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Volunteer Spotlight: Linda Showalter

Linda Showalter is active in Women United and many other United Way programs. Linda Showalter is active in Women United and many other United Way programs.

Linda Showalter

United Way of Henderson County


What do you do in your volunteer job?

I’ve done a number of activities since I started volunteering at United Way. I am on the Executive Committee of Women United and have participated in many activities sponsored by them. My biggest job had been as the Women United liaison for the Hillandale Elementary School Girls Empowered (GEM) program. The GEM program started at Upward Elementary as a 9-session after-school program led by two teachers and the school counselor. A Women United Executive Committee member works with them in recruiting speakers and planning activities to help a small group of fifth grade girls develop leadership skills. Each week the program focuses on topics such as empowerment, ambition, perseverance, passion, beauty and confidence, and commitment, with Women United volunteers assisting teachers in carrying out the session activities. After volunteering for some of those sessions, I was asked to work with the staff at Hillandale Elementary to implement the program there. I select the speakers for the sessions and work with the United Way staff and teachers in gathering material for snacks, activities, etc. As you can imagine, the program had to be revised in major ways because of Covid, and I have been working with the Hillandale and United Way staffs to find ways to safely provide some GEM programming for the girls while also providing support for the over-burdened teachers and counselors.
I’ve also volunteered as part of the United Way Days of Caring by organizing rooms at Safelight, cleaning trophy cases at Hendersonville High, and mulching at Etowah Elementary School. This year the WU Days of Caring focused on collecting food for the 13 food banks in Henderson County. I organized my Mountain Valley neighborhood and we collected over 700 pounds of food for Interfaith Assistance Ministries.
Women United members participate in the annual Blessings in Boxes program and I’ve helped with collecting items for children and planning and organizing our Women United Holiday event to gather everyone’s donations to be taken to The Storehouse for distribution. Last year, I volunteered to make Chex Mix for goodie bags to give to all of the Women United members as they dropped off their donations. By popular request, I agreed to do so again this year, though I have recruited several volunteers to come to my house for a Chex making day rather than doing it all by myself!

How long have you been volunteering?

I first started volunteering in Henderson County when I retired in about 2010. I knew that if I weren’t employed, I needed something to do that gave me a sense of purpose and a reason to get out of the house. My financial advisor nominated me to the board of The Free Clinics where I served for six years, two as president. I still volunteer there. I think I joined Women United in 2017 and was asked to join the Executive Committee in 2018.

What's the best thing about volunteering?

Getting to know many wonderful people throughout Henderson County is the best! I’ve developed some great friendships, learned a lot about Henderson County, and felt a great sense of fulfillment because of my volunteer activities.

Why do you volunteer?

Expressing gratitude has long been a prime value for me. I have so much for which I am grateful in my life. Volunteering my time is a way of giving back to my community and helping others who can benefit from my skills and endeavors. I enjoy having activities that allow me to utilize my interests and skills, get out into the community, meet new people, and challenge me to grow mentally, spiritually, and emotionally.

If someone is interested in volunteering, what advice would you give based on your own experience?

We have so many wonderful non-profit organizations in Henderson County. Just find a need or cause that tugs at your heart and United Way can help you find an organization that will enable you to express yourself through volunteering to help that organization’s mission. If the first place you try doesn’t seem like a good fit, try somewhere else. Even if you’re homebound for some reason, there’s plenty of work that can be done from phone or computer (as we’ve all discovered from our Covid time!). Volunteering is fun and enlarges your sense of your community and your own abilities. The sense of accomplishment and joy that comes from helping others is great therapy for anyone.