By LEIGH C. MERRIFIELD | News & Journal Editor
The United Way of Harrison County works tirelessly to make an impact on communities in the local area.
United Way volunteers depend upon the generosity of caring folks within Harrison County, and the organization’s annual campaign affirms that there ARE truly generous givers here in the vicinity.
This year’s fundraising campaign will end on February 28th, and to date, they are within 13% of reaching their projected goal. Executive Director Tina Yoke said, “We are very hopeful that we’ll meet our goal again this year, but we still have a way to go.”
The United Way of Harrison County invited non-profit health and human service organizations within Harrison County to apply for funding earlier this year. Those interested in being considered for funding in the 2018 calendar year were asked to send in the name of their organization, their director’s name and contact information, and provide the organization’s goal and the length of time they had been providing services to those in Harrison County.
Two new programs in Harrison County were recently chosen to be included for funding – an after-school program through the Harrison County Board of Education and the Harrison Community Learning Center (formerly Literacy Volunteers of Harrison County). Both entities applied earlier in the fall and both are concentrating on innovative ways to promote literacy. Their goal is to work as partners to help make a lasting difference to individuals, to help them succeed, and therefore, ultimately help the entire community thrive.
United Way agencies that are currently funded focus on stabilizing finances for families, assisting with access to medical care, and education in order to build a better life and a stronger community.
These two additional organizations will both focus on educational building blocks. “They are three-year grants for both of these new organizations, so they won’t have to write a grant every year,” Mrs. Yoke explained. “Their funding will be a commitment from United Way for a three-year period, thus enabling them to fully concentrate during that time on providing their services. Literacy has been a critical issue here in Harrison County, so we were happy to include this focus area in our funding. And this assistance will encompass help for both children and adults, so we are right in tune with the United Way’s worldwide vision of giving all individuals from every walk of life the opportunity to succeed.”
Mrs. Yoke said that funding for these two new programs will not come from the campaign funds. “Every so often one of our agencies may close and they may close before their funds have been exhausted. We will use that leftover money to fund these new programs,” she stated.
The Harrison Community Learning Center will continue its efforts with English as a second language, giving opportunities for life-long learning. The Board of Education will offer after-school programs, tutoring to children in at-risk situations and will allow programs like Energy Express, for instance, to provide learning during the summer months.
“This is something a little different than what we have done in the past, but it helps us broaden our areas to help people in Harrison County,” Mrs. Yoke added. “Both of the newly funded programs will have to provide regular reporting to our Board of Directors, but we are very excited about this. We want to make an impact in our local communities and this is another way for us to accomplish that.”
Advocates of United Way organizations throughout the world – whether volunteers or donors – help millions of people worldwide. That is why their campaigns mean so much. They work diligently to offer solutions to those who might otherwise fall through the cracks. They mean what they say when they ask their communities to “Live United”.