In June, the United Way of Southern Cameron County came out to the BPUB Boardroom to present the Brownsville Public Utilities Board with a major honor: its 2019 Outstanding Community Partner award.
The United Way singled BPUB out for two programs in particular. The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program offers free tax services to low- and moderate-income families. BPUB has participated in this program for many years. All BPUB employees who are in the program are working after hours as volunteers. Before getting the chance to volunteer, they must pass a test qualifying them to handle others’ tax returns.
Vello is the other program that was mentioned during the brief ceremony. BPUB has been a Vello partner since it came to this area in 2017. The online tutoring program assists second-grade students at Del Castillo Elementary School with their reading. BPUB volunteers tutor the students in a webinar-style. The volunteer and student are on the phone together, and both can see the same program displaying whatever book was chosen to read for the day. Volunteers can interact with the students, correcting them if a word is missed, asking questions to make sure the students understand and most importantly encouraging them.
These two programs exemplify the importance that BPUB places on community. As a municipally-owned utility, BPUB feels a responsibility to stay engaged with the community and provide more than just utility services to its customers. BPUB seeks to be a source of education in Brownsville as well as support for various activities and groups through sponsorships. Along with its involvement with United Way of Southern Cameron County, BPUB participates in many community events throughout the year.
While the company as a whole does its part to improve the community, its employees also are engaged members of the community. Many employees volunteer their time in various other activities, and there are also many who give regular payroll contributions to the United Way of Southern Cameron County. It’s important that a community-owned utility is also a part of the community it serves.