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Volunteer Spotlight: UnitedHealth Group

August 25, 2017

This year, Project Sunshine and the General Manager Program (GMP) at UnitedHealth Group celebrate seven successful years of bringing joy to the medical setting. The GMP aims to strengthen the leadership skills of high potential executives through formal education, peer–to–peer learning, and service to the community.

The GMP includes many areas of focus, one of which is Customer Intimacy: Developing a deep understanding of how to achieve UHG's mission of helping people live healthier lives. By volunteering at Party Time events with children and families, the General Managers learned that promoting "healthier lives" extends to a patient's need for happiness and normalcy in the medical setting. At the Party Times, GMP volunteers spent an afternoon creating arts and crafts projects, painting faces, enjoying healthy snacks, and snapping selfies at the photo booth with patients that represent their customers. Greg Wachtler, Director of Talent Development said: "We really had a great experience throughout the year partnering with [Project Sunshine]. I can't say enough about the work you do and the appreciation I have for you bringing us along on a bit of the journey." In 2017, Project Sunshine and the GMP engaged over 100 volunteer leaders in service at the East Harlem Asthma Center of Excellence (EHACE) bringing relief and joy to over 170 pediatric patients and their families.

Our team at Project Sunshine had an opportunity to debrief with some of the GMP volunteers after a Mermaids and Pirates themed party in May. The feedback was incredible and provided great insight into direct service as a model for leadership development. The GMP participants were from teams across the country and were meeting for the first time during the development retreat. One of the volunteers at the May party was Jerod Mayo ‐ a former New England Patriots linebacker currently working at Optum. In the middle of a Party Time event, Jerod spontaneously broke out in song and dance to amplify the party experience. Jerod's spontaneity led to an impromptu dance–off with two young girls attending the party. With the help of a homemade "speaker" (iPhone in a cup), volunteers and participants gathered to cheer on the dancers. At the debrief session, one of Jerod's fellow General Managers thanked him for modeling the leadership skills of creativity and courage. We thank Jerod, and all the General Managers who helped make 2017 another year of success!

More Volunteer Stories of Interest

Sports Illustrated model, Damaris Lewis, volunteered for her second year as a Project Sunshine Dance Camp instructor to empower young women through dance.
Emilio Delgado, who has played Luis on Sesame Street for 40 years, brought sunshine to pediatric patients at Mount Sinai´s KidZone as part of Project Sunshine´s Book Club

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