Fanshawe employee makes a difference

A photo of Arjun Bhardwaj at a United Way event at Fanshawe College CREDIT: ALLEN GAYNOR
Arjun Bhardwaj is committed to giving back to his community through United Way’s Sponsored Employee Program.

When thinking about making a change in your community, there are many ways to go about it. For Arjun Bhardwaj, it was getting involved with United Way.

“I started my United Way journey in 2005 when I got an opportunity to do my internship here,” Bhardwaj explained. “The four-month internship went rather quickly, but the lessons stayed with me and stoked a desire in me to learn more about UW’s mission. So, when the Sponsored Employee opportunity came my way, I jumped at the chance.”

As part of the United Way Sponsored Employee Program, a 16-week program that provides service and implements fundraising strategies, Bhardwaj monitors campaigns and results and presents the values of giving to United Way to staff at Fanshawe College.

The Fanshawe College and Here For You logos are shown. Two people are shown talking to one another. Text states, access respectful, flexible and personalized employment and job readiness readiness services.

As someone who left India to come to Canada, he believes that change in people’s life is something that is important, and said working with United Way has changed his life for the better.

“I had always heard that Canada is a land of opportunities and I experienced it first-hand when I came to the land of coffee cups and hockey pucks. During and after my studies at Fanshawe, I have had lots of opportunities. The latest one being the Sponsored Employee position at UW.”

Bhardwaj went on to say that Fanshawe has also been a big support for United Way.

“Last year, Fanshawe College raised more than $120,000 in support of United Way! This amount combined with other donations from across our region, benefitted 65,000 people as they used a United Way funded program or service.”

With Fanshawe’s support, they were able to help 314 unhoused adults, providing 5,326 community meals and food boxes and 276 children were able to look forward to a safe fun-filled week at Stevenson’s Children’s Camp.

“I was ecstatic to see what good can come out of doing something so big or little such as donating to UW and see the difference it can make on a family,” Bhardwaj said. “Coming from a country that also deals with poverty, I don’t want to see the country I now live in and love get worse. I wanted to step up, I want to continue making a change.”

During a community walk visiting numerous United Way agencies, Bhardwaj noticed the many issues London deals with such as homelessness and families struggling for food.

“At that time, I could not help but wonder what one opportunity could do to change the lives of the individuals I was seeing, just like one opportunity had changed my life,” Bhardwaj said. “It is only because of opportunities people have given me that I have been able to succeed here.”

Bhardwaj said every contribution to United Way helps and to consider helping out this holiday season. Students interested can attend the Memphis Jam on Dec. 16 at Aeolian Hall and the Silent Auction for United Way from Nov. 27 to Dec. 8 online at 32auctions.com/FanshaweUWSilentAuction23.