Our Young Professionals Group is an exciting group of individuals working to raise awareness of CUCS’s life-changing work building brighter futures. YPG member Rohan has been a core member of the group since its inception in February 2017. An active and enthusiastic CUCS ambassador, he donated his birthday to our cause and collected over $1,500 which went towards supplies for welcome kits for men and women entering our transitional housing sites. We recently sat down with him to discuss why he chose to support CUCS, his experience as a CUCS YPG member, and why giving is important to millennials.
What made you want to get involved with CUCS?
Part of it was working with Alex Rose at Crestview Partners, who is now CUCS’ Chairperson. He sent an email around to everyone we work with describing the work CUCS does and I thought the suite of services CUCS offers was really cool. It’s nice that CUCS doesn’t just focus on one aspect of helping people; it helps people get through probably the most difficult times in their lives and get back on their feet through many means.
Since leaving school I wanted to get involved in something greater. From everything Alex said, it sounded like there were a lot of different ways to get involved at CUCS and I thought it was a great opportunity.
What made you want to donate your birthday to CUCS?
I’d been trying to figure out the best way to get friends and family to donate to CUCS’s cause. Everyone always has causes they help throughout the year and I thought this was one easy way to get a lot of attention to our cause, especially towards the end of the year when you have people wishing you well during the holiday season. I figured instead of having friends do a birthday dinner, having them donate to CUCS would be a nice way for everyone to get involved.
How did it feel to reach your goal?
It was awesome. I think any time you can raise money for an organization like CUCS is great. With the peer-to-peer campaign, the really cool part was that everyone knew what the funds were being raised for and the impact they’d have. We raised funds that went specifically to helping people getting started in a new life. We could see the tangible benefit of our fundraiser.
I was also surprised by how many people donated. It showed me that people are more than willing and happy to help out causes as great as this, it is often just a matter of getting them involved. There were a lot of people who when they donated said “hey, I looked into CUCS and it seems like a great organization, thanks for alerting me to this and I hope your fundraiser goes well!”
What would you tell somebody looking to get involved in CUCS, either giving or with the YPG?
In terms of giving, it is nice to see that what you give will have tangible benefits. You help people who otherwise wouldn’t have a place to stay in very hot or freezing cold weathers like this in New York, find shelter. I think that sort of thing is pretty amazing.
I think from an activities standpoint, it is great that there are so many things to get involved with at CUCS. You can help fundraise, you can volunteer your time, you can raise awareness, and you can help get much needed materials for sites. It is nice that there are all of these different ways you can get involved.
How have you enjoyed being a member of the YPG?
It’s been really great. It’s really nice to have other people your age coming up with different ideas and then executing them. I have always had someone older than me telling me what to do and then gone on to execute it. The YPG lets us do every part of a project, everything from the planning to execution stage. It has been great to come up with our own ideas and figure out how to make them work for this cause.
Why do you think giving is important to millennials?
Giving is important for the reasons everyone thinks it is: because it is always nice and important to help people less fortunate than you. I forget who was it, Warren Buffet or someone else, who said ‘we are all born into a lottery’ essentially. Sometimes we are fine in life because we happen to be born into the “right” situation. But just because you were born lucky, doesn’t mean you deserve more than anyone else. So I think it is an obligation and you have to make sure you pay it back.