and sees herself as a conduit for community impact. Lynn’s ultra-positive outlook on life makes her a natural born cheerleader, dedicated to encouraging others to reach their greatest potential. With over 10 years of experience in the non-profit industry, Lynn started her journey as a graduate of University of Houston, and then, Southern California’s Olive Crest. With an eye toward honing her customer service and employee engagement skills, Lynn spent some time working in the Casino Industry with Caesar’s entertainment. Lynn works with Chris Cappas to activate meaningful employee engagement opportunities for our donors, campaigns, employees, and community members.

community engagement news

Volunteers | “Smile” kits 10.4.14

Holi”DAY” of Giving Helps Families Across the Valley


On December 2, 2014, United Way staff and volunteers from across the community stood shoulder to shoulder during the Holi”DAY” of Giving, a special opportunity to assemble useful gifts for southern Nevada families.

Volunteers assembled 150 holiday stockings for children ages birth to five at two United Way partner preschool centers, Hill and Dale Child Development Center and The Hills Preschool. The stockings included books, candy canes, toothbrushes and a handmade card with a holiday message on it. According to the director of Hill and Dale, Tamy Gates, “the children were beyond excited and surprised to get these gifts and the parents kept saying how thankful they were to be part of this center and have this community partnership with United Way.”

We assembled 150 stockings with hygiene kits for children that may not have their own toothbrush, while providing healthy treats to help protect families from the sick season. We also created 30 holiday dinner baskets with recipes and handmade cards for families in our Family Stability program, who receive family and child financial education classes and workforce enhancement training.

“It is miraculous to watch people come together and volunteer their time,” said United Way President and CEO Cass Palmer. “What we can do in just a few hours is staggering.”

As a result of the hard work and dedication of our volunteers, families enjoyed the dinner baskets we assembled, children shrieked with glee at their first toothbrush, and children in our partner preschools received the beautifully adorned stockings. Kindness, generosity and the spirit of the holidays were in the air!

Thank you for supporting the families that we work with in our Education, Health and Financial Stability programs.


Engaging Our Community for a Brighter Future

When it comes to creating healthier communities, what makes a difference is engaging community members to work together towards creating a brighter future for the whole community. United Way’s Volunteer Center has evolved into a hub of Community Engagement, which brings together companies, organizations and individuals to make real, lasting change in the areas of…Continue Reading

Dynamic Duo Leads Largest Volunteer Force in Southern Nevada

They are only a two-person team, but together they manage the largest volunteer force in southern Nevada. Comprised of Chris Cappas, Senior Director and Jacob Murdock, Manager, the dynamic duo leading United Way’s Volunteer Center helped to connect over 24,000 volunteers to unique community wide service projects in 2011-2014. With over 20 years of human resource…Continue Reading

Children Play and Pledge to Read at 2014 Flip Through Summer

It was a day to remember, as children explored “book nooks” and created the “World’s Greatest Story” at “Flip Through Summer” on Saturday, May 31, at Lorenzi Park. Hosted by United Way of Southern Nevada, in partnership with the City of Las Vegas, the event inspired children to continue reading during the summer months. City of…Continue Reading

NGAGE: Next Generation Actively Gaining Experience

Hosted by 8 News NOW Anchors Paul Joncich and Denise Valdez, over 300 students, parents and school representatives attended the NGAGE (Next Generation Actively Gaining Experience) Recognition event on Monday, April 21, recognizing students from 30 high schools. The program inspired 1,122 students to get involved and contribute 502,350 hours of service since April 2013. During the event,…Continue Reading

Volunteers in Action | Kohl’s Cares

Kohl’s is focused on giving back to the community and engaging employees in volunteering and making a difference. Kohl’s recently partnered with United Way’s Volunteer Center on March 29 to create Survival Kits for Crestwood Elementary School third, fourth and fifth grade students who are taking the Criterion Referenced Test (CRT). Taking these tests is a stressful activity…Continue Reading

Anheuser-Busch Employees Help Create Lasting Change at Gary Reese Freedom Park

On Sunday, February 23, over 450 Anheuser-Busch employees came together to leave a lasting mark in southern Nevada by revitalizing Gary Reese Freedom Park. “Today you are truly living out your credo: Our World. Our Responsibility,” said Cass Palmer, United Way of Southern Nevada President and CEO. “The benefits of positive surroundings cannot be measured;…Continue Reading