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In our 2013 Campaign video, we highlighted eight families or individuals who have benefitted from United Way funded programs and initiatives. They have graciously allowed us to share their story so that you can have a glimpse of real people benefitting from your gift. Click here to download a printable version of their stories - great for use during your company's workplace campaign.
Kendra came to United Way through the Summer Youth Employment program. She spent 8 weeks with us learnng critical job skills and now feels equipped to take on an office job. She is graduating from high school in the spring and will attend college next fall. Kendra said that her summer job taught her the importance of teamwork. "They showed me that teamwork and having a positive attitude will help you become a successful, mature person in the workforce. I really appreciate the opportunities for my future the women and men at United Way showed me."
Kevin, Laterion & Lavarion
Twin boys Laterion & Lavarion enjoy spending time with their Big Brothers. "I used to be bored, but now I have lots of things to do instead of just watching TV. My big brother and I go to the movies, play basketball and just hang out" said Laterion. His big brother Kevin agreed that they have a blast together: “It’s nice to make an impact in the community. We play sports together and spend time talking about school and life. He has a great attitude about school. I am looking forward to seeing him grow up in the community.”
Bruce & Madge
Married for 61 years, Bruce & Madge recieve Meals on Wheels from Family Service because Madge can no longer cook. The meals are a stress-reliever for Bruce: Growing up with many sisters who loved to cook, he said he never learned too many recipes on his own. Now he doesn't have to worry about cooking every meal of every day. Bruce was a United Way volunteer for many years at Carle before he retired! Bruce said, "The volunteers do a super job—they are always on time, and will come in and set the meals out on our table. They will even adjust the meals to our tastes—we are not big fans of broccoli!”
Monica & Craig
Monica couldn't afford her regular dental exam on her fixed income. SmileHealthy's mobile dental clinic allows Monica to recieve regular checkups, boosting her confidence without breaking the bank. Her uncle, Craig, is thankful that the services are available for her.
Kaly & Bailey
Kaly is a single mother working full time, while her daughter Bailey attends preschool. They live in a women's shelter while they work to establish themselves. Kaly said, "Living [in a women’s shelter] gives me a sense of empowerment. I know that we will have the ability to live independently soon. We will move out of the shelter into a place of our own in the next few months.”
Kurtis & Belinda
Kurtis, Belinda and their three children were living well before the recession hit. With the downturn in the economy, Kurtis' construction company folded. He took a new job, but is now making only half the salary he used to. With the change in family income coupled with children's health problems, they soon found themselves out of savings, behind on their mortgage and unable to make ends meet. Through a financial literacy course at Salt & Light, they were able to pay off their bills within six weeks. Kurtis said, "The course saved our home. It’s not easy: we had to make a lot of sacrifices. Now we have a realistic budget and are able to build up our savings."
Gloria, Keandre & Deandre
Gloria and her two boys have lived in Rantoul for four years. She's a single mother who works extremely hard to provide for Keandre and Deandre, 5th and 8th grade, but sometimes can't make ends meet. She uses the food pantry and other services available at the Community Service Center of Northern Champaign County to help her through difficult times. "I work hard, but sometimes I don’t have enough, and they always help us by giving. We give back to the pantry by volunteering as a family," Gloria said.
Steve was looking to get involved in the community when he moved here four years ago. Through the Emerging Community Leaders program, he found volunteer opportunities and ways to get involved. Steve remarked, "I have been energized by the amazing people that I have had the opportunity to meet. Chances are, I never would have crossed paths with many of those folks. Volunteering opens your eyes to the idea that we are capable of doing more than we ever thought we were capable of. Life is just more fun when sharing the resources, gifts and talents we were given!"