UW Sunday Column 9-14-14: Our Community is Better United

This past week, United Way kicked off its annual campaign, marking the 92nd year in which our nonprofit, community and business leaders came together for the betterment of our community. Over the years, many of Springfield’s most distinguished citizens have stepped forward to lead this community-wide effort.

Individuals bearing the Lanphier, Troxell, Bunn, Shnirring and Cadigan names represent only a fraction of people on this long list of campaign chairs. As such, our family is humbled and deeply honored to lead this year’s United Way campaign.

Within our family, we know

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UW Sunday Column 9-7-14: Stop donating, start investing

United Way of Central Illinois kicks off its 2014 campaign with a breakfast this week.

And how would you react if I were to ask you and all prospective donors not to make a donation to United Way this year?

Would you think it was strange and that I was crazy?

After all, why on earth would the president of our local United Way ask the public not to donate?

United Way doesn’t want your donation. We want your investment. I am asking and would encourage you to consider an investment in United Way’s Community Fund…an investment in your community…an investment which you expect us to demonstrate positive, meaningful change in our community.

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UW Sunday Column 8-31-14: How to raise awareness of domestic violence in October

Did you know?

On average in the United States, more than three women a day are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends and at least one in three women globally are beaten, raped or otherwise abused during her lifetime. In most cases, the abuser is a member of her own family.

Domestic violence is a costly and persistent problem in our country, causing victims, as well as witnesses and innocent bystanders, in every community to suffer incalculable pain and loss.

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UW Sunday Column 8-24-14: Committed to meeting basic community needs

It is that time of year again, back to school.

I was in the store getting groceries, and there it was … the display for back-to-school supplies. How is it that the summer goes by so fast?

I was struck by a mom who was going over the required supply list and telling her son that they could not afford the newest and latest binder.

It made me think of Kendra, one of the moms who now stays in our Transitional Shelter with her six children, five of whom need school supplies, backpacks and new tennis shoes all before school starts.

Back to school can be an exciting time for kids but going back to school not knowing if you will have what you need to start school or more importantly where you will sleep each night is scary.

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UW Sunday Column 8-17-14: Help girls find leadership voice with Girl Scouts

It’s that time of year again, and I’d like to invite you — a busy parent about to send your children back to school — to add one more thing to your long list of “to dos”: help your daughter find her leadership voice and further develop her character by registering as a Girl Scout.

In previous messages from Girl Scouts of Central Illinois, you have learned that Girl Scouting is about so much more than cookies, camp and crafts and that we delve into the areas of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), environmental stewardship, healthy living, the arts and community service, but what does that really mean for your daughter? How can the skills she learns through her Girl Scout experience help her be more successful in school? How can being a Girl Scout increase her odds of becoming a class leader or student body advocate? How can an hour or two a month help your daughter gain specific knowledge, skills, attitudes, behaviors and values?

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UW Sunday Column 8-10-14: Local health center among nation’s successful facilities

Each year the second week in August is dedicated to celebrating the services and contributions of community health centers.

While there are countless reasons to celebrate America’s health centers, among the most important and unique is their long success in providing access to affordable, high-quality, cost-effective health care to medically vulnerable and underserved people throughout the United States.

Central Counties Health Centers Inc., currently located on East Cook Street, has been a part of the Springfield community for nearly 15 years, identifying the specific needs of those we serve and developing programs and services to address the healthcare needs of the medically underserved living in Springfield and Sangamon County.

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UW Sunday Column 8-3-14: Working together for more hopeful futures

The beginning of August represents a time of celebration in our community.

Summer programs are coming to an end, families are preparing their children for the upcoming school year and later this week, the Illinois State Fair will bring our community together to showcase the best of Illinois.

In addition, August represents a time of renewed hope for the thousands of individuals and families in need throughout our area because August represents the unofficial kickoff to United Way’s 2014 Campaign for the Common Good.

Although this year’s campaign does not officially begin until our Kickoff Breakfast on Sept. 10, during August, our local agencies and eleven local employers step forward to run their company campaigns early and set the pace for our community.

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