United Way of Southeastern Idaho; Shaping Our Communities

May 1, 2019

Do you remember when Pocatello’s revered Mountain View Cemetery was vandalized? This day shaped who I strive to be today. Many of the older monuments had crosses broken, pictures dislodged from the front, or were knocked over completely. My grandpa was a quiet man and not one for shows of anger. I could feel his humble disappointment that day. And his determination. I remember going with him to the cemetery where he brought the tools to attempt repairs on every damaged stone. It was a seemingly perpetual afternoon with few words spoken. Grandpa methodically went from monument to monument to address the damage on long forgotten graves bare of flowers and other tokens of remembrance. He wasn’t driven to do this because people were watching. He did it to right a wrong committed against our community as a whole. This particular day was the moment the culture I had been raised in became personal to me. It became part of my internal drive, leading my intentional pursuit for positive contributions to my family, friends and community.

I was born and raised in Pocatello and come from a family of business owners. My grandparents owned quite a few businesses throughout the years but during my lifetime they owned William Walker Monument Company. They took pride in our community and never turned away from a project that would lend in making our community better. I grew up in a culture that supported service to my community.

I began working as the Office Coordinator for United Way of Southeastern Idaho almost 2 years ago. I have to be honest, I didn’t really know what United Way did. These last 2 years have been a learning experience for me and I’ve come to realize that I have always been ‘Living United.’

“Underneath everything we are, underneath everything we do, we are all people. Connected, interdependent, united. And when we reach out a hand to one, we influence the condition of all. That’s what it means to Live United. “

Improvement starts with a single action. Making a difference and improving our community doesn’t need to be something you do as part of a larger event or group. It can be quiet. It can be personal. It can be setting an example for your children and grandchildren, creating opportunity so the next generation Lives United with the knowledge that they are also responsible for making Southeastern Idaho a little more interdependently connected and balanced: Change!

United Way of Southeastern Idaho’s mission is to change the world starting in our own backyard. Through partnerships that bring people and organizations together, we’re giving everyone the chance to live their best life. To do this, we fund over 33 life-changing programs in Southeastern Idaho that focus on education, health and financial stability. United Way of Southeastern Idaho recognizes thriving only happens when our community members are alleviated from simply trying to survive!

We are invested in long-term change. Lasting change starts with our youngest children. By preparing and supporting them in school, connecting family and community support, and providing education and growth opportunities, we can create a healthier and more financially stable community.

Today is the day we ask our community members to give back to the community through donations to essential hand-up nonprofits that strategize and contribute to create positive change every day in Southeastern Idaho. This is the perfect day to reminisce on your moment when you realized the obvious need to allocate for and nurture the growth in our community. Or today is your significant moment of awareness and call to action. I encourage you to join the spirited momentum of Idaho Gives! Donate to United Way of Southeastern Idaho or any nonprofit you choose to invest in.

I am grateful to work for United Way of Southeastern Idaho. My job is not only my livelihood, it’s my part in the big picture of the village that Unites us. I get to be part of a vision and a mission that I truly believe in. That I was raised in. We are small but we are mighty. We are out there balancing the scales. Not because people are watching. Because we are more than the fundraisers. We are the hand raisers and we are the game changers!

Molly Olson is a native of Southeastern Idaho. She attended Idaho State University earning her degree in psychology. When she isn’t working, she and her family enjoy going to a variety of community events, taking road trips, and enjoying the beautiful outdoors in Idaho.