Be directionally right, roughly correct — it’s all about the action and not money. UCA aftercare for sex trafficking packages. We learned that youth rescued from sex trafficking were often given trash bags to carry their possessions with them. It was a story our members and the Association have heard far too often that was right in our faces: caring means truly feeling the need another person may have. How did it feel to be worth no more than a trash bag? Providing them with a duffle bag and a care package, letting them know they were cared for.
As part of my series about “individuals and organizations making an important social impact”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Lane Michel.
Lane Michel serves as the President of Unified Caring Association (UCA). He believes UCA’s mission serves an important role in bringing more heart, consciousness and action to both giving and receiving care. By supporting a community of people in both giving and receiving caring, we create a better world we want for current and future generations.
For more than four decades, Lane has dedicated himself to his work and has gained experience in fields ranging from computer technology, marketing, venture capital, public safety, life coaching, management consulting, animal rescue and leadership development. He holds degrees from both San Jose State University and Santa Clara University.
Thank you so much for doing this with us. Before we begin our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”?
My life has been a series of wonderful leadership adventures in both for-profit and nonprofit organizations. Never has there been small ideas on my path. I love harnessing the energy that makes big ideas a reality. This always has more to do with the unseen than what I think or feel I know. Unified Caring is one of those big ideas having a huge impact on many thousands of lives.
When I was approached about this leadership role, I knew instantly that this was my path unfolding beautifully once again. This has been a fusion of my career paths. People are invited join the UCA membership community that helps them impart self-care and in turn give care to others. Together, we work to address urgent unmet needs for greater caring. UCA has a special knack for caring for the innocent beings needing so much more from us all: children, the elderly and animals.
Can you tell us the story behind why you decided to start your non nonprofit?
I have been inspired by the amazing souls I have been able to work alongside, speak with, study and emulate. These stories are a collage that creates my unique signature. It all began when I was a child, my father died of cancer when I was 11 years old and I began working with the Cancer Society. I worked with them for a few years and would help them with fundraising. From that point on I was determined to help the world and I was given that opportunity throughout my life. Unified Caring Association (UCA) was founded in 1987 and I became the leader in 2019. UCA was born from the recognition that people wanted a healthier and happier life which included living a life experiencing both self care and serving care to others.
Can you describe how you or your organization aims to make a significant social impact?
Today’s world is in need of caring now more than ever. Specifically, a better way to care for ourselves AND to serve others. Not just watching from the sidelines, but actually DOING. Being actively engaged in building caring communities that make a difference.
A Custodian is someone who takes responsibility for caring, not just for themselves but for their family, the community and the world. The Caring Movement is taking action to meet urgent unmet needs that then gives self-improvement greater meaning.
We can be healthier and happier when we are connected to others and serving. These questions guide Custodians of the Caring Movement:
- What is in YOUR heart?
- How do YOU want to give back?
- What help do you need to get outside yourself and bring joy to others?
Without saying any names, can you share a story about an individual who was helped by your idea so far?
A profound example of how we’re here for each other — especially when adversity strikes — is the story of a lifetime member of UCA. In the early days of the Pandemic, the husband was stricken with COVID-19, and after 30 difficult days on a ventilator, and numerous set-backs his wife felt trapped in a cycle of distress. She reached out to UCA, pleading for help.
UCA’s Care Team immediately responded — by surrounding the family with care, love, and support — compassionately “checking in” while making sure everything their UCA benefit plan could do was as fully realized as quickly as possible — helping the most, when she felt no one else was truly listening.
Beyond sending endless blessings, the UCA Care Team also went the extra mile by sending a beautiful “Caregiver Support Package” along with emotional support tools from our Caring Community Store, as a personal expression of concern and care for their family.
It was just what the entire family needed — a ray of hope — in their darkest hour.
The family was grateful for UCA’s support, and for never feeling like “just another number.”
Are there three things the community/society/politicians can do to help you address the root of the problem you are trying to solve?
- Listen for and to stories of caring heroes in your community
- Find Custodians of the community, of caring and support them to do their work
- Promote virtual volunteering
How do you define “Leadership”? Can you explain what you mean or give an example?
I think leadership is defined as stewardship. Stewardship by Peter Block outlines the best features of a leader.
- Vision & Guidance
Based on your experience, what are the “5 things a person should know before they decide to start a non profit”. Please share a story or example for each.
- Do it for the right reason — what‘s in your heart and tell that story. Save the Rain working with Rotary International and Tanzania. Save the Rain sets a clear incentive that no one should die from lack of clean water and that is their ultimate mission.
- Be bold — Set your intention, commit yourself 100%. Love for Our Elders, was started by a 13 year old with a bold vision.
- Trust in your faith — with intention, things will be guided to places you can’t imagine. Animal Rescue and Sanctuary said YES to their rescues, they believed in their cause and the money followed.
- Be directionally right, roughly correct — it’s all about the action and not money. UCA aftercare for sex trafficking packages. We learned that youth rescued from sex trafficking were often given trash bags to carry their possessions with them. It was a story our members and the Association have heard far too often that was right in our faces: caring means truly feeling the need another person may have. How did it feel to be worth no more than a trash bag? Providing them with a duffle bag and a care package, letting them know they were cared for.
- Nonprofit is about commitment to change, not suffering. Create sustainable jobs for people with a desire to make a difference.
Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson” Quote? How is that relevant to you in your life?
Joel Barker said “Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world.” This quote expresses what Unified Caring Association is all about, people taking action to change the world.
How can our readers follow you online?
Unified Caring Association can be found on twitter (@UnifiedCaring), LinkedIn and Pinterest. Our radio show and blog are all accessible from UnifiedCaring.org.
This was very meaningful, thank you so much. We wish you only continued success in your mission.