On behalf of the 2010 campaign committee and the advisory board, I would like to say a huge THANK YOU to the talent show participants and volunteers for making this show possible! Morgan County participation in our 1st Annual Morgan County's Got Talent Show was amazing! The turnout was beyond our expectations. This was truly a community wide effort in reaching our 2010 goal for Morgan County. The talent was top notch, and we hope to see everyone back next year for the 2nd Annual show!
See more photos from the event here.
--Diana Roy, Morgan County area director, United Way of Central Indiana
You know what they say about busy people. They never say “no” to one more volunteer job or one more chance to help others. So this news about United Way board member Sue Back comes as no surprise.
A CPA and managing director at RJ Pile LLC, Sue was recently elected treasurer of the Indiana Association of United Ways, (IaUW), the alliance of 62 United Ways and United Funds in Indiana. She is one of four elected officers who guide the 30-member board of directors comprised of IaUW members across the state.
Back represents United Way of Central Indiana on the state association and also serves on United Way's board of directors where she is an agency evaluation reviewer, graduate of the Executive Women's Leadership Series with experience on our audit committee, allocation panel and more. Congratulations, Sue, and thanks for all that you do for our community and for our state!
Be sure to check out this WRTV 6 report on child care quality. United Way of Central Indiana supports two bills before the General Assembly that would standardize basic health and safety requirements for Indiana child care providers. A safe and healthy environment is the first step toward high quality child care and school readiness. United Way is committed to all children entering school ready to learn. See the report here.
--Laura Smoots, Director, Public Policy
I am now in my third year as a ReadUP volunteer. During this time, I have seen the need in the community to help our kids improve their confidence and their opportunties in life -- by helping them become better readers. ReadUP students are often reading at least 1-2 grade levels below their peers. Those able to take part in ReadUP are receiving personal attention and coaching three days a week. Over 370 students and 17 schools in all. There are many ways that United Way of Central Indiana helps address our community's needs. There are just as many ways that you can be part of the solution as well - with your time as a volunteer, with your expertise, and by supporting financially - including attending our annual Oscar Night celebration. Oscar Night America® - A Night in Bollywood is a fun way to get out of the house and take part in our biggest annual party/fundraiser (in support of United Way's Ready to Learn, Ready to Earn priority). Please take a look, and I hope to see you there. Traditional dress is optional, but check out the pictures from the last couple of years as well. Tickets are selling fast - buy yours today!
--Jason Preston, Emerging Leaders steering committee member
My sister and I were fortunate to be raised by our paternal grandparents for half of our childhood. They provided us with the stability, nurturing, love, food, clothing, shelter and parenting that our parents could not provide full-time. So the issue of grandparents raising grandchildren is near and dear to my heart. They are the silent heroes who valiantly give their time, energy, resources and love beyond all measure to ensure healthy childhood development for grandchildren.
At Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Indiana, we see grandparents in their 80s and 90s raising multiple children, and many are raising children of all ages from infancy to teens. Although you see weariness in their eyes, their words are always loving and supportive for their grandchildren.
Often the children do not realize the incredible burden their grandparents bear in raising them. More often than not, a grandmother outlives her husband and must continue to raise the children alone.
January was National Mentoring Month and a time to celebrate the value our mentors bring to youth and families. One of our amazing guardians is a great-grandmother, Mrs. Montgomery, who is raising four great-grandchildren. Each child experiences difficulties in school due to learning disabilities and hyper-activity disorders. The parents of the children come and go due to their lives of drug addictions and prostitution.
Mrs. Montgomery realized that she needed more support and encouragement for her great-grandchildren, so she contacted Big Brothers Big Sisters.
Our 100-year-old mentoring program has withstood the test of time to show that one-to-one, long-term (at least one or more years) mentoring between an adult and a child can show significant outcomes as demonstrated in our alumni research: 42 percent of our Littles will earn a four-year college degree, in spite of growing up in poverty and being first-generation college students. Forty-six percent will have household incomes as adults of $75,000 or higher, thus breaking the cycle of generational poverty.
Without a doubt, research shows that giving a child a vision of their future through mentoring is what inspires the child to do their best in school, to make wiser, healthier choices about their life, and to get along better with others.
There are no quick-fixes in healthy child development, and it does take a village of a nurturing home environment, caring adult role models beyond the family unit, and quality schools to set our children up for success.
Fortunately, there are thousands of Big Brothers and Big Sisters who volunteer to share their time with children like Mrs. Montgomery’s great-grandchildren.
Professional staff at Big Brothers Big Sisters provides on-going coaching to the guardian, Big, and Little throughout the mentoring match. Oftentimes staff also work with the school teachers to ensure a well-rounded approach in supporting each youth.
Thanks in part to your gifts to United Way, Mrs. Montgomery and other volunteers are providing caring, positive role models for children here in Central Indiana.
It costs $1,900 a year to provide on-going support to each mentoring match. Big Brothers Big Sisters provides on-going educational opportunities to the children, resources and support to the guardians, and advice to Bigs.
An investment of a few hours of time every month and the financial resources to support a match makes all the difference in the world not only for each child who benefits from having Big Brother or Big Sister, but also for their guardians who also need the supplemental support mentoring provides to their children.
--Tonja Eagan, CEO, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Indiana
Since 2003*, UWCI has invested more than $6 million helping Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Indiana develop mentors committed to supporting boys and girls grow into the next generation of caring, confident and competent adults. This funding includes a 2-year grant for up to $200,000 from United Way’s Ready to Learn, Ready to Earn program for support of one-to-one Site-based Plus mentoring services to 60 fifth grade students attending targeted Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) elementary schools. Another $25,000 from the Technology Fund provided a new telephone system and computer hardware and software. For the current funding year, the agency’s UWCI Community Fund allocation is $573,731.
* From 1975 until the merger of the local Big Brothers and Big Sisters agencies in 2003, United Way had provided separate funding totaling nearly $10 million.