Dr. Selma D. Yznaga, Associate Professor at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, joined the Board of Directors on July 1, 2018. We wondered what motivated a busy university professor to volunteer for United Way of Southern Cameron County.
What was your first contact with United Way?
My first contact with United Way was as an elementary school teacher listening to a United Way Board Member campaign for support. I was impressed by the presentation and I'm pretty sure I've donated every year that I worked in public schools. I am sure that my parents, who modeled community advocacy for me, donated as well.
How did you become involved with United Way of Southern Cameron County?
Ronnie Rodriguez, the current Board Chair, noticed how committed I am to community service and thought it would be a good fit for me to work on the Board. I agree! This is a way for me to give back in a much larger way to my beloved southern Cameron County.
What do you like about serving as a member of the Board of Directors?
I love being with people who have the same passion that I have: increasing the quality of life in our community. I appreciate how hard each board member works to reaise funds to support community-based projects. UWSCC offers fiscal support to grassroots groups who can really make a sustainable difference.
Has anything surprised you as you've become more involved and have learned more?
As a donor, I wasn't aware of the impact of UWSCC program funding. I knew the donations went to good causes, but I didn't realize that the donations stay in our community for use by people who are "on the ground" and know firsthand what is needed. Now I can connect the local projects to donations and help people feel good about where their money goes. United Way of Southern Cameron County gives each member of the community a way to be a part of a larger effort to improve lives.
Why do you support United Way of Southern Cameron County?
As cliched as it sounds, it really does take a village to raise a child. Southern Cameron County is my village, and I feel the responsibility to contribute to its success. When we can lift up the community by supporting projects that increase education and job opportunities, it's a win for all of us.
Is there anything I didn't ask you that you'd like for people to know about you or United Way of Southern Cameron County?
United Way of Southern Cameron County belongs to all of us. Some people might wonder what good their individual donation can do for a large community. To use another cliche, does it make a difference when I can throw only one or two beached starfish at a time back into the sea? By volunteering to do pro bono counseling and training, I've been throwing starfish back into the sea one by one, and I'll continue to do so. However, being a part of United Way of Southern Cameron County is like being a part of a huge group that can throw hundreds of starfish into the sea. Together we really can make a difference for all.