Karlee BerezayKarlee Berezay

The morning after I graduated college I felt like I had been hit by a bus, a bus full of existentialists and explorers. I was simultaneously excited to officially “start” the rest of my life and terrified to leave the comfort of being a student. With the “go to college” part of my list checked off I was on to the “get a good job” phase of life. As a graduate in sociology the sky was my limit with no set direction, and as a very active student I was picky about what jobs were going to allow me to still be involved in my community. The summer wore on me and I began to worry that I wasn’t going to find a job at all, let alone, one that would meet all my requirements. I became a little frantic, but knew that something had to come through soon.

It was early September when I started my first day at ViaWest as the Regional Office Coordinator. The office I would be working at was located 50 minutes south of where I was living at the time. I knew nothing about Hybrid IT Solutions and I hadn’t even asked if they had any community involvement initiatives. There was just something about this job that felt right and that first day, I was “first date” nervous.

I was given an agenda of my first week from my manager Shanon. It was full of the usual trainings, lunches, and meeting people — but then there was something different. One of my days was marked with “Day of Caring”. Shanon explained that we would be participating in the United Way’s Day of Caring service project. She went on to tell me that ViaWest has worked with United Way for quite some time and that as a company it is part of our core values to be involved in volunteer work. Also, part of my new job position would include working with our representative from United Way to plan volunteer projects, fundraisers, and donation drives for our staff to participate in. I was glowing…and a little mind blown.

At Day of Caring I had the chance to meet some of the other employees from our various locations and get my hands dirty with some yard work. It was a beautiful day to be volunteering and it felt great to be getting involved. As much as I am thankful that United Way of Salt Lake gave my company the opportunity to come and help give back to our community, I was even more grateful to United Way for giving me the opportunity to bond with my new coworkers. I realized that day that all the worries I had the morning after graduation weren’t worries anymore. I had a great job with great people at a company with great values, and United Way of Salt Lake helped me see that.

Now, a few months later, I still love my new job. I actually know what ViaWest does, and I am proud to work for a company that values volunteer work as much as I do. And my United Way representative, McCall, and I are pretty much best friends. Ever since we met I feel like we’ve been on a collaborative planning spree. ViaWest recently hosted a UWSL volunteering seminar, where we collaborated to lay out our volunteer plans for the holidays! I know that our involvement with United Way of Salt Lake has made a huge impact for our employees and myself, and I can’t wait to see what comes of our collaboration in the future!

Thank you for helping us LIVE UNITED!