Your gifts, Anthony’s story: he’s college-bound, thanks in part to leadership lessons from Jameson Camp
Anthony is 17 years old and lives with his great grandmother in a modest but neat home in a neighborhood that could be considered a bit rough. Like many of our campers , his childhood has not been easy.
He first came to Jameson Camp at the age of 13 for a traditional summer session. After his first summer, Anthony applied to be part of our year-round Youth Leadership program. This bright, thoughtful, and artistic young man is now a Counselor in Training (CIT), the top level of our Youth Leadership program.
The Youth Leadership program has positively impacted Anthony’s academic future. “My grades have improved since coming to Jameson Camp because I’ve been really focused on how my life is going and where I’m trying to get to in my life. This is due to the Jameson staff. I talk with them about my plans and how things are going over time.” He is now a senior in high school and plans to attend college next fall.
When he first came to camp, Anthony struggled with social skills and lacked self confidence. “I didn’t like socializing with people. I didn’t know how to express feelings really well or know how to tell anyone what was going on in my life.”
Today, he is considered one our strongest and most dedicated Youth Leaders. He attends every event, volunteers to help at every opportunity, and does a great job in engaging younger campers.
Anthony sees how he has grown as a person and a leader. “I’ve learned to interact with people, learned what social cues are, and how people are feeling. I’ve learned how to help people feel better when they’re not feeling too well. Camp has also helped me be more understanding towards other people’s emotions...”
We celebrate the emerging leader Anthony has become and look forward to his future accomplishments.
-- Cassandra Tice, Jameson Camp
Editor's Note: Since 1993, United Way has invested more than $4 million in support of Jameson Camp’s year-round and summer camping programs for at-risk youth. This includes $2.6 million for capital projects, facilities maintenance, technology and other targeted needs from funds contributed specifically for these purposes. The agency’s Community Fund allocation for the 2013/2014 funding year is $51,111.
Jameson Camp is one of 21 United Way agencies with a significant focus on positive youth development. UWCI’s total allocations to those agencies is just over $4 million for the 2013/2014 funding year.
In 2011, Taft partnered with United Way to adopt Ralph Waldo Emerson School IPS 58. Our firm and employees have been supporting IPS 58, both financially and with time and talent. The funds help support a full-time community community/school coordinator, a part-time parent liaison/after-school assistant, funding for additional after-school programs, transportation home from those programs and more. Here are my top 10 reasons why Taft adopted IPS 58 through United Way:
- We wanted to partner with an organization where we can truly make a difference.
- Taft’s after school program gives students a meaningful, engaging and productive program in the afternoon after school, keeping the kids out of trouble and giving them constructive programs for improvement.
- We wanted to build a model that could be used for other corporate partnerships in our community.
- By partnering with United Way, we were able to gain matching dollars for our initial campaign. In addition, with United Way’s help and resources, we were able to create unique programs for students, including a law exploratory and career program for 6th graders.
- The program created an intangible, meaningful human connection for our employees – one that means far more than money.
- We wanted an initiative that supports several of our goals and fundamental tenets as a firm, including an ever-increasing awareness of and commitment to enhanced diversity, community involvement, quality and equal opportunities in education and corporate citizenship.
- We believe that helping address some of the difficult issues in our inner-city elementary schools today will better impact our community and workplace in the future by providing better educational opportunities to help students build a strong foundation in their formative years.
- The program gives our employees the opportunity to make a difference in the world outside of work. We encourage Taft attorneys and staff to give back and volunteer in the community during the work day.
- We wanted a program that would help extend the firm’s spirit of collegiality and other important elements of Taft’s culture to accomplish something meaningful in our community.
- We believe that an organization who gives itself to a worthy cause gets back exponential amounts in so many tangible ways. This program has now become an important part of our fabric and culture.
-- Kelly M. Sharpe, business development director, Indianapolis, Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP
Editor's Note: Taft’s partnership has three goals: create an enriching and safe environment for all students; increase academic achievement; and, increase community, parent and school relationships and involvement. In addition to the tutoring and recognition programs pictured, the partnership has resulted in 13 afterschool programs, with athletics, arts and academic emphases and involved almost half of the school’s students. In addition, numerous home visits have been made, parent workshops have been conducted, and community partners have been engaged in student learning experiences. The newest Taft project is a 6-week law exploratory career program for 6th graders.
After years of visioning and planning, Edna Martin Christian Center, a United Way agency, recently celebrated completion and construction of new space at 37 Place, a multi-agency gathering place in the former IPS School 37.
Overall, United Way has invested $1,646,640 in the school's renovation. In 2011 United Way helped get construction started on the 1927 portion of the school with a $1 million grant. Last year Edna Martin Christian Center received $491,621 to assist with the cost of building out their space as anchor tenant in the newly renovated building so they could relocate to a more accessible and visible site with greater outreach opportunities.
The agency provides social services for families in the Martindale-Brightwood neighborhood that include case management, a food pantry and senior and youth programming, spanning all four United Way priorities. Currently, the center's services reach more than 2,900 people, having grown from 1,300 in 2007.
In the new location the agency has more than doubled its square footage, eliminated off-site programs, added health and wellness programs, increased youth program capacity, and increased enrollment of the early childhood program from 20 to more than 75.
Ben Tunny of Tunny Racing won the World Figure 8® Championship on Saturday, September 8, by beating drivers from all across the United States at the Indianapolis Speedrome. The United Auto Workers is a major sponsor of the car and of United Way, and uses the platform to display their charities. Ben is a great advocate of the Kids Voice of Indiana, a United Way agency, and proudly displays this emblem on his car.
--Danny Ernstes, Chairperson, Greater Marion County UAW CAP Council
Your gifts, Randall’s story: After the fire, Red Cross and you helped vulnerable senior with turnaround
Randall Lewis was watching television in his Speedway townhome on May 10, when he saw sparks fly. After helping his 87-year-old neighbor out of the building, Randall got out safely too. But he was unable to retrieve any of his possessions from the apartment fire – including up to nine kinds of medications he needed daily.
Randall remembers that firemen took him to a hotel where he spent the week, courtesy of the American Red Cross, a United Way agency. Next, thanks to a series of happy coincidences, Red Cross helped Randall meet his immediate needs including temporary shelter and basics such as food and clothing that night. Longer term, they also helped Randall – an already vulnerable senior with no family – reverse what could have been a downward spiral.
During the casework process, Red Cross Disaster Specialist Joyce Armour learned that Randall could not return to the complex. She also learned that he could not read, write or drive due to the effects of a recent stroke; and was relying on a caring neighbor for a wide range of assistance.
Once a floral designer, Randall was living on disability. He needed all his funds for rent, recent cataract surgery and other expenses. Not eating properly, Randall's health made living alone a poor choice.
Slowly, Joyce gained Randall's trust and contacted his primary care physician. When Joyce telephoned, she heard a familiar voice on the other end. It was Susan Grigsby, Red Cross disaster volunteer. Joyce quickly enlisted Susan’s help to reassure Randall that they had his best interests at heart. Together, they worked to secure him an apartment in an assisted living facility just a block away from his former home.
Six days after the fire, Randall was settled into his new home. Red Cross helped him purchase new bedding and linens, pay the first month’s rent and administrative fee, and replaced his medications and eyeglasses.
If Randall had been left on his own, his health could have quickly deteriorated. Instead, a caring caseworker joined a trusted health care worker and assisted living administrator to help literally turn things around for Randall.
Once isolated and not getting the nutrition he needed, Randall is now socializing with his fellow residents, eating three "good" meals a day and getting physical therapy so he will no longer shuffle when he walks. He's made friends, enjoys playing Bingo with other residents and feeding the birds.
Because you give to United Way, you're investing in turning Randall's life around too. Thank you!
--Ann A. Gregson, resource development manager, American Red Cross
Editor's note: Undesignated gifts to United Way of Central Indiana's annual campaign help ensure that people who experience disaster have the basic needs to recover, through programs and services offered by American Red Cross of Greater Indianapolis. Since 1958, United Way has invested more than $83.6 million helping Red Cross. The funding includes grants of more than $2.9 million for capital, maintenance and technology improvements from funds contributed specifically for such needs. The agency’s 2012/2013 Community Fund allocation is $1,141,303
When you meet Mariah (age 9), she'll impress you as a confident, talkative and personable fourth-grader. But last school year, she was struggling with school work and not on track to be promoted.
Instead of focusing on finishing her homework after school, Mariah was a social butterfly. At the end of the first semester, teachers were calling her mom, and she took home report cards with failing reading and math grades.
After a conference with our staff, Mariah's mother insisted Mariah participate in homework help sessions, and she was enrolled in ReadUP, United Way's reading tutoring program. Our club was the only non-school site for ReadUP.
As a result of hard work in both programs, Mariah passed both ISTEP and IREAD tests and was promoted to fourth grade. A bright but unfocused student, Mariah matured and has made academics a priority.
I like that we make learning fun for kids like Mariah. Every area of the club has some kind of educational component. One thing I learned is that if I'm struggling to help a child, it's OK to step aside and ask someone else to help them. It takes a community.
More than 70 percent of our members improve their grades. One of the reasons it works is that we show the kids that we care about their success. We walk them to school and pick them up after school. On the way, we ask about how their spelling test went and we compliment them when things go well.
We are not educators, but we are part of a community that cares about these kids. Their teachers know us, and we have good two-way communications to keep the kids accountable. We collect their report cards and reward them for perfect attendance and for getting their work done. If an incentive doesn't work for one child, we come up with another system that does.
Mariah is an awesome example of how anyone who gives to United Way is helping kids learn and grow personally.
--Ashlee Thomas, education director, Boys and Girls Club of Indianapolis, Lilly Unit
Editor's note: Undesignated gifts to United Way's annual campaign help ensure that children have opportunities and acquire skills to succeed in school and in life. United Way invests in education by funding agencies and programs that provide quality out of school programs and activities, volunteer reading, tutoring and mentoring and positive youth development. During the 2010/11 reporting year, more than 53,797 kids benefitted from before and after school care, thanks to United Way givers.
Since 1923, United Way of Central Indiana has invested more than $41.5 million helping Boys & Girls Clubs of Indianapolis. This includes grants totaling more than $2.2 million for capital, maintenance and technology improvements from funds contributed specifically for such needs. The agency’s 2012/2013 Community Fund allocation is $923,686.
When I read the news that Indiana's homeless count was released earlier this month, two faces immediately popped into my mind: Ralph and Lakin.
The count reported a decrease since 2011 of six percent in the number of military veterans experiencing homelessness. Ralph, a U.S. Air Force veteran who overcame substance abuse and homelessness, then regained custody of his young daughter, is someone I now know personally who is represented in that good news stat.
Ralph lists at least four United Way agencies that helped him: HVAF of Indiana, for basic needs, recovery, counseling and support; Goodwill Industries, for job training; Second Helpings, for meals while in recovery; and Child Advocates, for help regaining custody of his daughter. He admits there may be others in the background that he's simply not aware were at bat for him.
His experience shows three of United Way's four priorities at work: Basic Needs, Health and Income.
Ralph's story drives home the reality that people's troubles are more often complex than they are simple. And that means they can rarely be solved by one agency or one program.
It's one of the reasons giving to United Way has such a deep and wide impact. Through it, we are engaging an entire system of human care to get at the root of people's problems, not just taking care of the crisis at hand. It's about seeing that people have opportunities and resources to make their own lives better...and in the process, our community as a whole.
Ralph's success, while a great story, is not one of a kind. Of the 400 veterans who have come through HVAF's Residential Employment Substance Abuse Treatment program, 60 percent have either secured permanent housing or a job.
To see Ralph tell his own story, tune in to RTV6 at 7:30 p.m. on September 4. On that day in that half hour, all our local stations will air short stories about how anyone who gives to United Way is helping Ralph and thousands more turn their lives around. Thank you!
--Mary L. Kinney, Public/media relations director
Your gifts, Elmer and Carolyn’s story: PrimeLife helped them cope with sorrow, stress and transition
Elmer and Carolyn Olson have shared great joy and tragedy in their 59 year marriage. They danced, raised five wonderful children, were blessed by 11 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren — and lost one precious daughter.
Elmer and their daughter, Jenell, wrote a book together chronicling her unique breast cancer journey. Both Elmer, age 79, and Carolyn, age 78, are proud of the legacy Jenelle left for others, and speak with pride of her courage and determination to chart her own course.
Still healing from their loss, they are grateful that destiny brought them to Carmel where they can be close to their daughter, Julie, as she also experiences a serious illness. They count it a privilege to be able to help nurture and support Julie and her family at his difficult time.
Both Carolyn, a retired RN, and Elmer, a former elementary school principal, credit PrimeLife Enrichment with helping them to cope with their sorrow and stress —and enjoy their new life in Carmel.
A few years ago, their children bought them a condo in Carmel, hoping to coax their parents into moving from their home in Illinois. The children asked only that they spend six months a year in Carmel, which allowed Elmer and Carolyn the luxury of a gradual transition.
Still, the permanent move two years ago was jarring. Though happy to be near their loved ones — especially after Julie learned of her illness — they missed their old home. Opportunities to socialize with peers at PrimeLife Enrichment Center (PLE) have helped them make new friends and grow new roots.
Both exercise daily at PLE — participating in the Arthritis Land and Aquatics classes, using the walking track and visiting with new friends. Though they first resisted coming to PLE, they are so pleased that their daughter, Elaine, bought them a membership and said, "GO!"
Reluctantly, they did, and discovered that Elaine knew exactly what they needed. She understood that her parents, formerly devoted ballroom dancers, needed to be physically active and they needed to have fun!
Elmer has introduced the game, "Sequence" to PLE’s Men’s Activity Council, and is looking forward to a fishing trip with his new friends. Though physical impairments eliminated ball room dancing from their lives, PLE has replaced it with the less demanding Line Dancing. With a little help from friends and family, this loving couple has truly mastered the art of graceful aging.
Carolyn: "Exercising five days a week at PrimeLife has me moving and grooving again — and I’ve made new friends! We love our family dearly, but hadn’t realized how much we needed to be with people our own age."
Elmer: "I’ll never walk, or dance like I used to, but I’m able to enjoy line dancing, thanks to regular exercise in this well-equipped facility."
--Sandy Stewart, executive director, PrimeLife Enrichment
Editor's note: Undesignated gifts to United Way's annual campaign help ensure that people have the resources and supports for their health and well-being, including services for older adults. United Way now funds 22 agencies that provide center-based senior programming, either exclusively or as part of a broader scope of services. During the 2010/11 reporting year, more than 14,863 seniors participated in those center-based activities. United Way's total 2012/13 investment in all 22 agencies is $5.2 million.
Since 1981, UWCI has invested more than $4.8 million helping PrimeLife Enrichment, Inc.. This funding includes grants of more than $1.8 million for capital, maintenance and technology improvements from funds contributed specifically for such needs. The agency’s 2012/2013 Community Fund allocation is $131,871.
After being laid off from her job in Florida, Susan moved back to Indiana to be close to family. Though she had post-secondary education, employers said she lacked experience and current computer skills. Despite her tireless efforts, Susan was jobless for a year. She began to doubt she would ever find a job.
After exhausting the resources of family and friends, Susan soon had no choice but to go to a homeless shelter. At the Wheeler Center for Women and Children, she learned about Training, Inc. Susan felt the program was exactly what she needed to help her brush up on computer and business skills and present herself more effectively to potential employers.
Susan arrived at Training, Inc. with little self-confidence. As she progressed through the agency's 12-week Career Track program, her skills and self-confidence improved. The first four weeks focused on job readiness, basic computer skills, applications, interviewing, career assessment, goal setting, critical thinking and other life skills.
The second segment was office skills with intensive training in the Microsoft Office Suite of programs. The more knowledge Suan absorbed, the more confident she became. Susan began to realize that her future held a variety of career opportunities.
During her internship in the business office of a local manufacturer, Susan seized the opportunity to show off her skills and get her foot in the door. Immediately after the 3-week internship, Susan happily accepted the company’s offer of a permanent position as a shipping and receiving coordinator with a starting salary of $10 an hour and full benefits.
Susan's confidence in her skills has blossomed, and she now has the tools to impress any employer.
--Peggy Frame, executive director, Training, Inc.
Editor's note: Since 1993, UWCI has invested more than $1.6 million in Training Inc.'s mission to help low-income, unemployed and underemployed people like Susan develop the job and life skills they need to obtain long-term employment and become self-sufficient. The agency’s current Community Fund allocation is $67,777.
Summer break is looming, and the stretch of nearly two months without a school routine can be daunting for parents. Finding high quality alternatives to school that provide a break without contributing to summer learning loss is often a challenge.
Fortunately, our community offers a wide variety summer camps and programs to keep school-aged children busy and enjoying new experiences. As a study from the National Education Association reports, out-of-school programs, focused on personal and social development, “have a positive impact on students’ grades, academic achievement and self esteem.” So it’s important for parents to select an enriching program.
We’ve come up with three things to look for in a program to help you narrow down your list of potential summer camps for your kid(s).
1. Friends and fun
Summer break should feel like a break from the test-focused school days. At the Girls Inc. summer camp, girls interact with peers in engaging, fun, hands-on activities. With programs tailored specifically for girls ages 6-14, our staff focuses on creating a fun space for girls to make new friends. Many parents share that the all-girl environment is their daughter’s favorite part of the camp; "[the most beneficial part of camp was] the focus on her and issues that young girls deal with in an environment that she felt comfortable being herself." Girls Inc. also takes advantage of the summer weather and makes time for swimming, field trips, and other traditional summer day camp activities.
2. Positive learning environment
While the fun aspect of camp is essential, it'is equally important to keep your child mentally stimulated over the long academic break. "Programs that extend the school year can do more than reduce summer learning loss—they can increase academic achievement," states the National Education Association. Camps that emphasize a positive learning environment allow your child to grow intellectually and personally. Here's an example: This summer at our six-week camp, girls will test their economic knowledge by creating and then running a business for a day, experience democracy in action with a live debate and vote, and practice leadership skills and teamwork. Not only will girls learn skills to help them in school, they'll practice confidence, gain self-esteem, and absorb messages for success in life.
3. Camp and beyond
Whether the camp focuses on career exploration or specializes in math, science, arts or athletics, programs that engage kids in their passions will help them prepare for their future. This summer with Girls Inc., campers will visit Butler University and IUPUI campuses to envision and learn about life as a college student. Campers will also meet with professional women in the community, many in nontraditional fields, to learn about their profession, educational background, and day-to-day work. Last year one parent shared, “My daughter benefited from looking at women for their strengths and what they bring to their communities rather than their celebrity.” Girls will also receive advice from Girls Inc.'s 2012 Touchstone Awards honorees at the annual luncheon on July 12.
One final thing that can make a difference in your camp choice is cost. Though quality programs are worth every penny, we know can be a barrier for many. If you are committed to providing special summer opportunities for your child but can't afford the fees, ask about a scholarship. Girls Inc. offers limited scholarship assistance for qualifying families.
Not sending a child to camp this year? Help another family send their child to a quality experience by donating to scholarship funds for greater Indianapolis summer programs. For a firsthand account of our commitment to supporting families, watch our video with Tunisia, a summer camp parent of six years.
P.S. Registration for Girls Inc. Summer Camp is still available for all age groups!
–Abri Hochstetler, public relations coordinator, Girls Inc. of Greater Indianapolis
If you want to know more about your investment
Summer day camp and/or overnight camping programs for kids in Central Indiana are offered at 35 United Way agencies. More than 40,000 children and youth participated in these activities last summer.
Offerings range from the traditional summer camp activities such as arts and crafts, swimming, canoeing, archery, horseback riding, hiking, camp fire cooking to visiting colleges around the state to help older kids prepare for higher education, zip lines and high ropes courses. Also offered are academic enrichment such as computer classes, math, reading, writing and tutoring to help prevent "summer brain drain." Theme camps enable youth to improve their golf, basketball, baseball or tennis skills.
All 13 Indianapolis neighborhood community centers offer day camps, as do Salvation Army centers and all Boys and Girls Clubs supported by United Way, ensuring that at risk children have a safe, nurturing and affordable option during their out-of-school time. All day camps also provide nutritious meals and snacks that for many may be their only meals.
Children with special needs have opportunities to enjoy traditional residential summer camp experiences including, Camp Little Red Door for children with cancer; Camp R.O.C.K.S.! offered by Easter Seals Crossroads for children with autism disorders; Camp Tataya Mayo at Jameson Camp for children impacted by HIV/AIDS; and Asthma Camp at Happy Hollow Children’s Camp.