For the past 12 years, Kim Peachey has worked in the incident investigation branch of Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) in Kingston, but when her latest assignment wrapped up, she was looking for something new.
“My supervisor suggested the Sponsored Employee program with United Way,” she explained. “I had no idea what the program was and my initial thought was – oh great, am I going to have to ask people for money?”
Peachey remembered the annual workplace campaigns that took place at CSC, but she admits she didn’t really know much else about United Way. Her supervisor sent her the information about Sponsored Employees and after reading it, she was eager to join the team.
“I thought it sounded like a wonderful opportunity,” she said. “I applied and then came in one day to meet the staff and seeing everyone and their enthusiasm, made me want to do it even more. I was all in.”
United Way recruits Sponsored Employees each year – employees the organizations essentially loan to the United Way for 15 weeks, but who become a part of the day-to-day campaign team. They come from a variety of backgrounds in both the public and private sector and for the past 19 years, CSC has always provided a sponsored employee.
“We are always looking for ways that we can give beyond just the normal way– this has always been an amazing opportunity to do so,” said Peter Bennett, Assistant Deputy Commissioner, Integrated Services with Correctional Service of Canada in Kingston. “CSC is a big part of our community and so is United Way. We can provide someone who can help out and at the same time, we benefit by giving our employees an opportunity to learn and grow.”
Peachey admits that learning was one of her favourite parts of the position.
“I really felt bad about my lack of knowledge about my own community,” she said. “I loved learning about the wonderful, charitable organization United Way is and just how much they do.”
Bennett explained that CSC also uses the Sponsored Employee program as a tool to further the growth of employees.
“We use it as a leadership tool,” he said. “Everyone who has participated has returned with better management skills, they understand the inner workings of the community, are better able to coordinate with stakeholders within it, and they have a better overall perspective that will help them as they move forward with CSC.”
Peachey echoed those outcomes and acknowledged that her time with United Way changed her and allowed her to grow. She even had an opportunity to get involved with agencies and see first hand what they do – something she shared with her kids.
“I was able to bring my kids to some of the events and show them what United Way does too, it is important for them to be exposed to this side of the community,” she said. “Now I’d be happy to tell anyone in the community what United Way does – and even ask them for donations!”
Overall, Peachey hopes that more employers in KFL&A take notice of the Sponsored Employee program and the benefits it provides to both them and the employee.
“I was completely energized by the experience,” she said. “I can’t say enough good things about the experience.”
The United Way recruits 4-5 Sponsored Employees every year, providing an intensive training program in late August, with the Sponsored Employees working on the campaign till the end of November. To learn more about United Way’s Sponsored Employee program and how to apply, visit https://www.unitedwaykfla.ca/get-involved/sponsored-employees/