Early 2013 the United Way Board of Directors elected to focus on these funding priorities to best impact the community in the coming years. This strategic move will help further the community as we move ahead, out of our recent recession and into a prosperous future.
Description: Helping children and youth achieve their potential.
• Children develop and increase literacy skills to grade level by 4th grade.
• Young people graduate from high school or achieve a GED.
INCOME (Financial Stability)
Description: Helping families become financial stable and independent, while ensuring that basic needs are met.
• Families have support for basic needs, including adequate safe shelter and food.
• Lower-income families move toward financial stability & self-sufficiency.
Description: Improving people’s health.
• Obesity is reduced by community members taking advantage of healthy food options and exercise, including outdoor recreation.
• Youth and adults avoid illegal and prescription drug abuse.
2-1-1 - This 24/7 Information and Referral Hotline is slated to became operational in December 2011. Callers seeking information on local services simply dial the three digit number 2-1-1. Most of the state of Michigan is covered by this number which provides real time, local data on services for callers. The system also provides reports back to the local community on services requested and referrals made. This information can be used to identify need areas and help improve services for citizens.
Poverty Reduction Initiative - Working with other agencies, we are developing programs to help families get off the financial tightrope. United Way's Volunteer Center is the hub for Navigators and community members in need to connect. This supportive relationship provides the needed connection and network it takes to move from poverty.
Transportation - through the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program seniors are able to recieve rides to and from doctor appointments. United Way's Volunteer Center partners with the American Cancer Society (ACS) to host the ACS 'Road to Recovery' program, providing rides to individuals with cancer for treatment in Petoskey and other areas.
Volunteer Center - United Way's Volunteer Center has been a vital part of the community since 1990. It is the mission of Volunteer Center to serve the volunteer needs of Otsego County by providing additional resources for volunteer recruitment, recognition, and management. The purpose of Volunteer Connections is to develop and promote volunteerism and to connect people and.resources to build upon community strengths and to help solve unmet community needs. The Volunteer Center assists organizations in maximizing their utilization of volunteers while assisting community members in finding meaningful volunteer opportunities. In 2012 the Volunteer Center took over the "Lunch Buddy" program when Big Brothers Big Sisters closed their door. To learn more about the Volunteer Center as a host site or to volunteer, call the coordinator at 989-705-8584.
Day of Caring - Volunteers come together to complete projects for local non-profits. The first Day of Caring was held in 2012.
Stuff the Bus - Each year United Way collects a bus-full of school supplies to donate to children who can't afford them. Stuff the Bus is held in August - look for posters, check the papers and consider contributing to help us STUFF THE school BUS.
Project Connect - Each year nearly 650 people were connected with the services they desperately needed during this one day event. This project is a collaborative activity of the Otsego Human Service Network. (not held in 2013)
Emergency Food and Shelter Program - Otsego County United Way is the local administrator of the Federal Emergency Food and Shelter Program, which brought $25,783 of federal funds into the community in 2010. These funds were distributed to: Otsego County Food Pantry, The Salvation Army, and United Way's First Call for Help program. The funds are continually being reduced with the 2013 allocation to Otego County at just over $15,000.
Rx Discount Cards - We provide cards for anyone without prescription coverage, yielding savings of over $377,121. in Otsego County as of January 2013.
A note left on our counter by a client on 8/29/2011
To All of You at United Way:
I just had a hamburger. I haven't had meat in my house for a while. I went to the pantry today and now I got food to last me. It's hard for me to come there and ask for help, although I've needed it so much lately, I will never take it for granted or be unappreciateve. I do give a dollar from each paycheck to United Way, although that doesn't even compare to all you have done for me, I want to do something.
I had a job for 14 years at KByte-Reptron till they closed in 2007. Since then its been hard and you have been there for me everytime I needed you. Just wanted you all to know, I thank you and I thank God for you. Thank you, you are appreciated more than you probably realize. Volunteers, workers, all of you. You are all doing good and God bless you all.
Signature of client withheld.