Community Impact

Paul serves as the Community Impact Manager of United Way of Rock River Valley.

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Paul Nolley

Paul Nolley

Paul leads the community impact and investment process in both Winnebago and Ogle counties. A native of the Rockford region, Paul has an array of experience in community development, program and advocacy work.

Spending time outside is well-documented for its health benefits among health professionals, reports the U.S. National Library of Medicine. In fact, you are bombarded with an endless array of learning opportunities and mental health-boosting nutrients every time you step outdoors, but these benefits are easy to overlook. Take a closer look at some of the exciting ways parks can help improve community health too.

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While April showers may bring May flowers, finding ways to pass the time can be difficult. However, you can make great use of your time while the rain falls by exploring volunteer opportunities in Rock River Valley. In fact, think about giving back to the community through these easy and rewarding ways to volunteer during the rainy season.

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Deciding to volunteer and signing up to volunteer are two different things. You may have the best of intentions, but finding volunteer opportunities in Rock River Valleys is not always easy. While you can keep an eye out for such opportunities as you go about your day, use these tips to find new, exciting and heart-warming opportunities in your community.

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Volunteering is an excellent way to give back to your community. You can encourage others to persevere through troubling hardship and more, but community service can also have major health and psychological benefits for you as well.

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Everyone experiences financial stress, whether you’re new to the workforce, trying to make big life decisions or looking towards retirement. Here in Rockford, IL region, we’re certainly not immune to that.

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"If you give a pig a pancake, she'll want some syrup to go with it. You'll give her some of your favorite maple syrup, and she'll probably get all sticky, so she'll want to take a bath. She'll ask you for some bubbles. When you give her the bubbles..."

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When you finally land that job you've been hoping for, you don't let anything get in your way—not even being homeless. Things had finally turned around for Jesse and he was grateful to be working at a production warehouse, but he still wasn't able to afford an apartment. But when Jesse had his taxes prepared at United Way's Volunteer Income Tax Assistance site, he found out that he'd be getting the Earned Income Tax Credit. He and his wife Juana used their return to move out of their car and into a home.

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When you think of a vegetable — let's say a sweet potato — chances are you can easily think of several ways to prepare it, or at least ways in which others have prepared it for you. Now think of what it would be like to have little or no knowledge of what a sweet potato is or how to cook it. Then apply that scenario to the most common vegetables we consume each day. This exercise may help you understand the experience that countless individuals go through each day. Many families, especially households with low incomes, do not eat the recommended daily amount of fruits and vegetables. This can be contributed to a limited access to fresh produce or knowledge of nutrition and how to prepare these foods.1 In Rockford, this is more common than you may think. For over six years, United Way has invested in a healthy living program that addresses this community need in a way that is fun, engaging and inspiring for all those involved.

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