Lucille's plan was to work at her job building electronic parts "as long as they would have me." But at age 77, that plan fell apart when the company she worked for sent her job to China.
Unemployed and facing a mortgage payment of about $800 a month, Lucille fell behind in her payments. She tried to renegotiate with the lender on her own, but the legal terms they used on the phone and in the mail were confusing and the process hard to understand.
When Lucille was threatened with foreclosure, her daughter suggested she contact Indiana Legal Services Inc., a United Way agency, for guidance. Crystal Francis, the attorney assigned to her case, was soon able to properly submit a loan modification request. The result was a 38 percent reduction in her monthly mortgage payments and a substantial reduction in her mortgage balance.
Today, Lucille is able to take care of her mortgage and she is involved in her community too. She serves on the board of her homeowners association and volunteers at senior health fairs. She makes use of the nearby JCC, another United Way agency, for physical therapy.
Like Lucille, many seniors who are fiercely independent are likely to need help navigating legal challenges when a significant loss of income, job or other unforeseen problems arise. Often, a modest investment of legal assistance can help them protect their equity and their self sufficiency too. When you make an undesignated contribution to United Way, you’re helping seniors like Lucille not only remain independent, but continue giving back to a community they care about too.
- Mary Kinney, public/media relations director
Editor's Note: You can meet Lucille in this story produced by Fox 59. Thanks to United Way and its focus on Income, last year unrestricted contributions helped 1,358 people receive legal services so they could avoid losing their housing.
United Way currently funds three agencies that provide legal advice, education, assistance and/or representation to low-income families and individuals, including the elderly, victims of domestic violence, immigrants and persons with disabilities. Cases are limited to civil matters such as domestic violence, landlord/tenant disputes, bankruptcy/debt, foreclosure, health care, public assistance (e.g., TANF, Medicaid, unemployment), consumer fraud or family law. United Way’s total 2012/13 investment in all three agencies is nearly $638,000, including allocations and donor designations.
At my company, Fusion Alliance, I lead the Community Involvement Team and participate in United Way’s Bridges to Success initiative. This opportunity helps improve the education and communities in the IPS school district. where we partner with Riverside School #44.
As a Company that Cares, Fusion was looking for a way to provide volunteer opportunities for employees, and United Way introduced us to School #44. In the last three years, our company has:
- provided thousands of dollars of food donations;
- more than 100 working computers;
- 6th grade ‘graduation’ posters;
- medals for the basketball team;
- ear phones for the computer lab;
- engaged employees to volunteer as tutors;
- sponsored field trips;
- volunteered for Career Day and Teacher Appreciation Luncheons;
- provided a treasure chest full of student incentives;
- and read to students.
This partnership allows our employees to participate in a way that means the most to them as individuals. If someone want s hands on experiences, they can volunteer to read or tutor. If they want to participate in gardening, technology, or other community initiatives, or if they would prefer to donate to the food pantry, all commitments are welcome and appreciated.! The principal even came to our last staff meeting and gave a heart-felt thank you directly to us!
By volunteering to be the secretary for the Bridges to Success Council, I have had the opportunity to meet the most amazing and caring people from the Riverside community. Without United Way leading the charge to connect the community to public education, the true needs of this community would go unnoticed and under-served.
Probably most of the populations we work and live with are not affected by the desperate needs facing some communities, so we tend not to see them. By becoming involved with this initiative and making others aware of the needs, more people can use their voices as advocates to make a difference.
Understanding the enormous role that United Way plays in making our communities better, I decided to personally pursue other avenues of involvement beyond our corporate initiatives. I am currently participating in Women United, Leadership United, Agency Evaluations, Corporate Campaign Coordinator and soon will be an active participant for Leadership Ignited. I am also on the board of directors for a United Way agency, Families First.
Thank you United Way, for offering Fusion Alliance, and me personally, the opportunity to LIVE UNITED and become involved to make a difference in our Central Indiana communities!
- Kelly Brown, Fusion Alliance
Editor's note: As a member of United Way's current Leadership United class, Kelly and other participants all created and implemented group service projects This year, the projects focused on United Way's Read, Tutor, Mentor initiative and resulted in the donation of, more than 8,000 age-appropriate books to local schools and community centers!
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.
Fox 59's Sherman Burdette taped a segment today about United Way's ReadUP tutoring program for the station's Pay it Forward feature to air during the morning news on June 3. The story centers around how Julie Jones started volunteering for ReadUP in 2008 as a “resume builder,” but continues because she always leaves her session “in a better mood.” Jones is an administrator at St.Vincent Health. Her student, Addie Mitchell, improved her reading dramatically and is a better student now too, Jones said. Their story will be used to encourage Fox viewers to come to United Way's kickoff for recruiting volunteers for the next school year on June 6 on Monument Circle or one of four other locations.
Update (June 3, 2013): This segment aired on Fox 59 this morning. You can watch it in its entirety here.
About 20 job seekers connected with local employers May 9 at a Reverse Commute Job Fair in Lebanon to explore a variety of vacancies, complete applications and arrange interviews. Commuters and businesses alike were enthusiastic about the bus line that is opening between the IndyGo stop at Capitol and Ohio and the Lebanon Business Park. This is an exciting collaboration that addresses community needs. United Way of Central Indiana applauds the efforts of the Lebanon business community, CIRTA, Boone County Senior Services and the supporting human service agencies that are working together so people have the tools and support to create financial stability.
A reverse commute is a route regularly taken from a metropolitan area to a suburban area for employment. Reverse commuters travel in the opposite direction of typical commuters and encounter less traffic congestion.
--Christie Snyder, Boone County Area Director for United Way of Central Indiana
Imagine how you feel when you realize you've missed out on something big. You missed an invite to a great party, or were looked over for a career changing project at work. No matter what it was, it can leave you feeling depressed and confused about being left behind. Now, imagine starting kindergarten then realizing that other kids around you were exposed to 32 million more words than you were. It probably feels impossible to catch up and difficult not to feel cheated.
Unfortunately, children from low-income neighborhoods are at high-risk of what researchers call a "word deficit". Among socioeconomic groups, there is not only a disparity in the complexity of words used, but also astonishing differences in the quantity. Children of professionals are, on average, exposed to approximately 1,500 more words hourly than children growing up in poverty. This results in a gap of more than 32 million words by the time the children reached the age of 4.
So, how do we shrink the gap? At United Way, we believe that high-quality child care can make a big difference for a future kindergartner. We also believe in the power of a caring adult and strong community partnerships. Why not bring them all together?
At Mt. Carmel Academy, 11 volunteers spent time with 11 preschoolers exploring new vocabulary words. They played educational apps on iPads, practiced literacy skills with games and read stories to puppies. Yep, puppies.
United Way, WFYI and Indy-Humane leveraged their relationship as Reuben Community Grant recipients to create a kindergarten readiness event featuring PBS Kids' "Martha Speaks", a TV show about a talking dog who teaches puppies new vocabulary. The volunteers, who were iPad experts, helped the students practice and explore new literacy skills and spent time playing and reading with puppies - just like Martha.
While puppies, preschoolers and iPads may be an unlikely match-up, it was the perfect way for these future kindergartners to get a boost and close that word gap so they can be ready to learn in August.
- Heather Girton, Early Childhood Project Manager, United Way of Central Indiana
Your gifts, William’s story: United Way income investment matched employer with a good worker who now has a good life
Last June, William LaCour, 55, celebrated his 20th anniversary as an employee of Bright Ideas, a Broad Ripple family-owned specialty advertising business. What makes that milestone an even greater cause for celebration is that William's beating the odds by even having a job.
An estimated 70 percent of working age people with disabilities, like William, are unemployed or underemployed. William not only has a steady income that allows him to meet basic needs, but he and his wife live across the street from his office in a home they are buying.
Bev Middaugh, CEO, hired him after a job specialist at Noble of Indiana met with her about offering supported employment for one of their clients. Reluctant at first, Bev did agree to making a list of duties an entry level staffer might do to free up others to focus on their jobs. With that long list, Bev agreed to interview Will, and immediately hired him.
Now, he's the go-to man at Bright Ideas, taking care of cleaning, moving boxes, managing inventory and any number of other daily chores. Joking with Bev, William tells her that he doesn't know "what she would do without him."
In recent years, William and Bev have made presentations to help others see what their experience has proven: an investment in supporting workers like William with training and job placement pays dividends for the whole community.
Once after William spoke to other Noble clients about his work and his life, Bev said his audience was "enraptured that he had the life they wanted. He is their super hero!"
"Will's story beautifully illustrates United Way's mission: helping people learn more, earn more and lead safe and healthy lives," said Rita Davis, Noble's director of community development. "Our jobs can help shape and direct other areas of our lives. By achieving success and finding happiness and self sufficiency in his job, Will has done just that."
--Mary L. Kinney, Public/media relations director
Note: You can meet William and Bev in this story produced by WTHR Channel 13. Thanks to United Way and its focus on Income, 1.114 persons with disabilities worked in competitive wage jobs for a community-based employer or while self-employed in 2011-2012. United Way currently funds seven agencies that provide employment services to people with disabilities. United Way's total 2012/13 investment in those seven agencies is just over $2.1 million. Thank you!
Since 1958, UWCI has invested more than $14 million helping Noble of Indiana. This includes grants of more than $1.2 million for capital, maintenance and technology improvements from funds contributed specifically for such needs. The agency’s 2012/2013 Community Fund allocation is $451,487.
Where do you turn if you can't see to read in school and an eye exam and glasses aren't in the family budget? In April, for more than 170 IPS students, the answer has a name: it's EyeLeen the mobile vision van that offered free eye exams and free eyeglasses for students referred by their school. It's one of several partnerships that United Way's Bridges to Success sets up to help more kids succeed in school and in life. Thanks to OneSight's mobile clinic, LensCrafters, Sears Optical, Sunglass Hut and Target Optical for providing 174 free eye exams and 163 pairs of free eyeglasses to IPS students over two days last month. It made these kiddos from IPS 44 and Ayden smile, and be better prepared in the classroom!
Daisy Miller, age 68, fell out of a car when she was 4 years old and developed Osteomyelitis in her leg bone. The infection never cured, and she battled periodic flare-ups and treatments her entire life. Amputation was finally required, and proud, independent, hard working Daisy had to do something she had never done before: ask for help.
The Westfield trustee referred her to us: PrimeLife Enrichment, a United Way partner, for help with her mortgage, and our social worker arranged for a community partner to make the payment.
Our Assistance to the Homebound Coordinator arranged for SAWS (Servants at Work), a Christian volunteer organization, to build a ramp at her home/business. We also provided a senior companion to help with housekeeping, and found other volunteers to help with some outside work that she was unable to manage.
Reluctantly, Daisy has used our transportation since her surgery. But she prefers to drive herself, and will do so again after she has mastered her permanent prosthesis.
Like Daisy, many people who are fiercely independent will likely always have a time when they need help.
Native of the Ojibwa tribe, Daisy learned to work hard a bit earlier than most. Growing up near Sioux Lookout, Ontario, Canada, she helped her fur trapper father prepare pelts for market, and worked with her mother to make fishing nets, sew and bead.
The sign in front of Daisy’s Alterations, her Westfield business, states that she can work with leather — an understatement, since Daisy learned to “work with leather” before she learned to read.
She married an American airman who brought her to the U.S. Though the marriage didn’t last, Daisy’s American citizenship did, and America is richer for her choice. She raised the couple’s three children virtually alone.
“I always worked two or three jobs at a time — alterations, factory work, nursing home work.“ Daisy got a few weeks behind in her work after her surgery and the time she needed to learn to walk with her new artificial leg. But soon, she was back to work and again open for business.
--Sandy Stewart, executive director, PrimeLife Enrichment
Note: You can meet Daisy in this story produced by RTV 6. Thanks to United Way and its focus on Health, more than 7,000 senior citizens got help with transportation and received in home services so they did not have to give up their homes and require full time or costly nursing care. Thank you!
United Way currently funds 21 agencies that provide center-based senior programming, either exclusively or as part of a broader services. During the 2011/12 reporting year, more than 48,828 seniors participated in those center-based activities. United Way's total 2012/13 investment in all 21 agencies is just over $4.9 million.
Since 1981, UWCI has invested more than $4.8 million helping PrimeLife Enrichment, Inc. This 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.