How One Day of Volunteering Changed Two Lives Forever - United Way Bay Area
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How One Day of Volunteering Changed Two Lives Forever

March 1, 2017


Rosemary Turner, the President of UPS small package operations in the North California District, took time out of her busy schedule to share a personal story about a volunteer experience that ended up changing her life.


We posed this question: Why is it important for you to support your neighbors as a volunteer, donor, and advocate — helping folks make life changing moments and assisting them in getting out of poverty?


Turner shared the following story:


Roughly 15 years ago I took my staff to the zoo for a volunteer event with a local nonprofit that provides social services, similar to United Way’s SparkPoint program. We each paired up with a child from the school and I was paired up with a little girl with beautiful blue eyes and blond hair. Before I knew it, she wouldn’t leave my side.


This struck me as odd since we had just met and she really didn’t stray away from me the entire day. After the event I contacted her mother through the nonprofit we were working with and she said the child didn’t stop talking about her great experience at the zoo and about her interaction with me. She also revealed that the little girl was recently molested and was going through a lot of uncertainty in her life.


The mother called her daughter’s therapist and shared the child’s interaction with me at the zoo. The therapist said, for whatever reason, the girl found security in me and mentioned that if I was willing to stay in touch, it could help the girl get through this difficult time.


Now looking back on it, my husband and I have helped raise her from afar throughout her life as she has faced adversity while growing up in an often unstable environment, and we helped her when she needed it the most.


Flash forward to today, the little girl is all grown up and I just gave her a reference for a job. A few years ago I was recognized as Philadelphia’s top volunteer and before I spoke at the event, she did my introduction.


Sharing this story is special because I was a volunteer who ended up developing a special bond with a six year-old girl who needed stability in her life. My husband and I don’t have children, and she calls us mom and dad — this volunteer experience ended up having a very strong impact on my life.


About Rosemary Turner


Rosemary Turner has more than 36 years of experience in the transportation industry. Her expertise and exposure to various geographic locations throughout the United States has allowed her the ability to focus on strategic thinking and vision in a global business environment, use market insights and knowledge to accurately forecast growth and profit opportunities, build key relationships that expand the globe, and support local communities by volunteering and participating on the boards of community agencies.


She is currently the president of UPS small package operations in the North California District. Every day, she manages more than 12,000 employees that service customers in northern California and Nevada, including the major metropolitan cities of San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, Sacramento, Fresno and Reno. Learn more.