October 9, 2018 | By Danielle Benghiat
The UCF & United Way campaign is fortunate to have so many amazing advocates dedicated to making a difference in Central Florida. Jordan Castillo has been honored as one of the top advocates for her leadership, creativity, and enthusiasm. Jordan, like many other inspiring members of our campus community, is a shining example of the giving spirit of our Knight family.
What charities have you volunteered with? How often do you volunteer?
I’ve done some assorted volunteering throughout my life. As a younger child I was involved in Girl Scouts; I also participated in volunteerism in high school partially to help obtain my Bright Futures Scholarship. When finishing my college degree I volunteered at a long-term care facility, and I’ve done volunteer work with United Way in several capacities over the last few years.
What is your favorite memory from volunteering?
Though I have not been directly involved in this particular initiative by United Way, one of the most touching things that I’ve ever known United Way to be involved in is the founding of the Orlando United Assistance Center. The OUAC was founded in July 2016, not long after the Pulse night club tragedy. It did and still does provide valuable resources to any and all affected in any way by this event. The creation of this center is a perfect example of how United Way learns the needs of the local community in which they are located and directs resources to provide the most relevant and needed services to its community.
Learn more about the Orlando United Assistance Center here: https://orlandounitedassistancecenter.org/
Why did you begin volunteering?
I started to volunteer as a young child. My parents emphasized that there were others that may not be as fortunate as our family in some ways, or they are not as healthy as they’d like to be, or they just need a friend or support system because they are lonely or facing challenges. I have always tried hard to make people smile and be helpful in any way I can, so doing volunteer work is a natural fit for me. I am also aware that few things in life are permanent or predictable. Though I am fortunate enough to not personally utilize UW’s services right now, I never say never. I know that people of all types, from all backgrounds, fall on hard times. We could all use a little help sometimes and I’m happy to be a very small part of this wonderful, helpful, responsive machine!
Why do you serve with the UCF & United Way Campaign?
I serve with UCF and the United Way Campaign to help bring awareness. One of the things that I love most about United Way and what they do is the 2-1-1 service. 2-1-1 is a 24/7 helpline to connect you to local resources that are relevant to whatever challenges you may be facing. The challenges of life are faced by us all at one point or another, and it’s good to know that we aren’t alone and there are other people and organizations that are willing, able, and happy to help and provide resources for both the short and long term.
Learn more about United Way 2-1-1 here: https://orlandounitedassistancecenter.org/
Why is it important that we all, as a community get involved and volunteer?
I believe that all people are connected and we all have something to learn from others. When one of our own is having trouble, it should be the responsibility and the desire of the community to support those that are in need. A relevant example is the recent destruction of Puerto Rico and parts of Florida due to several record-breaking, intense hurricanes. United Way was there to help! They provided food, shelter, clothing, and other resources for those that were able to evacuate Puerto Rico and come to Central Florida, and continue to do so.
Is there is anything additional you’d like to share?
United we fight!
United we win!