Middlesex United Way Young Leaders Society strengthening, improving community

Young Leaders Society, a group of young professionals under 40 interested in networking while giving back.
The organization is actively looking for energetic leaders in Middlesex County.
The Young Leaders Society provides a unique way to get involved with Middlesex United Way, give back through volunteer service, network with peers and community leaders, and develop leadership skills. The group is run by a volunteer steering committee of about a dozen young professionals from various local sectors, including business, nonprofits and government.
“When I joined the Middlesex United Way Young Leaders Society several years ago, I had no idea it would impact my life as much as it has,” Chairman Kevin Harris said. “I have made new lifelong friends, became a leader in the community, and helped create and run different projects giving back to the community. From mini-golf events to stuffing a cruiser and everything in between. Giving is great, but giving your time is invaluable.”
The Young Leaders hold various events throughout the county, and are an integral part of the Middlesex United Way efforts to strengthen and improve our county. They have successfully held Learn with Leaders, speed mentoring with local professionals, school supply drives, and various fundraising events over the years. Since March, Young Leaders have adapted by continuing to meet monthly via Zoom and plan other virtual events to support the community.
They hosted three virtual events this past year, including Exploring Microaggressions featuring LeRon Barton. They came together with other Connecticut United Way Young professionals to explore microaggressions, defining what they are and how they are harmful.
They also hosted “Elevating Black Voices: A Virtual Conversation on Racial Equity, Inclusion, and Opportunities for Collaborative Change in Middlesex County.” The event provided attendees the opportunity to listen to local Black leaders as they shared their perspectives on and helped identify issues of racial inequity, systemic racism, racial injustice and racial exclusion in Middlesex County, along with discussing how each panelist is helping to address these needs in our community.
Each holiday season, they volunteer with the Middletown Community Thanksgiving Project by hosting a weekend of Fill-a-Bus events that collects more than 2,000 food items. They also host their annual Stuff-a-Cruiser event in December, collecting gifts for underserved teenagers who would otherwise go without during the holiday season.
Even throughout the pandemic, Young Leaders made sure to continue their tradition of providing youth with holiday presents by hosting a socially distant, safe toy collection by partnering with the Middletown Police Department.
The Young Leaders will be meeting in person for the first time since the onset of the pandemic June 9 from 5 to 6 p.m. I encourage anyone interested in learning more to stop by. They will be at Concentric Brewery in Portland and I welcome anyone to stop by and meet them.