Sunday, February 20, 2011
Paula Jarrett, from United Way of Central Indiana, spoke to Kiwanis. She said that the Metropolitan United Way serves six counties and they have a local office at One Courthouse Plaza. It is a nonprofit organization which helps improve lives and build stronger communities. A question asked about sending donations to the Indianapolis address informed that all money sent is in turn returned to Hancock County. In fact, Hancock County receives more monies and services than is actually paid from local donations.
The United Way Mission is to help sustain vital human services. Our community priorities are those plus helping kids enter school ready to learn and graduate ready to earn.
In the past two years $200,000 in Community Economic Relief Fund was disbursed to Hancock residents (whose incomes were too high for traditional federal aid). More than $8 million was distributed across six counties
United Way partner agencies provided more than $777,000 in services to county residents last year. Calls to the Central Indiana helpline show that utilities, housing and mental health services are of greatest need.
United Way is focused on education because only two-thirds of area 9th graders will graduate in four years. Changing the dropout rate can change an entire community and as a result, reduce future human service needs.
Examples of programs and services for children and youth are: Backpack Attack with 40,000 new school supplies distributed to all 18 elementary, middle, intermediate and junior high schools in Hancock County; Early Readers Club with more than 700 children under age 6 enrolled to receive 12 high-quality children’s books each year; Born Learning which provide parenting education materials; ReadUP which is a tutoring program for third graders to help them become better readers and succeed in school. This program becomes doubly important if the state passes the new directive that requires 3rd graders to pass a state test before being passed to grade 4. (More local tutors are still needed for ReadUP and if you can help, call the United Way office to volunteer. You do not have to be a teacher to participate in the program…just love to read).
In 2010 the United Way campaign raised $310,000. The top 6 companies raised 83% of the total contributed. The top 6 were; Elanco, Hancock Regional Hospital, Greenfield Banking Company, Covance Inc., Hancock Physician Network and Keihin IPT Mfg.
Of interest to many was information about the Connect 2 Help program. Instead of dialing 9-1-1 for emergency, dial 2-1-1 to find what help is available for people. It directs to services that are needed and many don’t know are there, such as aid for utility bill paying or where food is available as well as other needs.
United Way encourages volunteering and has the Hancock County Volunteer Fair April 20, 3-7 p.m. at HCPL. For more information: www.volunteersolutions.org or come to the local office.
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