Lawrence resident Caitlin Ballard says she is representing northeast Kansas this week in an online competition to become the national face of the United Way for 2010.
Ballard, an Americorps VISTA for the United Way of Greater Topeka, is one of five finalists in the LIVE UNITED Story Search. The winner will be featured in the United Way’s 2010 brand advertising.
“I’m looking to bring the spotlight back to northeast Kansas and even Kansas as a whole. There is so much focus maybe on bigger cities or coastal areas,” Ballard said.
She graduated from Kansas University in May and has been working with the Youth Volunteer Corps to establish youth volunteer programs. She is currently working to start a chapter at Highland Park High School in Topeka.
“It really opens doors for (students) in order to get these pathways to success,” said Jamie Hornbaker, director of communications for the United Way of Greater Topeka.
For the contest, Ballard is featured in a 90-second video on the United Way’s Web site talking about the program and why she volunteers.
Members of the public can vote once per day until Friday night at www.liveunited.tv. As of Tuesday evening, Ballard was in fifth place with 235 votes. The leader had 472 votes.
In Topeka, United Way staff members and volunteers are doing their best to get out the vote.
Because she lives in Lawrence and graduated from KU in May, Ballard also has a lot of support from Douglas County residents.
“Our United Way is just as excited as the United Way of Greater Topeka because our organizations work together a lot, and our youth volunteer corps share resources,” said Colleen Gregoire, a vice president and campaign director for United Way of Douglas County.