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At the Ada Jenkins Center in Davidson, energetic elementary school students practice their literary skills with volunteer tutors in reading nooks designed to resemble far-off worlds like an African savannah.

United Way of Central Carolinas’ Mooresville/Lake Norman branch offered Ada’s LEARN Works tutoring program more than $51,000 this fiscal year.

With a mission to help those most in need through strategic community philanthropy, United Way of Central Carolinas serves Union, Cabarrus, Anson, Mecklenburg and Iredell counties. Non-specific donations received from individuals and corporations are pooled in the community care fund and distributed annually to the counties’ child, housing and health-based nonprofit partnering agencies.

In 2012, the Lake Norman community’s 15 partnering agencies – including Hospice and Palliative Care of Iredell County, Our Towns Habitat for Humanity and Barium Springs Home for Children – received $925,000.

The lake chapter’s second annual Day of Caring event will take place Sept. 14 this year. It offers residents of all ages the chance to roll their sleeves up, paint walls, pull weeds and organize classroom book supplies in an effort to give back to others.

According to Linda Beck, community director, there will be various projects available to volunteers in Mooresville, Davidson, Cornelius, Huntersville and Troutman.

Workers will start their day at The Cove Church in Mooresville at 8 a.m. to receive assignments and enjoy a continental breakfast. 

Jessica Stewart, who chairs the event’s committee, said 125 volunteers have signed up so far.

“By working in community gardens, parks and schools, you’re giving people the opportunity to learn about projects in the community they live in,” she said.

Companies such as Ingersoll Rand, Niagara Bottling, NGK Ceramics and Carolinas HealthCare System are partners in the event, too, Stewart said. 

“We want to bring our community together as one community, not just as individual towns, so everyone can know that people have your back,” Beck said. “It’s a great chance to serve other organizations that serve others but don’t get served themselves.”

Stewart has been involved with United Way since she graduated from the University of South Carolina at Columbia in 2007. She serves as the industry and marketing manager for the Mooresville-South Iredell Economic Development Corporation.

“Something that’s very important to me is giving back and serving my community,” she said. “This is a great way to touch several organizations.”

Beck added that the day will offer parents and children a solid understanding of worthwhile places to complete school-mandated community service hours. 

“The town has several projects in Mooresville that we’ve put into the Day of Caring where volunteers will be able to paint at parks or work and clear underbrush, or help with our community garden,” said Kim Sellers, public information officer for the Town of Mooresville and committee member for Day of Caring. “You can volunteer your time, not just your money. They can put their hands and feet to their interests.”