Together, We are Possibility!

Author // Shelley White

Excerpt from Shelley White's comments at the 2014 Kick-off

 Together, We are Possibility!

At United Way, we are often faced with a problem. To answer the question – what is United Way?

With an unwavering confidence, I am here to tell you exactly what we are: Together, We are Possibility!

Standing in the Ardglen neighbourhood today gives me such a range of emotions. On one hand, we are deeply saddened by the tragic events over the last year and a half - highlighted by the death of Kesean Williams in early 2013 and the devastating fire this past June.

But on the other, look around. Look at all of us. Standing together, united. Standing to make a difference, not only here but in every vulnerable neighbourhood across Peel.

One of the things I will be most proud of today is the living monument that you are all helping with today. One the side of The Journey, there is a mural that tell the community exactly what we are – Together, We Are Possibility.

The mural was designed by Night and Day Art Studio in conjunction with The Bridge, with input from the community.

The mural has three sections, each representing a municipality in Peel (Brampton, Mississauga and Caledon.)

The variety of shapes come together to form a mosaic, which is representative of the people who make up our community, our country. The roots on the mural demonstrate the strength and tenacity of our community. This mural will serve as a reminder of what we can accomplish together.

Today, in Peel Region, 13% of our residents live in poverty. That’s 160,000 people in need of a second chance, a fresh start, a healthier family and a thriving community.

We need to act, NOW. Together, as a community, we need to roll up our sleeves, and help one another. We need everyone to understand why it’s so important to give locally  and the way to guarantee that is by giving directly to United Way of Peel Region’s Community Fund – YOUR community fund.

Every year at this time, we launch our annual campaign and talk about a fundraising goal – a dollar amount that often loses context and meaning. This year, we want to change all of that.

Our goal this year, like every year, is to CHANGE LIVES – To prove that there is possibility from poverty.  

To realize this possibility, it’s going to take hardwork and contributions – from ourselves, our families, friends, neighbours… from everyone. So, not only are we minding the immediate needs of the local community. We are looking after the community for the long term.

We are a community that pulls people from poverty to possibility, that helps kids be all they can be, and that builds strong neighbourhoods.

Every number is a life. Poverty is personal. And it affects all of us. Just take a look at the list of our agency partners to see how many people we come in contact with on a daily basis. United Way helps everyday people, everyday.

We create possibility for everyone by digging deep and going the extra mile. We are the invisible web of hope. And each and every person we help, together, is living proof that with grit, courage and determination, we can win the day.

It’s time to redefine what’s possible in Peel. Donate online at

Watch the video to learn more about The Journey.

About the Author

Shelley White

Shelley White

President and CEO, United Way of Peel Region

Shelley White is the President and CEO at United Way of Peel Region. She holds a Masters of Leadership Studies from the University Guelph and a Bachelor of Physical and Health Education degree from Brock University.   Shelley has over 30 years of experience in the non profit sector.  She has held executive positions with the YMCA of Greater Toronto and the Kidney Foundation of Canada, Central Ontario Branch.

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