LOCAL NEWS in Jamestown Post Journal - January 23, 2019 Daryl Simons Jr.
United Way of Southern Chautauqua County Executive Director Amy Rohler emphasized the point that the goal of United Way isn’t fundraising, but rather about building up the community, helping out those in need within the community, and increasing community involvement as a whole working towards that goal. Photo by Daryl Simons Jr.
“Many hands make light work,” Kurt Eimiller, 2018 UWSCC Campaign Chair.
United Way of Southern Chautauqua County (UWSCC) held its “Knock Out Campaign Celebration” recognizing the numerous individuals and organizations who helped raise $1,346,780 for the Southern Chautauqua County region. This year’s celebration was held at the Reg Lenna Center for the Arts, downtown Jamestown, 116 E. Third St.
“To pull out a number like that in a rural county in Western New York is just incredible, and it really goes to the people who are involved with this campaign,” said Eimiller
Amy Rohler, Executive Director of UWSCC, emphasized the point that the goal of United Way isn’t fundraising, but rather about building up the community, helping out those in need within the community, and increasing community involvement as a whole working towards that goal.
“We are about knocking out poverty in our community. And knocking down barriers that people have to academic success, or being ready for the workforce, or entering school being ready to learn. All that we [UWSCC] do is just a means to an end, which is to really make a difference in our community, and to mobilize our community to help every person improve their lives. That’s our mission, that is why we do what we do,” said Rohler.
Kranky Plate Productions produced video was created to help the fundraising efforts over 2018. The video detailed the stories of individuals of which United Way has helped and impacted their lives.
A new outreach program had been implemented over the past year which involved people registering for text updates by UWSCC, of which 80 people have now registered for these updates. To receive these updates, you can text “United” to 888111, which will be sent out quarterly.
Another particular point of emphasis is getting more young people involved. UWSCC started an “Emerging Leaders” program to acknowledge individuals under the age of 40 who have made at least $500 in contributions during the year.
“By 2025, I believe 75 percent of the workforce will be millennials. So, continuing to make sure that they are aware of everything that United Way does in the community, and the impact that we have. Probably many of our programs touch their lives, or their families lives. And that’s something that most people don’t even realize that Chautauqua Blind Association, for example, does vision screening on kids under five. And probably their child has been screened by Chautauqua Blind Association for free because of United Way,” said Rohler
UWSCC invests time and resources in a variety of programs within the region, here are some of the programs: ALICE FAMILIES (Asset Limited Income Constrained Employed), Community Baby Showers, Community Status Report, Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative, 2-2-1, 12 Months of Caring, Coalition of Women and Girls, and VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance). Overall, UWSCC invests into 39 different programs administered by 26 local agencies.
Chris Colburn, President of UWSCC, explained that all of the work that United Way is able to do within the region wouldn’t be possible if it weren’t for the collective effort of the people.
“From individuals who are working on the floors of our factories, in the halls of our businesses, and our large foundations, we step back and realize that when we collectively come together and contribute, we can really accomplish some amazing things,” said Colburn.
The UWSCC lists some measures on their website that demonstrates the return of investment for donors. The measures are: academic success, ready workforce, self-sufficiency, and health & independence. In the same order, 1,165 children entered school ready to learn, 1,383 young adults were able to learn soft skills, 208 individual were able to attain stable housing, and 933 older adults could stay in their own home.
For more information about UWSCC or looking to help, go to www.uwayscc.org. Financial donations, advocates, and volunteers are always welcome and needed.