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Why I give: Deborah Hopper

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For more than eight years, Deborah Hopper has been one of United Way Central and Vancouver Island’s biggest advocates; as a volunteer, a campaign rep, and a lead donor.

“So many people are just one paycheque away from economic disaster and can’t make ends meet,” says Hopper. “It’s a very scary reality, and because of that reality it makes the United Way’s work that much more important.”

Growing-up in Nanaimo, Deborah came from a family of entrepreneurs who were very involved in the local business community. Her parents saw the importance of giving back and made sure their family volunteered for local organizations.

Because she’s been steeped in the importance of volunteerism since she was a young girl, Deborah understands how one person can impact the life of another, “We help ourselves when we help each other, and we create a stronger society when we band together.”

Now, in her role as a union leader at Vancouver Island University she’s been further exposed to the countless social challenges facing Nanaimo residents. On the other side of the coin, it’s also given her the opportunity to see the many facets of United Way’s work and how many people benefit from it.

“Because of my role as a union rep I’ve become very aware of the economic challenges in our community. I’ve met members who can’t afford their groceries for the week or their rent for the month, which has just made me all the more aware of the important social programs available in our community and how many are supported by the United Way.”

Motivated by her desire to help others, Deborah has been a true champion for United Way.

When Vancouver Island University wasn’t able to support a representative to run a United Way fundraising campaign this year as in years past, she recruited a group of six former reps. Volunteering together with administration and other VIU employees, they ensured the United Way campaign moved forward at the university and collected essential donations.

Her sage advice to those thinking of donating or getting involved with United Way is simply, just take the leap:

“Even if you, as an individual, aren’t using services supported by United Way, there’s a good chance one of your friends, family or co-workers are. Every dollar donated can make such a huge impact on someone’s life. When you support United Way, you’re supporting your community.”