Brightpoint’s Mark Howell is heading now toward Monument Circle where he’ll have a boxed lunch with United Way’s annual campaign chair, Gino Santini from Eli Lilly. After leaving United Way’s headquarters where he stopped for breakfast, Mark has been filmed by WXIN Fox 59, WRTV 6, WISH TV 8 and WTHR Channel 13. Along the way he’s been greeted by people at United Way agencies including Girls Inc., The Julian Center, HFAV of Indiana, Catholic Charities Indianapolis and many others. When he heads west toward Plainfield, the Indianapolis Zoo will have an elephant to greet him!
Brightpoint President Mark Howell stopped in at United Way headquarters at 8 a.m. today during his 28 mile walk from Carmel to his Plainfield office. Mark is walking to draw attention to some of the agencies that benefit from the annual United Way campaign. He's also spreading the word of LiveUnitedGiveUnited.org, a great way to engage members of the community who may not be involved with a traditional workplace campaign.
In the past couple of months, it has been a rewarding experience to work with the campaign committee that is supporting the "Step it Up" event planned for this Wednesday. Just thinking about the opportunity to interact with the staff of UWCI and at least a dozen agencies along the way has already left a memorable impression on me. However, at this point, I am equally focused on what the event is intended to achieve. The current global economic environment has created unusual financial circumstances for organizations like United Way. My walk is intended to help draw attention to some of the great agencies that benefit from our contributions and to demonstrate Brightpoint's ongoing commitment to the them and the local community. As company, we look forward to our annual campaign and the opportunity for us to join together for a full week of special campaign events, fundraising and team building. Finally, my walk is also to challenge local businesses and business leaders to be creative and join together in supporting the United Way and their worthwhile causes. I look forward to this coming Wednesday and working together to achieve our goals.
--Mark Howell, Brightpoint
I love my role as a volunteer torchbearer for United Way of Central Indiana – once I got over the disappointment of not getting to carry an actual torch!
I’ve given talks in all sorts of places, from small groups in hallways to a memorable speech in a FedEx hanger with a big airplane taxiing toward me – marking the first time I stopped in the middle of talking in the middle of a speech, to point open-mouthed to the plane and squeak, is that okay?
Being a torchbearer has connected me to our awesome and generous community. I am blown away by the respect businesses give to United Way and their agencies. I gave a talk to 500 people in the auditorium at the Eli Lilly world headquarters with the president of the company in the room and a few hundred more people listening in through a conference call. I chose to speak in front of the stage instead of standing on it for that one – less chance of the audience noticing my knocking knees.
I especially love the talks that I get to see the inner workings of a business. If I get to wear a hardhat or safety gear and walk between the yellow lines on a factory floor I’m as happy as can be. I was a little panicked when UPS shut down the conveyer line for ten minutes for the United Way presentation. I had visions of the chain of shipping for the whole eastern half of the United States shutting down. I know that I talked a little fast during that speech! I think that it is a true testament to the impact that United Way has on our community that the largest shipper in the world would silence their line to hear our story!
I’ve learned about businesses that produce powder coat finishes, HVAC units and earplugs. I’ve been to a warehouse that ships parts for copiers and the hand held units that deliverymen use and had a spare jet engine (sealed in a humidity controlled enormous case) right smack in the middle of everything. I’ve talked to people at radio stations, newspaper copy rooms and magazine offices. I have spoken at hospitals, grocery stores and other non-profit agencies.
Being a United Way torchbearer has given me a ton of confidence, not only in my skills as a speaker, but also in our community. Central Indiana is an amazing and caring place to live.
I hope to see you at a United Way presentation soon. And don’t worry; I’ll wear closed-toe shoes, just in case you want to show me your injection molding machines or anything.
director of operations
Second Helpings, Inc
When I was growing up, my mother, a fourth-grade teacher, was obsessed with teaching me how to write a proper thank-you note.
I would write drafts for Christmas or birthday presents, and she would critique them until it satisfied her standards. It was almost enough to make me dread getting presents…but not quite!
As it happens, my mother had some flawless insights into the life skills I would need. Almost daily, I find myself either writing a thank-you note or brainstorming with a colleague about how to effectively thank someone who went out of their way for our community.
Sometimes our tools involve techniques that didn’t even exist in mother’s day.
What does this have to do with you? I’m about to involve you in a community-wide expression of thanks to two special people.Don’t worry. It won’t give you either writer’s cramp or block!
It involves a simple form of feedback for some of our community’s best assets. Let me explain.
In June, United Way Worldwide announced a national story search to find a volunteer who would become the “face” in the 2010 United Way advertising campaign.
United Ways all across the country submitted two-minute videos about a volunteer who LIVED UNITED by giving, advocating or volunteering to advance education, income and health.
Our local television stations were already committed to producing short stories for us as part of a Simulcast for Sept. 2, so we worked with them to submit stories about our local volunteers.
A 3-step selection process ensued. It began with online voting. The top 20 stories were then submitted to an expert panel which included The Ad Council and McCann Erickson New York. The upshot is that our community has two of the five finalists in the national search. The winner will be selected based on the top vote getter in a one-week online vote.
This is where you come in. Please join me in thanking our Central Indiana volunteers who are in the finals.
Ruth Rusie, a retired teacher in Martinsville, is co-chairing United Way’s fundraising in that county AND she’s also helping start up an early literacy program of United Way’s called Early Readers Club. Ruth’s 91st birthday was yesterday!
Duane Ingram is a 25- year- old young professional who could be spending his spare time any number of ways. One thing he does do is mentor a team of fifth-grade boys at an IPS school on the Near East side as part of United Way’s partnership with 100 Black Men of Indianapolis.
His message is about attitude, and it’s a message that has already helped produce scholastic improvement for all the boys he mentors – a team which named themselves the Unstoppable Thinkers!
Online voting ends Friday at 11:49 p.m.
Please join me in letting the Ruths and Duanes in our community know how much we appreciate their everyday giving.
I know my mother – and maybe yours – would prefer that we all simply write them a heartfelt, handwritten thank-you note.
But I think she’d still approve of this. Please visit www.liveunited.tv today, tomorrow and Friday.
Vote for one or both of them and invite your family and friends to do it too.
Make your mother proud!
--Mary Kinney, United Way
Children from Little Dove Day Care on the Near Eastside of Indianapolis tested the new fire exit from the second floor classroom at East 10th Street United Methodist Church at a celebration event October 7. The new emergency exit was installed recently to help the ministry meet basic health and safety requirements of the Paths to Quality rating system which gives parents better tools to help identify and select quality child care.
Thanks to a $1 million stimulus grant from the state announced yesterday, United Way will expand the program from the two Indianapolis neighborhoods in which it started. Continuing with them to make necessary facility improvements will be The Hagerman Group and Halstead Architects who have made in-kind contributions totaling more than $123,000 so far.
The stimulus funds will enable United Way to help up to 60 registered ministries throughout the six-county region increase the quality of child care they offer.
United Way is investing in high quality early childhood programs as part of its education priority, Ready to Learn, Ready to Earn.
Pictured with the children are United Way’s Dr. Ted Maple, director of Success by 6 (left), Mike Halstead, Jeff Hagerman and Tracy Heaton, a parent and neighborhood organizer.
--Mary Kinney, United Way
I attended the United Way Kids for Change kickoff at IPS School #48 on friday and those kids were amazing. So much energy and commitment. They really understand that they can help to improve their community through United Way. Just by collecting change and canned goods they have made the commitment to help others.
We all need to follow their lead! Please give today.
--Lucy Downton, United Way
1st day attendance is one of our key measures of success with our Kindergarten Readiness Programs. On paper, if a student is not in their seat on the first day, it can appear to be a failure, especially if that student attended our summer program, Kindergarten to College. I recently heard a story from a teacher that helped remind me that with this particular minus, there was an even bigger plus.
I was talking to a group of teachers to get their impressions of how some Kindergarten to College students were doing so far. One of the teachers picked up on the fact that a name on my list was color-coded and asked why. I explained that the color indicated that the student wasn’t at school on the first day. She said, “Well, I can tell you why, and you should really hear this…”
This little boy, we’ll call him Eric, did not attend the first day of school because both of his parents were recently incarcerated. Eric’s grandparents spent the first day of school in court with him to gain custody. Despite all of the turmoil at home, Eric came to school on the second day.
Eric’s teacher saw a very sad and confused little boy walk into her classroom on that second day of school. Sad, until he heard Jose shout his name from across the room.
Here’s where the teacher became incredibly excited. She was excited because she wanted me to know how Kindergarten to College helped Eric be ready to learn, despite his challenges at home. On paper, Eric’s absence on the first day hurt our percentage for first day attendance success. However, success came in the fact that both boys met during a Kindergarten to College session we hosted this past summer. During those four weeks of preparation, they learned to write their names, how to stand in line at lunch time and most importantly for Eric, they became friends.
According to their teacher, the boys are inseparable now. One waits at the classroom door until the other comes in so that they can sit down, together. “Peas in a pod” is how she described them. She says that Eric has obviously found some comfort in the consistency of having Jose in his life since they met over the summer and both boys are doing very well in class.
The great news is that kindergarten first-day attendance increased in our priority neighborhoods from 63% to 84%. It’s a huge success for us all. But for me, it’s stories like Eric’s that make me proud to say that I LIVE UNITED, and that I am a part of a community that is able to recognize the importance of knowing there’s always more to the story.
--Heather Girton, Success By 6, United Way of Central Indiana
For more information, check out this week's news release about a successful push in IPS neighborhoods to increase first-day school attendance.