Many of us have a sense of community that is so deeply ingrained, we dont even think about it. We help our friends and neighbors without a second thought. We teach our children about volunteering and the importance of paying it forward. People are influenced by our giving, advocating and volunteering. If were a part of a community in which we believe that to be a primary value, that becomes contagious.
I am the son of a music teacher who taught me to love and appreciate the arts. Now, having my own son with a passion for music, I support local organizations that offer children opportunities to explore their enthusiasm for the arts.
Im also the father of a son with severe disabilities. I cannot overstate the appreciation I have for the work of organizations such as Turnstone. The value of the programs – education, therapy, recreation – and equipment offered is immeasurable.
I lost both my mother-in-law and aunt to breast cancer but now see my wife in her 25th year as a survivor. I have a huge amount of gratitude for the determination of Vera Bradley and its foundation in working to find a cure.
I work for Raytheon, a company that is very invested in this community. Employees give through workplace campaigns, volunteer with agencies such as The Rescue Mission and inspire one another to make a difference where we all live and work.
These are just a few ways Im tied to this community. I encourage you to think about your own loved ones, your challenges, your blessings. Because of my own connections to the community, I choose to give, advocate and volunteer with United Way.
When I make a donation to United Way of Allen County, I know my money is well invested. Gifts help support programming at 34 local partner agencies in four focus areas: education, income, health and basic needs. Funds are allocated by volunteers who carefully examine each program and its results. Services provide opportunities for at-risk children to succeed in school and make the transition to adulthood; for people to live independent and stable lives; and for local residents to have access to food, shelter and health care.
United Way also seeks to have a lasting effect by leading several initiatives in the four priority areas. These include successful programs such as Real Men Read and School Buddies, which are coordinated by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Indiana, as well as expanded early childhood programming aimed at kindergarten readiness.
United Ways Education Network consists of 17 youth-serving agencies that work together to ensure area children get the support they need to be successful in school and life.
Our 2012 Community Campaign goal is $5.4 million. I know we can meet this goal because I know the kind of community Im a part of – one where people step up and give when they are asked. Im asking you to do that today. There are also two matching grants in place from Indiana Association of United Ways and the Robert Goldstine Foundation for new and increased gifts to United Way, allowing for some gifts to be tripled should they meet certain giving-level criteria.
Consider your own story and how connected to one another we all are. Only when we Live United do we truly affect the lives of all people in Allen County.
If you are unable to make a gift this year and instead need help, please call United Ways 211 Services by dialing the three simple numbers 2-1-1. The trained phone counselors will listen to your concerns and connect you to the agency that can help meet your needs.