|Thomas and Kayley are brother and sisters who were placed in foster care when they were just four and five years old. They had suffered a great deal of emotional abuse, neglect, and witnessed an astounding amount of domestic violence. As they grew, they struggled with emotional and developmental delays and it took several years of intensive therapy to help prepare them to be part of a permanent, adoptive family. Many families expressed interest in the adorable children but few were ready to take on the challenges the boys behaviors could often present. Jennifer and Evan Smith called CHS after they had seen the two children on the CHS website. They had felt an immediate connection, and they did not hesitate initiating the adoption process after hearing about some of the challenges they would be faced with if the children were placed in their home.
At a matching event where children and families meet and interact, the Smith family met Thomas and Kayley. At first, Thomas and Kayley were very skeptical and had a difficult time trusting Jennifer and Evan. With a great deal of patience, Jennifer and Evan started the process of getting to know the two children and began visiting with them in their foster home. Over the following year, the Smith family attended their therapy sessions, school meetings, doctor’s appointments, and more. This past fall, Thomas and Kayley were ready to move in with Jennifer and Evan, their new mom and dad!
It’s natural to think about the many people in our nation and world who desperately need a helping hand. We are all aware of the world-wide natural disasters that have recently occurred. And many of us give most generously to the worthwhile charities trying to help.
But do you ever feel like you want to participate more directly? If you do, you’re part of a growing number of people taking grassroots actions with events to help neighbors in their community.
If you think it won’t make a difference, think again. According to America’s Second Harvest, local food drives provide nearly one third of the two billion pounds of food it distributes annually. During 2010, United Way of Greater Greensboro hosted “community conversations” to identify the issues most important to Greensboro residents. Four issue areas emerged from the community: financial stability, access to health care, successful school experiences, and positive youth development. United Way of Greater Greensboro recognizes basic needs must be met while working toward resolving larger community issues. It’s hard to imagine that 1 out of 4 of our neighbors here in Greensboro are experiencing food hardships. When individuals, organizations, governments and businesses set aside their special interests and work together, we can make a difference. Living United means being part of the change.
On Tuesday, June 21st individuals and families across the country will participate in the fourth annual United Way Day of Action. Here in Greensboro, the event will be the MeaningFULL Meals’ Drive Through and Drop Off. At the central office, United Way of Greater Greensboro is hosting a drop off zone to collect non-perishable food items for the MeaningFULL Meals Nutrition Project. You may drop off your non-perishable items between 6am-10am and again between 4pm-7pm.
After the non-perishable food is dropped off at the central United Way office the food will be taken to Gillespie Park Elementary School, where United Way Volunteers will be packing bags of food that will be distributed to the children of families in the Gillespie Park community.
Although, helping your community can be a onetime gesture, it can be so much more! The United Way of Greater Greensboro is continuing MeaningFULL Meals all summer long! Between June 13th and August 15th, you can donate non-perishable foods to Gillespie Park Elementary School Monday through Thursday from 9am – 1pm. Or, if you are looking to volunteer time helping prepare bags of food for the next day would be extremely helpful! You can volunteer your time on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10am to 1pm. To learn more about this project, visit our website at www.unitedwaygso.org. If you are interested in signing up to be part of the MeaningFULL Meals please call us at (336) 378-5033.
Article Written by Volunteer, Amy Riss.
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.
- 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.
“If we turn outward and become more intentional in our choices and judgments in creating change we can have greater impact and increase our relevance and significance in communities”
United Way of Greater Greensboro conducted a health and human services assessment, empowering over 1,700 individuals to voice their opinions. Through this we found that financial stability, health care access, success in school, and nurturing children are all main concerns in our Greensboro Community.
In response to listening to the community, we are making great strides to stay in tune with the community interests and needs… having this information isn’t enough. Your opinions, interests, and needs are always evolving. We need you to stay vocal. Tell us what is important to you so that we are turning outward and acting on the true issues. So here’s your call to action: from today on, we urge you to speak your voice and use our social media outlets to tell us more about the change you want to see in your community. If you feel strongly about an issue and want to post it to our blog (email us your post), facebook, or twitter, we invite it. This is your community, and we want you to have a say in the change you want to see around you and your neighbors.
If you view our Voices. Choices. link, you can learn further about each of these issues.
A stride in women coming together for United Way was the Women in Philanthropy Luncheon on May 24th. This inaugural luncheon had both Women’s Leadership and Tocqueville Women’s Leadership celebrating the accomplishment and power of “one voice.” The premise of women united to promote community resources that advance family issues is a powerful message. Together, these groups have raised over $12 million, providing much need resources to our community.
Distinguished guest Dr. Johnnetta B. Cole spoke specifically to education and literacy, and what could be done to help. She said, “Education is about living a good life…And when we ask ourselves what is the most critical component of formal education, it’s only one answer, it is learning to read,” Dr. Cole put a simple tagline behind her message, “first children learn to read and then children read to learn.”
The combination of Women’s Leadership and Tocqueville Women’s Leadership proved fantastic. Thank you to all those who came to see Dr. Cole’s powerful message, and to all those who made Women in Philanthropy such a success, without the hard work and commitment of so many great women these things could not have been possible.
Imagine, in 50 years…
- A troubled Greensboro family is kept together through home-based counseling because of you.
- A teenage mother in our community is able to succeed in school and deliver and parent a healthy child because of you.
- A neighbor in debt trouble avoids bankruptcy, achieves financial goals, and regains a sense of financial well-being because of you.
A gift to United Way of Greater Greensboro’s Endowment builds a financial foundation for our community’s needs and solutions of tomorrow. As issues facing Greensboro change and evolve in the future, a gift to our endowment will ensure that the critical needs are addressed. And when the unexpected arises, United Way’s Endowment will provide resources to help weather the storm.
Donors who make a current or deferred gift to the endowment are recognized through United Way’s Legacy Society. Members of the Legacy Society are forward-thinking donors who want to ensure a brighter future for our community. This is what it means to LIVE UNITED.
Table runners, photographers, players, registration experts, score keepers: you name it-they did it! The Annual Scrabble Challenge is Reading Connections’ largest fundraising event & the United Way of Greater Greensboro’s Young Leaders were there once again to help make it a success. A big shout-out to Young Leader Melanie Crenshaw and her team for their 2nd place finish!
The event was held on Tuesday, April 12th at West Market Street United Methodist Church, Downtown Greensboro. The proceeds from this event benefit Reading Connections, whose mission is to help adults live more independently by providing free and confidential basic literacy services, to increase community awareness of adult literacy needs, and to serve as a resource for the provision of basic literacy services.
Photography courtesy of Kathryn Quilter Photography.
Would you like to be connected with Reading Connections? Is reading something you enjoy? Take just a minute and imagine the impact you will make on someone’s life by spending just an hour or two each week working with them. To learn how you can become a volunteer tutor or to learn more about this great service opportunity, please contact Beth Larson at 336.230.2223.
The American Red Cross is working around the clock to help people recover after a three-day outbreak of severe weather across much of the south.
· Tornado damage is widespread across Alabama, Mississippi, North Carolina and Virginia. And more than 700,000 acres have been scorched by wildfires in Texas prompting evacuations and destroying homes. Oklahoma has been hit doubly hard by both tornadoes and wildfires in just the last week.
· In North Carolina alone, preliminary disaster assessments show almost 500 homes destroyed and more than 1,000 damaged.
· More than 500 people sought refuge in Red Cross shelters in four states this weekend. To find an open shelter visit www.redcross.org.
· Across the south, Red Cross workers are serving meals and providing essential supplies as clean-up efforts begin. More than 25 response vehicles are on the ground in North Carolina and another eight are supporting Alabama. In Mississippi alone, an estimated 4,000 meals and snacks have been served.
· With government officials reporting more than 40 deaths from this weekend’s severe weather, Red Cross disaster mental health workers are available to help people cope with the aftermath.
· The Red Cross will be on the ground in all of these affected areas for weeks to help people get back on their feet and make sure disaster caused needs are met.
Photo from website: http://gso.redcross.org/
Since the end of March, the Red Cross has helped people affected by 35 large disasters like floods, tornadoes and wildfires in 20 states, making this an extremely busy spring.
· Prior to this weekend’s severe weather, Red Cross workers have supported residents in Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Wisconsin recover from floods, tornadoes and wildfires.
· Each year the Red Cross spends an average of about $450 million on providing disaster relief to people in need and maintaining the resources needed to get help to people 24/7.
· There is no other non-governmental organization that can respond to disasters on the size and scale of the Red Cross – but we rely on donations from the American public to be ready to respond every day across the country.
The Red Cross depends on financial donations to get help to people affected by disasters. Please consider making a donation today; every single donation brings hope to those in need.
· You can help people affected by disasters like floods, fires, tornadoes and hurricanes, as well as countless crises at home and around the world, by making a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief.
· Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for and provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance in response to disasters.
· Visit www.redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
· Contributions may also be sent to your local American Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.
This Article was posted on page 5 of the December issue of the CIS, Inc. national newsletter. Omega, the girl reported on, participated in 3 United Way of Greater Greensboro-supported programs – CIS Success in School, Family Life Council’s Good Beginnings Parenting program (now a division of Children’s Home Society and YWCA’s Teen Parent Mentor Program)
Omega McKinnon is determined to succeed. And she’s doing it ahead of schedule. At 22, Omega is in her first year of a Master’s in Public Administration program at North Carolina Central University. She is there on a scholarship, after completing her undergraduate studies – also on a scholarship – at North Carolina State University in just three years.
Omega’s life has not been without setbacks or events which could have easily sidetracked her. But with a get-it-done attitude and the support of Communities In Schools, this confident young woman is well on her way to doing something important with her life.
From the time she was young, Omega has lived with her grandmother. Her father had gone to prison, and her mother was addicted to drugs so she could not care for Omega.
Omega was a good student and knew from a young age that she wanted to attend college. She dreamed of becoming a lawyer one day. Omega’s grandmother had limited resources, and while in 9th grade at Dudley High School, Omega was referred to Communities In Schools of Greater Greensboro. She met Angie Carter, the Communities In Schools 21st Century Scholars program director, who introduced Omega to the college and career access program. Carter encouraged Omega to stay in school, participate in job shadowing opportunities and eventually pursue a college degree as a necessary step in achieving her goal of becoming an attorney.
“Communities In Schools and 21st Century Scholars offered wonderful learning experiences,” Omega explained. “They started me off with a mentor who worked with me through the hard times of being young and in high school. I participated in job shadowing and went on college visits. They guided me through the process of filling out applications and obtaining financial aid. If I needed help with anything, I knew I could call Ms. Carter.”
Carter also played a role in helping Omega through the challenge of teen pregnancy. Omega found out she was pregnant at the end of 10th grade and gave birth to her son Aaron in 11th grade. During this time, Carter and Omega’s grandmother forged an alliance that created a strong support system for Omega. Omega’s grandmother agreed to watch the baby, and with Carter’s help, Omega enrolled in a teen parent/life skills class at the local YWCA. The program matched her with a mentor who was a college student, and focused on healthy living and staying in school. Omega also received baby items, books to read to her child and other resources.
By the time Omega was a senior, she was taking classes at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, a dual enrollment program at her high school that allowed Omega to accelerate her studies and take honors and advanced placement classes. She had already been accepted to North Carolina State, and graduated from high school with her first year of college under her belt.
“Omega is such a hard worker,” Carter said. “She is bright, capable and motivated. Sometimes it’s a challenge to keep up with her!”
While in college, Omega began an internship with the Communities In Schools state office in Raleigh. She continues to work there today in her free time and during the summers. She has gained a broad range of experience with Communities In Schools, performing data entry and other office duties, attending conferences and fundraisers, even advocating for Communities In Schools during public speaking engagements with the general assembly and funders. She speaks to groups of students, telling them how important it is for them to stay in school. She even found out about the GlaxoSmithKline Opportunity Scholarship while doing research one day on the job. It was the day applications were due. In typical Omega fashion, she quickly got her materials together and recommendations from the Communities In Schools staff, sent everything off, and was awarded the scholarship that made grad school possible.
Omega has changed her career plans. She now wants to work with teen parents and other young people who are facing obstacles in life. “I see a lot of girls my age with kids. Not many of them continue their education. It is possible to work hard and accomplish your goals – I’m living proof of that.”
Omega’s life is full of possibilities. She has an apartment of her own near campus. She sees her son and grandmother often; Aaron is now five and continues to live with her grandmother while Omega is still in school. She studies, works and plans for the future.
“Omega has the student mom thing down,” said Carter. “I can’t wait to see what she does next.”