"These honorees remind us that making life better for our whole community is a job that can be done well by both young and old. It can be tackled by the lifelong Hoosier and the newcomer, and by those who are in corporate America or outside it," said Ellen K. Annala, United Way of Central Indiana's president and chief executive officer. "They are diverse in their interests, their cultures and their heritage. But they are alike in their drive to make a good community better, and for that we are deeply thankful!"
Posing after the formal awards program at United Way's Annual Diversity Volunteer Recognition Breakfast (July 16, 2011) are (from left) Adrianne Slash, event co-chair; Larry Morris, honored for advancing civic participation through Public Allies; Young-Hee Yedinak, honored for growing Asian American Alliance Inc.'s community outreach; Ellen K. Annala, president and CEO of United Way; Celina Anez, honored as a Teen Court volunteer attorney; James Tanniehill, honored as a Take Down Crime volunteer for working with young people; Murvin Enders, honored for furthering United Way's diversity goals and metrics; Patricia Treadwell, honored for service to Martin Center Inc. during a time of change; Gonzalo Chua, honored for helping provide free health services to underprivileged through the Indianapolis Chinese Medical Association; Crystal Livers-Powers, honored for leadership with Girl Scouts of Central Indiana to benefit generations of girls; Joy Mason, honored for service to the YMCA of Greater Indianapolis that provides scholarships to at-risk students; Ralph Taylor, honored for making Indianapolis a welcoming community to diverse cultures; and, Rupal Thanawala, event co-chair.
--Mary Kinney, public/media relations director, United Way of Central Indiana
Kudos to WTHR Channel 13's production team for their idea to tape all five local station anchors in the old section of the Indianapolis Central Library for the annual United Way project!
Since this year's stories (to air Sept. 6, 7:30 p.m. during commercial breaks) will all feature local volunteers who help children succeed in school, the majestic staircase - flanked by bookcases - provided perfect symbolism.
Thanks to Jon Barnes, the library's communications specialist, for hosting us, though the library is officially closed on Thursdays.
Channel 13's team, led by Young-Hee Yedinak (seated right), is customizing 18 separate pieces to open, close and promote the stories. It's a massive puzzle!
Joining the anchor teams were Marianne Glick, United Way's annual campaign chair (red jacket, center) and Dennis Ryerson, editor of The Indianapolis Star, to Marianne's right.
The product is a marvel of intricate planning and patience, and we are so grateful to everyone involved in making it look easy and fun!
Getting in place so the taping could begin were: (from left) John Stehr and Andrea Morehead, WTHR Ch 13; Todd Connor and Ericka Flye, RTV 6; Scott Sander (left second row) and Joy Dumandan, WISH TV 8; Gail Strong and Scott Hoke, WFYI; and Fanchon Stinger and Bob Donaldson, WXIN Fox 59.
After thanking everyone, United Way's President and CEO Ellen Annala and Board Chair David Resnick (lower right) joined makeup artist Mary Frambes to check out the look on the monitor.
WTHR's General Manager John Cardenas committed station resources to the project, including help from pros like Jeff Dutton; Kyle Duell; Randy White, Brian Clark and Michael Garner too!
We can't wait to see the stories on Sept. 6!
--Mary Kinney, public and media relations director, United Way of Central Indiana
Editor's note: At most graduations, you expect to buy a gift for the grads. But the grads of one of United Way's Leadership United classes have turned that tradition around, becoming gift givers themselves. Classes are invited to come up with a service project to practice teamwork and fundraising skills. This year's Leadership Training and Development for Diversity class opted to tackle hunger stats that stunned them: 1 in 6 people in Indianapolis are hungry and 1 in 4 of those are children.
After visiting Second Helpings, Inc., a United Way agency that operates food rescue and hunger relief programs, class members came up with a plan to help that they dubbed "Feed it Forward." Each student pulled out their contact lists and invited people in their personal networks to three fundraising events that raised $3,000. Proceeds will be used to address the agency's rising transportation costs. One class member, LaShawn Stanton, also got approval from her employer to donate a van that was being retired from Comcast's fleet to bolster the agency's food distribution program.
Erica Flores, service project leader for the class, describes how the visit to the agency served as a call to action for her and her classmates.
We entered the doors of Second Helpings aware of the facts of hunger in our own backyard. What we saw made us determined to help: large trucks arriving full of rescued food, countless volunteers working in the kitchen turning those donations into nutritious meals, one volunteer who'd been recognized for 1,000 hours of delivering meals, a class of culinary students learning about food in ways that will change their lives, and finally sitting together for a meal - a daily activity that most of us too often take for granted.
Our visit to Second Helpings convinced us that we had found our service project, and we were determined to "Feed it Forward."
- Hearing about Second Helpings was inspiring. Experiencing Second Helpings is life-changing.
- It's heart-warming and mouth-watering. Their meals are amazing!
- It's personal. The transformational culinary training program empowers people to make a difference in their lives, their families and their communities. Our very own classmate, Renee Lester, knows this first hand. Both her brother and her daughter are graduates of Second Helpings culinary training program.
- Transportation (new vehicle, repairs, maintenance, etc) is a significant need for Second Helpings to be able to efficiently distribute meals throughout the community.
While our project began as a way to fulfill a graduation requirement, it ultimately transformed us individually and collectively. Whatever comes next for us as a way to apply the Leadership United lessons we have learned, I am certain we will each continue to find more ways to "Feed it Forward."
-- Erica Flores, National FFA Organization
Remember the first time you went camping? If you're like me, you have some great memories and stories about that first!
As an elementary education graduate from Indiana University, I've got a dream job. It's a job that allows me to help create such memories for children at Happy Hollow Children's Camp in Brown County.
I'm the camper recruitment coordinator for Happy Hollow, a United Way agency. Since 1951, Happy Hollow has welcomed more than 33,000 economically disadvantaged and special needs children to a camp experience full of learning and adventure.
I'm a teacher who traded a 15' X 15' classroom for an 800-acre classroom! It's a place where children ages 7 to 14 learn while playing, and where they develop a love for the natural world around them. They also begin to see new possibilities for themselves, while in a safe place with caring adults.
Each summer, our camp serves more than 800 kids. As one of the only residential camps in Indiana that focuses on economically challenged children, we help families provide opportunities that they can not otherwise not afford for their children.
Because you give to United Way, I want you to know the difference you are making for these children. In my 11 years at Happy Hollow, I've met hundreds of grateful families. Let me tell you about one.
Last spring, I received a call from a mother who was interested in sending her daughter to Happy Hollow. Because we know that 94 percent of the children at Happy Hollow qualify for free and reduced lunch at school, her story is not unlike the story of hundreds of other campers.
Mom had just lost her job and was unable to keep her car. She had to move to a rough part of town. Because mom was not comfortable letting her daughter play outside, she was restricted to playing in their apartment while mom looked for work.
Thanks to those who contribute to United Way, this young lady was able to enjoy a week of camp that was otherwise not in the budget. Like 80 percent of our campers, this young woman was from a single-parent home.
At the beginning of the week she was extremely shy and had a difficult time meeting new friends in her cabin. With a little patience and listening, her counselor helped her break out of her shell.
On the second night the camper confided in her counselor that she was worried about her mom, and wanted to be there for her during her job search. With some reassurance from the staff, this young lady was fully involved in all activities by the end of the week and had developed new friendships with her cabin mates.
Two weeks later, the camper's mother called to thank us. Mom said that since her daughter got off the camp bus she'd been telling camp stories and is eager to come back.
Through the camping experience her daughter showed improvements in her confidence, friendship making, fitness and overall energy level.
Most importantly, she was thankful that we provided a safe and supportive place where her daughter could just be a kid.
--Chris Chappell, Camper Recruitment Coordinator, Happy Hollow Children's Camp
United Way's Agency Services staff was lucky enough to spend a day at Happy Hollow in July 2011. Check out the pictures here.
Since 1958, UWCI has invested more than $5.2 million helping Happy Hollow Children’s Camp stimulate the social, mental, spiritual and physical growth in boys and girls through the challenging outdoor living and learning setting of its residential summer camp in Brown County. This funding includes nearly $940,000 from United Way’s Capital Projects Fund, nearly $340,000 from the Facilities Maintenance Fund, and $39,000 from the Technology Fund. (These were funded with monies contributed specifically for these needs and do not come from the annual campaign.) For the 2011-12 funding year, the agency’s United Way Community Fund allocation is $80,169.
Charles Haenlein, CEO & president of HVAF of Indiana, Inc., is the recipient of the 2010 "Patriot of the Year" award presented by the Military Order of the Purple Heart, Department of Indiana, for his continued work in helping homeless veterans. Haenlein is the driving force behind procuring the necessary housing and funding resources required for the programs and services provided to homeless veterans and their families. Under his tenure, HVAF was selected as one of two winners for "Oprah’s Big Give," which allowed the organization to furnish its Moreau House, a 40-apartment facility for veterans. Haenlein also has been an effective advocate for homeless veterans in his roles as the president of the Board for the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans and a member of the Indiana Homeless Advisory Committee.
--Debra Des Vignes, Communications, Marketing and Public Relations Coordinator, HVAF of Indiana, Inc.