Everyone knows the United Way does good things for the community, but what exactly does it do?
"That is a question I have been asked a few times during my time as the president of the board of directors for Lycoming County United Way," said volunteer John Brunette.
"Much of the community knows that in the fall, United Way asks individuals and businesses to support the annual campaign through cash donations," Brunette explained. "We have a network of hundreds of volunteers who oversee different divisions from employees giving in their workplaces to retirees who are asked to support the campaign through the residential division."
"In the spring, another group of about 60-70 community volunteers meet with local non-profit human service program providers to learn more about the individual programs. The volunteers are trained to evaluate the programs based on community need and the program's proven outcomes and measureable results," Brunette said. "The volunteers then make a recommendation to the board of directors how to allocate the funds raised."
"Lycoming County United Way is focused on five critical community needs areas: nurturing our children, serving those with special needs, caring for people in crisis, supporting our seniors, and strengthening our families," added Brunette. "97 percent of United Way funds raised in the annual campaign stay here in Lycoming County. The goal of our organization is to use our donor's dollars effectively to make long lasting positive changes to those living in this county."
A few examples of how LCUW invests in our community:
$309 - Cost to provide rent, emergency lodging, food, infant formula & supplies, clothing, seasonal garments, comfort kits, etc. for one Disaster Response by Red Cross. Without United Way funding, where does a displaced family go after a house fire?
$29 - cost to provide one week of "Meals on Wheels" meals to a homebound, low income senior citizen who is unable to prepare his/her own meals. Without United Way funding, should this person go hungry?
$65 - cost to provide 30 minutes of therapy for a child with special needs at Children's Development Center. Without United Way funding, would these children get the highly specialized therapy they need?
$76 - cost to provide one hour of outpatient counseling at Diakon Family Life Services. Without United Way funding, low-income residents would not be able to access counseling services on a sliding scale fee.
$11 - cost of one round-trip for a Hope Enterprises individual to get to the facility. If Hope Enterprises did not receive United Way funding, people with developmental disabilities would not receive services to aide in their development/improvement of their vocational skills as well as social and community awareness skills.
78 cents - cost of one hour of class or tutoring at The Learning Center (TLC). Without United Way funding, adults in need of literacy, GED, or English language classes would not have access to free classes. Lack of job skills affects the workforce and entire economy of Lycoming County. After recent major cuts in government funding, TLC would have had to close without United Way funding.
$108 - cost of one hour of social services at North Central Sight Services. Without United Way funding, more than 3,600 visually-impaired residents of Lycoming County would not have access to a program that keeps them as independent as possible and remain in their own homes.
$64 - cost of one hour of classroom education by Valley Prevention Service teaching youth the effects of using alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs along with real-life refusal skills. Is preventing drug use in the first place better than treating abuse and addiction?
$57 - cost of one visit with a Registered Nurse for a low-income, first-time mother. Nurse Family Partnership utilizes United Way funds to help low-income, first-time mothers throughout their pregnancies and first two years of the child's life with professional mentoring and parental education.
$10 - cost for one hour of senior services at the YMCA. Without United Way funding, more than 1,000 seniors would not have access to programs at the YMCA that promote good health and socialization.
$61 - cost for one hour of teen programming at the YMCA to get teens off the street and into a safe environment where they can learn to be their best selves. Without United Way funding, what kinds of unhealthy activities could youth get into?
$41 - cost for one hour of service with Wise Options at YWCA of Northcentral PA. Without United Way funding, more than 1,400 victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and other violent crimes would not have access to resources and support they need during a time of crisis.
$51 - cost for one overnight at Liberty House, a program of the YWCA. Liberty House is currently filled to capacity. Without United Way funding, Liberty House would not be able to provide shelter to homeless women who are working on becoming self-sufficient.
$1,367 - cost to train a specialized volunteer for CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) a program of YWCA. Without United Way funding, abused children in need of a CASA would not have a voice to represent them in the court system.
For more information on Lycoming County United Way or to make a donation that supports all of these programs and more, visit the office at One West Third Street, Suite 208, Williamsport; call 323-9448; log onto the website at lcuw.org; or become a fan on Facebook.