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Agencies depend on United Way

Agencies depend on United Way

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Year after year your company may ask you to pledge funds to United Way, but do you know how the nonprofit’s partner agencies benefit from those donations?

United Way funds “allow us to provide programs and services for people who otherwise would not be served,” said Ron Rau , president and CEO of Alcohol and Drug Services.

In High Point, the organization operates Serenity Kids, a 14-session program that works with children who are affected by substance abuse, such as when their parents, grandparents, older siblings or another person in their lives is an addict.

Serenity Kids provides children with the skills to deal with these situations.

Alcohol and Drug Services’ goal is prevention. “In our minds, prevention is the ultimate treatment because it stops things before things happen,” Rau said.

With funding provided by United Way and other sources, the organization is “able to go out into the community and provide prevention services to at-risk youth in hopes to stop addictive behavior in its tracks or before it even materializes,” he said.

Communities in Schools of High Point uses funds raised by United Way to run Jump Start Reading, Grand Pals and the 21st Century Scholars program.

Funds allow the nonprofit to recruit, train and place volunteers into schools to work with students in different capacities, director Cerise Collins said.

Jump Start Reading pairs volunteers in the spring with third- and fourth-grade students reading below grade level to prepare the students for end-of-grade testing.

Grand Pals matches volunteers, who act as mentors, with second- and third-graders.

This is the first year Communities in Schools has received United Way funding for this program.

The 21st Century Scholars program focuses on career and access. Students enter the program in seventh grade and stick with the program through high school.

It helps students learn marketable skills needed beyond graduation, for either work or college.

“This is a dropout prevention program,” Collins said.

With graduation in mind, the organization works with students to explore different careers, colleges and opportunities available after school. Students participate in job shadowing, career fairs, college visits, financial aid workshops and speeches from people in a variety of fields.

“We could not brag on our successes without the support from United Way,” Collins said.

Another organization that benefits from United Way funding is Senior Resources.

“Thanks to United Way, we are able to provide community services to promote independent living for seniors,” said director Ellen Whitlock . Programs and services include nutritional seminars, physical activities and referrals to organizations for assistance.

Funds also help Senior Resources run the Foster Grandparent program. Older adults are placed one-on-one with students who need a mentor. This helps students succeed academically and socially, Whitlock said.

United Way of Greater High Point hopes to raise $4.66 million this year to fund 71 programs at 29 partner agencies. This is 3 percent more than last year’s campaign amount.

The nonprofit kicked off its campaign Sept. 10 at High Point University.

Thirty-one companies already have raised $1,743,265 through early campaigns toward the 2008 goal — 9 percent more than what was raised last year by the same companies.

The campaign runs through late January.

Contact E.A. Seagraves at 883-4422, Ext. 241, or elizabeth.seagraves


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