If you are a Greater New Haven resident or have driven through in I-95, you probably know about the new Quinnipiac Bridge that is being constructed along Interstate-95. PCL Civil Constructors are one of the contractors currently working on the bridge, and most, if not all, of them have actually moved here to do the construction. Based out of Tampa, Florida, PCL has been a dedicated supporter of United Way and it is evident that that dedication stands no matter where they might be in the country.
Last month employees of the United Parcel Service facility located in North Haven, CT participated in United Way’s Days of Caring. Led by manager, Greg Wines, a group of about seven employees volunteered at The Diaper Bank, located, coincidentally, right across the street from their UPS facility. UPS has been a long-time supporter of United Way and our community partners. When Greg Wines was asked if he wanted to participate, there was no hesitation.
Mr. Jones (not his real name) is a single father of two who has been coming to the Catholic Charities/Centro San Jose Family Center for several years. He originally came in to talk to our case manger to receive assistance accessing benefits through the EarnBenefits screening program, as well as use our food pantry when he was unable to find child care, and thus employment. Recently he came to enroll his two children into one of our NAEYC accredited, full day, full year school readiness programs on Grand Avenue. His two boys, ages 3 and 4, had never been in school before. Mr. Jones has been so appreciative that his boys have a warm, nurturing and educational place for them to go to everyday and has been able to go back to work since he has child care for them.
Representatives from across campus recently gathered to kick-off Yale’s 2011-2012 United Way Campaign. Fifty volunteer champions convened at the Sterling Hall of Medicine and Sterling Memorial Library orientations, which were planned to unite volunteers with United Way staff, as well as with the University’s Campaign committee. Madeline Ravich, Executive Director of The Diaper Bank and Yale School of Management alumnus, also offered remarks on the need to give babies a healthy start in life.
Over the last couple of years, United Way of Greater New Haven has been building a community blogging presence. Our theory was that United Way is uniquely positioned as a connector for many area social organizations and community leaders. For this reason a United Way blog would be a natural way to connect more people in the community to these perspectives. We saw it as an efficient way to make the Greater New Haven nonprofit sector a little more transparent and show the community the various perspectives of people working in the field.
We started with staff and later expanded to include bloggers from many positions in the community, yet saw that many of our new bloggers struggled to find their voice. One of the first things we learned is that bloggers were hesitant to undertake the more informal communication style of a blog. Another challenge was that many bloggers were unsure why it was important to blog. Even with these challenges, we have seen the blog slowly grow and improve over time. Our traffic is still relatively low, however in the last year we have seen a 63% increase in traffic. Hopefully we can maintain that trend.
Hunger is a prevalent problem in the U.S. According to a recent report by the USDA, almost 49 million U.S. Americans, including 16.2 million children, struggle with finding enough to eat. In Connecticut alone, there are 400,000 citizens without enough to eat. With the poverty rate continuing to rise during the recession, the need for services that abate hunger will only increase.
In light of such startling statistics, you may ask yourself, "What can I do to help?" Take action! September is Hunger Action Month -a time to vow to help fight hunger. There are several ways you can go about this -you can GIVE, ADVOCATE, or VOLUNTEER.
United Way of Greater New Haven is proud to announce that Diane Young Turner has been named Chair of the Board of Directors. Turner, Yale University’s Associate University Librarian for Human Resources & Organizational Development, is no stranger to United Way. Turner served as the Campaign Chair in 2009 and has been on the United Way Board of Directors since 2009. She also served as a member of United Way’s Success By 6 Advisory Council from 2007 to 2009 and was a co-recipient of the 2007 Champion for Advancing the Common Good Award for her outstanding work in leading the Yale Book Drive for three years, collecting thousands of children’s books for New Haven Reads and Read to Grow. As part of United Way's Days of Caring, Diane helped expand the book drive to include Albertus Magnus College, Gateway Community College, Southern Connecticut State University, Quinnipiac University, and Yale, which collected over 4,000 books that were distributed throughout the Greater New Haven community.
We are excited to share with you the ways in which United Way of Greater New Haven is creating opportunities for a better life for those in our region who need help. By focusing on the building blocks of a good quality of life – Education, Income, and Health – United Way is improving lives in our community.
Over this past year, thanks to the generosity of over 10,000 donors and the commitment of hundreds of partners, United Way made $7.3 million available to address the key issues facing our community. As a result, more children are prepared for school, more individuals and families are financially stable, and more people have nutritious food.
Last Wednesday night was open house for the parents and guardians of Barnard students, a chance to meet teachers and see what the school year ahead holds for the kids.
As the parents and guardians entered the school, they were greeted by a banner declaring that Barnard is proud to be a Boost! school. In addition to this outside banner, there was me, included in the row of tables introducing the parents and guardians to the Student Services office and the fall fundraiser, among other things.
My day started at Truman School in the Hill section of New Haven. The school is immaculate and architecturally stunning as the remodel that occurred five years ago incorporated the beauty of the original structure as it was totally modernized. The reason for my visit was to accompany ten of the volunteers and leaders from Yale-New Haven Hospital (YNHH) as they delivered a truck load of school supplies. Every year for the last ten years the employees of the hospital organize a drive as part of the United Way Annual Campaign to collect these supplies from their fellow.
United Way Days of Caring 2010 included over 235 volunteers at 34 projects to benefit non-profit agencies and schools in Greater New Haven. DOC participants contributed thousands of dollars in volunteer time.
As part of their national, Community Partnership Day 2011, “People for People”, Novartis Inc., a large pharmaceutical company, spend their day at IRIS, Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services, in New Haven, donating their time and talent. United Way helped to set up and organize their day and celebrated their day as part of their Annual Days of Caring!
Hello! My name is Deede Dixon and I'm here with United Way: Boost! through the Episcopal Service Corps! I graduated from Trinity College in 2010 with a biology major and a religion minor, and I spent the last year up in the mountains of New Hampshire. I worked at an outdoor education center that focused on environmental education, community building, and leadership development. It took my love for the outdoors, combined it with the magic that can be found in intentional communities, and included faith in every individual's potential to flourish. The programs ranged from a 6th grade class to families influenced by down syndrome, and they came for one to five days. The program showed me how to connect and play with youth, and I learned great leadership and organizational techniques. I loved the support, knowledge, and growth that we could share with others at our site. The fun games, beautiful views, and silly songs were always a plus too.
In honor of the men and women who volunteered their services to aid the victims of the 9/11 attacks, there will be a "Building a Better World" fair held 3-5 p.m. on Sept. 11 on the New Haven Green. Representatives from local community service programs will be on hand to discuss their work, and to welcome new volunteers. Some of the groups that will participate include New Haven Reads, IRIS — Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services, Common Ground, Habitat for Humanity of Greater New Haven, JUNTA for Progressive Action Inc., Boys & Girls Club of New Haven, the Connecticut Mental Health Center Foundation and United Way of Greater New Haven.
When I immigrated to New York, the first thing I saw the huge sign entering the borough, “Welcome to the Bronx.” My eyes were filled with tears knowing that I was leaving my family and my home country of Peru.
Growing up in the South Bronx was no easy task. According to the New York census, the South Bronx is considered to be one of the poorest neighborhoods in New York State. So, how do I get to become an AmeriCorps Vista for the Boost! Program? Seeing the huge amount of poverty in the Bronx made me realize that a lot of children won't take advantage of the education in the United States offers. The reason for this problem is there are not enough positive role models or families involved in the schools.
As the September 11th National Day of Service and Remembrance approaches, we want to share this new public service announcement by First Lady Michelle Obama. In it, she calls on Americans to remember the spirit of unity and compassion that bound all of us together 10 years ago and asks Americans to find ways to pay tribute to those who were lost and to honor the heroes who answered the call to serve on that day and in the weeks and months that followed.
Imagine a man with salt and pepper hair that resembles a mullet, with a body in peak physical condition, and always wearing a bright purple item of clothing. This man held you responsible for your actions, accepted nothing but the best from you, and if you weren’t paying attention, would jump on top of your desk. His mantra was to always have a “positive mental attitude” and even after cancer attacked his body, the only change you saw was him ramming into your desk with a scooter instead of jumping on top of it. Mr. P was my 7th grade social studies teacher and he rocked. Everyone wanted to be in his class. I considered myself lucky when I found out he was my teacher because that made me the 4th member in my extended family to have him. It also meant I had 4 different names. They all had told me to watch out, he was crazy, but a good kind of crazy. And after being in his crazy classroom, the only thing I wanted to be was a teacher.
I began working with kids in high school, coaching at first, then working at a summer day camp, and then running a site at an after-school program, all of the time thinking that it was great practice for me for when I became a teacher. I spent 5 years of college and 17 very long weeks student teaching in order to graduate and earn my certification in secondary education with a concentration in social studies. However, the summer after I graduated, I decided to try something different, and applied to an AmeriCorps position as the Education Coordinator for a Boys & Girls Club in Olympia, WA. To my surprise, and to the surprise of my family and friends, I was on a plane to Olympia three weeks later.
The spider is the mascot of my alma mater, the University of Richmond (Richmond, Virginia). So how did I come to the United Way from the Spiders?
As an undergraduate, I discovered my passion for creating social justice in this world. I explored this passion both academically, as a Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies major, and as an activist, a leader in many different organizations that worked towards establishing equality for all people. After graduating in 2009, I returned to my home state of Connecticut. For two years, I bounced around from job to job: an office assistant at a plumbing company, a temp through an agency, a Crew Leader for the 2010 Census, and an intern in the New Haven Mayor's Office at the Prison Reentry Initative.
When I tell people that I am one of three AmeriCorps VISTA members working with United Way's Boost! Initiative, their first reactions are to say, "HUH?!"
Interestingly enough, AmeriCorps can be described as a domestic Peace Corps. Volunteers across the country work in various positions to combat the same issue, poverty.
Instead of traveling half way around the world to volunteer my time to the greater good, I moved from Waterbury, CT to New Haven. It was not that big of a leap, considering I received my undergraduate education at Southern CT State University here in the City and I am familiar with the area already.
With my skills and background, I know I am a great fit for the Boost! project. I majored in Anthropology with minors in Wellness and Women's Studies. Since wellness is the health of body, mind, and soul, or a wholeness, it is only befitting that I work with Boost!. The project focuses on four broad areas: physical health, social and behavioral health, family support and engagement/extended learning opportunities.