As a designer/photographer and mother of a kindergartener, I saw this event mainly through my camera lens. This was a cool perspective - watching others (United Way of Central Indiana board and cabinet members) help motivate young students from IPS school #14 through the creation of a colorful outdoor reading tree environment and through an authentic use of an education curriculum as seen in the bathroom wall art. [See more photos]
Thank you all for starting off your morning last week thinking of others - LIVE UNITED!
-- Michelle Davis, United Way of Central Indiana
A big "thank you" goes out to our friends (and long-time supporters) at Duke Energy in Plainfield. They recently added a HUGE banner to the side of their facility on U.S. 40, showing their support for United Way. Thousands of people will see it every day as they travel through Hendricks County. Duke Energy was one of the first companies to step forward and agree to help us increase awareness about the campaign. Thanks, Duke!!
Stacie Miller, single mom and long-time Martindale-Brightwood resident, has long known the Edna Martin Christian Center (EMCC) was a safe place for her children to go after school. Her daughters, 11-year-old Terri and 13-year-old Sherrell, are regulars and leaders in the Center’s youth programming.
Stacie occasionally took advantage of the various other social services offered at EMCC including the food pantry, rent and utility assistance. Now the agency is helping her increase her job skills to obtain a living wage job. Stacie is one of the first participants in the Center’s Strategies To Empower and Promote Success (STEPS) program and is currently training as part of the Center’s food service staff where she helps provide nutritious meals to youth and seniors.
This training will lead to Stacie receiving food service certification so she can compete for gainful employment. The program includes a battery of training activities, orientation, case management meetings and activities to help overcome any barriers to success. The fact that she can train while watching her girls complete homework makes the obligation that much more rewarding, said Stacie. “I’m thankful that I get the chance to work and spend time with my kids. It’s been really good for me,” she added.
Both of Stacie’s daughters have enthusiastically accepted responsibilities as leaders in training. students at IPS, the two have experienced academic gains due partly to the center’s emphasis on scholarship, respect and service via the Leadership and Legacy Youth Program. A year-round effort incorporating life skills and character development through afterschool and summer activities, the program fulfills the agency’s mission by helping give students the tools needed to compete in a global society.
Sherrell and Terri have participated and excelled in training designed to help youth understand their roles as community stakeholders. They have worked with seniors, assisted in the center’s first breast cancer awareness drive and, most recently, volunteered to voice their support of moving center operations to the former IPS School 37. “We have a lot of fun at the center, and they make us do our homework,” Terri, a sixth grader at IPS 69, recently told members of the City-County Council. “We just need more space so we can do more things.”
Stacie, Sherrell and Terri are an example of EMCC’s vision to provide holistic, wrap-around services for the entire family. A study in total family case management, the Miller family is on the way to achieving opportunities they may not have previously believed possible.
United Way of Central Indiana’s mission of helping to “sustain vital human services for those who need help most” includes support of agencies whose programs contribute to one or more of its priority outcomes: e.g., all vulnerable families and individuals have temporary and emergency assistance needs met; all youth and adults have the skills needed to obtain productive and meaningful employment; all children and youth attain life skills and develop competencies needed for success now and in the future.
Since 2004, UWCI has invested more $505,000 to assist Edna Martin Christian Center provide services for the Martindale-Brightwood neighborhood including an afterschool program, senior citizen ministry, human services and networking with other community organizations. This funding includes approximately $100,000 from the Capital Projects Fund for Center renovations. (All capital and facilities-related grants are funded with monies contributed specifically for these needs and do not come from the annual UWCI campaign.)
For the current 2009/2010 funding year, the agency’s UWCI Community Fund allocation is $42,380.