United Way of Pictou County

Matthew Connors, left, and his wife, Megan, are part of the United Way campaign team.

(Submitted photo)

Matthew Connors and his wife, Megan, have become youth co-ordinators for the United Way of Pictou County.

It’s called GenNext and is seen as a way to involve more young people in the organization, while also encouraging them to support the agency financially.

Connors shared how campaign chairman Dave Fearon asked him to join the team.

“Dave Fearon asked if I would like to be a part of the United Way Campaign this year, specifically as the GenNext chair,” Connors said. “He explained that we need leadership and representation from our generation, and since I was in total agreement, I was eager to join. I later talked to my wife, Megan, about it and she was happy and excited to join as co-chair.”

Connors said he saw the role as an opportunity to help the campaign team.

“There are a lot of keen, enthusiastic people in my generation in Pictou County wanting to help their community,” he said. “This was a chance to help mobilize those individuals and encourage them to contribute in any capacity they can.”

The Connors have set a goal to encourage more campaign donations from young people as a way to achieve success with the project.

“In the past, this group has not accounted for a large portion of donations, which is understandable given the age group,” Connors said. “We would consider the GenNext movement a success if we are able to increase the donations from this group substantially. It’s a busy generation, with careers and raising children. By talking about community needs, and educating on what the United Way does, we have already seen a substantial increase in giving early in the campaign from this group, which is incredible.”

He said he was not previously involved with the United Way and felt motivated to engage young people in a special way.

“The appeal of joining a youth-focused project like this is the sense of pride you feel for your community, seeing all these community members coming together to support the place we chose to live and raise families,” he said. “It is a great county, full of remarkable people who never hesitate to step up and help when needed.”

Executive director Ellen Fanning praised Fearon and the Connors duo for their mutual understanding on how necessary engaging youth is to the United Way’s success.

“We were thrilled that they agreed to join our 2021 campaign team, and are a perfect fit to bring enthusiasm, passion and commitment as we work together towards ensuring everyone lives in a healthy and supportive community,” she said. “Being a member of the United Way’s GenNext movement means you commit to being one of the next generation of Pictou County leaders, and are driven by a shared interest in the ongoing development and success of the place we call home. Working together with Matt and Megan, our new GenNext movement can provide impactful and memorable networking, volunteering and fundraising opportunities.”

Reporter

Steve Goodwin is never without his camera and a notebook. He has been covering news and sports in Pictou County for more than four decades.