United Way of Northwest Vermont
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National Volunteer Week spotlight: Action Team volunteer Alex Lehning advocates for student mental health

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The Messenger is doing a series of stories on volunteers who have served with United Way of Northwest Vermont in honor of National Volunteer Week.

Alex Lehning is a volunteer with the Action Team for United Way’s Mental Health Initiative. The Action Team focuses on strengthening resources for suicide prevention, and Alex is a strong advocate for suicide prevention education and student mental health.

“I believe that volunteers who share their time and talents through giving back and doing good are doing essential work,” Lehning said.

Q. Why did you decide to volunteer with this group?

I volunteer for the United Way of Northwest Vermont because of their community impact model – I know they are bringing expertise, ideas, funding, and collaboration to help address some of the most urgent needs facing Vermonters. I am a member of the Suicide Prevention Action Team because I believe our work can help save lives and provide critical support/resources to an important issue that impacts all of us.

Q. What are some of the challenges you have overcome as a volunteer and how have they impacted you?

I know that our work in the Mental Health Initiative has made a difference in terms of education, access, and equity for those who are seeking mental health care supports when we know the need is greater than ever

Q. What lessons have you learned or benefits have you discovered from being a volunteer?

I have learned so much about collective impact – the philosophy that we are truly stronger, together. I know that United Way makes a difference in our neighborhoods, schools, communities, and businesses by encouraging us to bring out the best in ourselves for each other.

Q. What would you tell someone who is thinking about volunteering at your organization?

I would tell someone who is looking to make a positive difference that the United Way of Northwest Vermont has meaningful opportunities which can align with their interests, passions, and capacity

Q. How has being a volunteer shaped your life? Is there anything you do or think about differently?

I know that volunteering is not only good for my community, but is helpful for my head and my heart.  I believe that volunteers who share their time and talents through giving back and doing good are doing essential work. I know I am a stronger leader, a more empathetic learner, and a better person because of my volunteering.