The Westside Future Fund (WFF) has been fortunate to have dedicated volunteers who are passionate about transforming our Historic Westside neighborhoods into a thriving community. Among these remarkable individuals is Shaun Young, whose experience with the WFF Volunteer Corps began in 2017 and has since blossomed into a steadfast commitment to improving the lives of local residents.
Shaun’s introduction to WFF occurred while she was conducting research for her role as a service manager and community service leader at the Westin Perimeter Hotel. Her responsibility was to establish partnerships with nonprofits and organizations that shared the hotel’s core values, such as education, health, and well-being. During this process, Shaun reached out to the United Way of Greater Atlanta, who then directed her to the start-up volunteer efforts of the Westside Future Fund.
Enthusiastically drawn to the mission of restoring the Historic Westside, Shaun felt a personal connection as her children had attended school in the community. At the time, the WFF Volunteer Corps was in its founding days, having just kicked up the volunteer program in partnership with United Way of Greater Atlanta. Shaun saw it as an opportunity to get in at the ground floor and make a real difference in a community that needed helping hands. She proudly recalls preserving an original WFF Volunteer Corps t-shirt, a symbol of her enduring dedication.
“I have my original t-shirt from the very beginning. There wasn’t a question to me, this was a mission I wanted to be a part of, I felt called to help. After that first experience as a volunteer, I stayed in touch, continued to follow them on social media, read all of the newsletters and stayed in the know with all of the activities and community service opportunities,” said Young. “I’ve been a part of it since 2017, and I’ve never looked back. These days, I still try to volunteer once a month or at least once a quarter, and I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon.”
Shaun’s involvement with WFF extends beyond her personal commitment. Having witnessed the transformative work and impact of the organization through her own volunteerism, she was motivated to get more people involved. That’s when she turned to her local alumni chapter of Southern University, where she holds a role similar to hers at the Westin directing community engagement, and connected the two organizations. Ever since, she and her fellow alumni have been consistent participants.
“They really enjoy being a part of WFF volunteer opportunities. Every experience has been incredible. From working in the Truly Living Well community gardens at the MLK Day of Service to the monthly community clean ups, we do quite a bit,” said Young. “It’s a ton of fun every single time. Many of them didn’t even know about WFF before getting involved as volunteers, and now it’s hard to get them to stop talking about it. I’m excited to be a part of the work of getting the word out about WFF. The members that come, now some are going on their own to volunteer just because of how much they enjoy it.”
For Shaun, the most rewarding aspect of her volunteer efforts is witnessing the tangible impact on individuals and families within the community. Whether preparing properties for move-ins or delivering food to those in need, she relishes the opportunity to see smiles and joy radiating from those she has touched. Shaun is truly inspired by the transformative power of WFF and how it has become a driving force in improving lives.
“My favorite part, though I love all of it, is that I get to see the whole concept of transformation and what that truly means. To see their smiles, to see their hearts full of joy knowing that someone’s seen them and that someone is there for them,” said Young. “I’m inspired by seeing firsthand how lives are being changed and being impacted.”
One of the key messages Shaun wants to convey about WFF is the unwavering commitment and cohesiveness it brings to the community. She emphasizes that WFF acknowledges and supports the needs of the people, ensuring that no one is forgotten. Through their sleeves-rolled-up approach, WFF actively makes a difference by empowering and guiding residents to a brighter future.
“It’s all because of this organization called Westside Future Fund that is really there, that’s in the trenches, that’s rolling up sleeves and making a difference in the community,” said Young. “At the Transform Westside Summits, when you see all of the community leaders coming together, you just know that there are people there striving to make a meaningful impact in this incredible community. They are there connecting the community to real resources for success.”
Shaun’s involvement with WFF has not only allowed her to contribute to meaningful change in the community but has also inspired others to join the cause. Through her tireless volunteer efforts and infectious enthusiasm, Shaun continues to encourage individuals to step up, get involved, and make a positive impact in their community.
“Day in and day out with WFF, I’m just in awe. The work they are doing truly is transformational,” said Young. “It’s truly inspirational and motivates me to want to continue my volunteer efforts and tell others ‘What are you doing this weekend? Come out and help’”
As Westside Atlanta continues its transformative journey, the Westside Future Fund can count on exceptional volunteers like Shaun Young to continue championing their mission. With her unwavering dedication, Shaun is a shining example of the difference that one person can make when united with a passionate organization like WFF.