Jul 06

Because it’s more important than ever.  Sure, we all get a warm, fuzzy feeling when we do community service – whether it’s raising money for a fundraiser, painting a house, or playing monopoly with a 3rd grader….


Have you ever stopped to think about how many people depend on those volunteers?  In Greensboro and all over the country, nonprofit organizations depend on a constant stream of volunteers to fulfill their mission.  Federally funded programs such as Americorps and Teach for America strategically place volunteers in nonprofits nationwide to help support local communities.  But these programs, as dependable and successful as they have been in the past, were among the first programs under scrutiny when budgets got tight.  The National Corporation for Community Service – the umbrella organization that coordinates the Americorps program and others – was cut $72 million dollars from 2010.  The Learn and Serve America program was cut completely, and the Americorps programs received a $23 million dollar cut.  This was all during a time when the organizational requests for volunteers have nearly doubled compared to previous years.

So, why should we care?  We are seeing budget cuts affect our local agencies that are addressing the most pressing issues right here in Greensboro. The volunteers of the past that coordinated community food drives or organized students at events are no longer there.  The infrastructure of many of the organizations within our community are at risk – and we can help.  By volunteering, we can help minimize the impact of these cuts and help local nonprofits fulfill their missions to the community.

My name is Kristin, and I have just recently joined the United Way Young Leaders – a group of amazing young professionals dedicated to philanthropy and service in the Greensboro area.  I’ve only attended a few events so far, but it’s already clear to me that these folks care about our community and its success.  In an environment where we are shrinking back into our core being – either out of necessity, defensiveness, uncertainty, or fear – we must remember to reach out to others.  Together we can Live United.

“The road to success is not crowded. Because while most are looking for ways to take, the truly successful people are finding ways to give. With a giving attitude, every situation is an opportunity for success.” - Unknown

 

United Way of Greater Greensboro funds programs and initiatives that are meeting the critical needs in our community in the areas of Education, Income Stability and Health. Each program and initiative is evaluated throughout the year to ensure it meets critical need in the community, is making an impact, and aligns with United Way’s objectives. Blog post written by Kristin Buchner, Graduate Assistant for Community Engagement & United Way Volunteer.



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Jun 28

United Way of Greater Greensboro funds programs and initiatives addressing the critical needs in our community in the areas of Education, Income/Self-Sufficiency, and Health. We recognize that children are the future and deserve opportunities to grow and become successful.  Here are some insights from Jacob Rosenberg, student at The Early College at Guilford, Intern at United Way of Greater Greensboro.

Famous author G.K. Chesterton once said, “There is a great deal of difference between an eager man who wants to read a book and a tired man who wants a book to read.” A study by Purdue assistant professor of development studies, Jennifer Dobbs-Oates, is putting new validity behind this statement.

Her study’s focus was on, “low-income preschoolers ages 3-5,” and asked parents questions about the level of interest their children had in reading. The study found that students who showed an early interest in reading, “[were] more likely to show positive, adaptive behavior [rather] than negative, disruptive kinds of behavior.” However, it is just not reading for the sake of reading that helps. “It’s like a three-legged stool – learning and behavior aren’t enough, you also need to incorporate a child’s interests and motivation,” said Dobbs-Oates.

Think about this in context. Here is Sam, a student in the 2nd grade class who is reading well above grade level.  Next to him is Rachel, who is struggling to read at a first grade level.  Is Sam smarter than Rachel?  Or, was Rachel deprived of the tools to help her learn at an early age? By giving children books when they are young, we empower them to become better students and better people. Talk to your kids, learn what interests they have and make learning personal. As parents and responsible members of the community, we must show children that learning is something they can grow to love.

Oftentimes we think that to change a child’s behavior it is merely a function of he or she changing.  In reality, the parents and families must collectively adjust their actions and mindset so that children can understand the importance of learning.

This kind of family wide change also addresses the problem of obesity. Dr. Dennis Clements of Duke often tells families, “Obesity is a family event, not an individual event.”  He offers advice for how to make the changes necessary to truly change the way we live. Our problems are not things that can be done away with ease, no matter how fool-proof the product seemed at 2 a.m. on that infomercial.

If we want to give our children the best future possible, it means change by all of us. United Way is committed to making changes for the better. The Thriving at 3 initiative operates under the premise that children who are physically and emotionally healthy by age three are more likely to be successful in school and in life—and a focus on early literacy is a key component.

Change is scary, and it is hard. However, when we realize the impact that we have on someone else’s life, it makes change a lot easier. Any child, including myself, can tell you that a parent’s help learning makes everything easier. From a teacher’s lesson plan to the everyday complications of growing up, communication in some form with a mentor is unimaginably helpful. Someday we can all hope to be lucky enough to help someone as much as our mentors have helped us. Let’s make someday as soon as possible.

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What do you think should be done to help early child development?

What do you see as a key to the future of our children’s education?

Comment below and start the discussion…….

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Jun 16

Yep, It’s true. The House and Senate have successfully voted to override the Governor’s Budget Veto.  The budget will become law on July 1. Click Here if you would like to read all 343 pages of the new law.  If not…here’s an overview of some of it’s impact:

 

Highlights of the $19.7 billion budget for North Carolina state government & K-12 SCHOOLS

  • require $124.2 million in additional savings as determined by local school districts, spread out from among the 115 districts.
  • eliminate funds for Dropout Prevention Grant program, saving $13.3 million.
  • reduce funding for new textbooks
  • reduces instructional supplies funding allotment to districts by 46 percent
  • eliminate mentoring funds for school districts
  • eliminate staff development funds for school districts
  • reduce by 20 percent, or $16 million, in funding for the More at Four prekindergarten program and transfer the program to the Department of Health and Human Services.

 

Health and Human Services

  • reduce Smart Start funding by 20 percent, or $37.6 million.
  • $5 million cut in grants and contracts to nonprofit health and human service providers;

 

Justice and Public Safety

  • eliminate $1.1 million for nonprofit mediation centers.

 

General Government

  • reduce funding for North Carolina Housing Finance Agency thereby reducing the Housing Trust Fund.

We want to hear from you!

So what?    Even though this may be a state-wide budget, their will be cuts in our community and affect the funding that our programs rely on for support from the state level.  What does this mean to you?  What is your role?  We all must learn how this effects you and advocate for the cause (or causes) close to your heart.

Let us know your thoughts on these changes that are happening right here, right now.

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