LIVING UNITED Advancing the Common Good: Creating Opportunities for a Better Life for All
United Way is working to advance the common good by educating children to be ready for school, promoting economic stability so people can provide for themselves and their families, and by caring for the most vulnerable in our community. By creating lasting changes in social conditions and preventing problems from happening, we create a stronger and healthier community for everyone.
We invite you to be part of the change. Working together, we can inspire hope and create opportunities for a better life for all. That’s what it means to LIVE UNITED.
United Way is making sustained positive changes in peoples' lives. These success stories are just a few of the results from such changes, made possible by services provided through United Way-funded programs at partnering agencies.
How Lee Anderson Lives United Lee Anderson is a dedicated supporter of United Way. He began giving when United Way was the Community Chest and he was in first grade. He continued giving after he began working at the Free Press, through the war, as the 1979 Campaign Chairman and into the present. Lee believes giving to United Way gives him the opportunity to make life a little bit better for somebody else. He doesn’t think of it as helping the down and out, but investing in the up and coming. His mom taught him to give to United Way in 1931. And through 14 presidents and 6 wars, he’s kept giving ever since. Because Lee doesn’t just wear the shirt, he lives it!
How Alex Lives United Alexandra Santiago is the marketing director at SunTrust’s Chattanooga office, but she’s from a close-knit community in Tampa where everyone watches out for each other. She wants to be involved in Chattanooga and meet new people, but she also wants to be part of something that reaches out into the larger community to help others. She decided volunteering with United Way is the perfect way to do both – build a stronger community while building new friendships. One volunteer project Alex is excited about is helping with SunTrust’s United Way campaign.
“It doesn’t hurt that it’s so easy to give at work, and I can feel good that 100 percent of my donation goes directly into community programs,” says Alex. “SunTrust’s relationship with United Way is important too. As a member of the banking industry, we want to see people be financially independent – it’s good for the community when everyone can give back.” Volunteering and giving back – that’s how Alex Lives United. When we reach out a hand to one, we influence the condition of all. That’s how you Live Untied.
How Brian Lives United Brian Smith, meteorologist at WDEF TV 12, wants to make this community a better place to live. So he mentors young adults to help them make good choices. Since he loves science and the great outdoors, he decided to volunteer in ways that let him put his interests and expertise to work. So he’s a Big Brother and a Venture Crew leader – the kids have a lot of fun and he shows them all the options they can take advantage of as they grow up. Thanks to his mentoring, these kids have a better chance of making good choices that will make their lives better – like staying away from violence and drugs and choosing a college education instead. Brian is Living United by volunteering to make a difference in kids’ lives.
Because Brian doesn’t just wear the shirt, he lives it!
How Sarah Lives United Dr. Sarah Sandefur, a nationally recognized early childhood education expert at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, is on a mission. Her mission is to get parents to spend more time talking, reading and playing with their children so they can begin developing the language skills their children need to succeed by age three. When parents are engaged and interacting with their children, they have a much better chance of starting school ready to learn and with the skills they need to succeed. And if parents can’t purchase books and materials on their own, Sarah wants to know that there is someplace they can get them for free. Children’s welfare and early education are the things Sarah is passionate about, because she knows they are part of the foundation of a good life for our communities. That’s why she works as a United Way advocate and consultant on its literacy and early education projects. Every time she looks at the children she helps, she sees lives being changed for the better both now and in the future. When we reach a hand out to one, we influence the condition of all. That’s how you Live United.
How Carol Lives United Carol O'Neal is the Administrative Clerk for the Chattanooga City Council. She cares about this community, but it’s difficult for her to get involved and volunteer when she’s at work all day. So she works to make a difference by leading the United Way campaign at the City of Chattanooga offices. She talks to her coworkers about United Way’s work and encourages them to give – she also tries to make it as easy as possible for employees to make a donation. She has fun and runs a lot of special activities, but she’s raising money too. It also makes her feel good to know that one hundred percent of her donation goes to help people in the community, and she’s been giving to United Way for more than 25 years. She’s Living United by making the community a better place for everyone. Because Carol doesn’t just wear the shirt, she I lives it.
How Marcia Lives United Marcia Kling credits her parents for teaching and demonstrating to her the importance of concern for one's neighbors. She was always included in activities with her parents, especially her mother, who was always involved in one fund-raising effort or another. So at an early age she was asking perfect strangers to support efforts to improve communities!
When she came to Chattanooga in the early 1960s, she began giving to United Way through NewsChannel 9’s workplace campaign, and she hasn’t stopped since.
She also became involved in early childhood education, hosting Fun Time, one of the first educational TV shows aimed at preschool children. Thanks to her father, a school principal, education has always been important to her and she’s always known how important it is to start educating children when they are very young. That’s why Marcia Lives United by giving and by advocating for early childhood education. When we reach a hand out to one, we influence the condition of all. That’s how you Live United.
How Raquel Lives United! Raquel first began working with United Way as an intern in the Building Stable Lives and 2-1-1 areas. She saw first-hand the work United Way does to help people in low income communities build a better life for themselves and their families. So she decided to work for a United Way partner program in East Lake to coordinate United Way’s Building Stable Lives pilot project in that community. Raquel works to increase people’s incomes, get free books for children, help families save money, find health care or child care assistance, and even help people get their GEDs so they can find stable employment. Raquel Lives United by going out into the community, getting involved and doing something when she sees a problem.
Because Raquel doesn’t just wear the shirt, she lives it!
How Romeatrius Lives United! Romeatrius is a pediatric nurse in the United States Air Force. When she sets a goal she reaches it, but it wasn’t always that way. She had behavior problems in middle school. Her mom worked two jobs to support her and her little sister, so she wanted Romeatrius to be in a nurturing environment. Mom made her go to Girls Inc., where they opened her eyes to all she could be. This United Way-supported program taught her to say no to bad influences, to handle roadblocks, and to solve problems through teamwork. She even went on college visits. Her mind was broadened. Thanks to this youth mentoring program, she became focused, graduated with honors and earned a full college scholarship. She then became a registered nurse and joined the Air Force. She wants to give back to her community and help others the way she has been helped. So she volunteers by teaching new parent classes, mentoring local youth, and she also visits Chattanooga and talks to the girls at Girls Inc. She tells them if they make good choices, there’s no limit to what they can do. Giving back - that’s how Romeatrius Lives United. When we reach a hand out to one, we influence the condition of all. That’s how you Live United.
How Chris Lives United Chris Brown Lives United by helping teens stay in high school to graduate on time. Chris knows how hard high school can be - he was a good student, but he goofed off his freshman year and missed some of his credits. So he spent the next three years trying to catch up while also working part time. Chris was able to graduate, but he doesn't want other kids to go through what he did. So Chris wrote a grant to create and fund a peer mentoring program to help ninth graders transition into their first year of high school and graduate on time. Chris doesn't just wear the shirt, He Lives It!
How Solomon Lives United Solomon is a mentor and program director for the YMCA and the Hamilton County Department of Education. He works with kids on the Westside through a United Way-funded mentoring program. Solomon is working to keep kids off the street and give them a safe place to play and learn at the Sheila Jennings/Westside recreation center. At 6'3" the kids look up to Solomon, which is important to his success as a mentor when he tells them to stay in school and away from gangs. He also provides the kids with sports activities, access to computers, free lunches and learning opportunites thanks to a partnership between United Way, the Y, Chattanooga Parks and Rec, and the Chattanooga Housing Authority. Solomon doesn't just wear the shirt, He Lives It!
How James Lives United High school senior James Kwee is only 18, but he is committed to giving back to the community. He volunteers at a United Way partner agency that helps homeless children – it is one of just four organizations he volunteers with. He also started and runs the philanthropy club at his school, as well as his his own fledgling nonprofit organization, “Cheerful Givers.” This program provides gift bags full of toys to low income families so parents can still give their children a birthday gift. Even though he’s the one who is giving, he feels he gets more out of it than they do. According to James, he’ll give to United Way when he’s older, but as a student he feels that since he has the time and energy, volunteering works for him and it’s a great way to get involved in the community. “If you see a problem or a condition you don’t like, you should take action and do something about it,” says James. “Volunteering helps advance the common good in our communities to make them stronger and healthier – and it’ll make you feel good too.” James doesn't just wear the shirt, He Lives It!
How Keith Lives United Keith Landecker is a giver who believes kids need direction to stay on the right track, so he started a youth baseball league to keep teenage boys focused and productive. United Way is bringing together people like Keith - along with businesses, government, and a variety of other community partners - to support youth on the road to adulthood so they can be successful in work and in life. Keith doesn't just wear the shirt, He Lives It! See Keith's full storyhere.
How David Lives United David started giving to United Way early in his professional career, because he was raised in a family that valued charity and stewardship. He believed it was just, “the right thing to do.” However, little did he know that one day he would need the services of a United Way supported program. David went through a divorce and found that the YMCA became his moral support system. It provided him with great alternatives to less healthy pastimes. The Y’s Indian Princess program also helped him stay connected to his two young daughters during a difficult time. We all benefit when we give to advance the common good – sometimes in unexpected ways. David doesn't just wear the shirt, He Lives It!
INVESTING IN CHILDREN: EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION
How Billy Lives United in Marion County Billy is an active 3-year-old from Grundy Co. His Mother brought him to a United Way-supported program for the hearing impaired when he was two years old and had almost no language skills. He could not express his wants or needs and he was beginning to throw temper tantrums due to his frustration over his inability to communicate. The program evaluated Billy and began treatment immediately. A Speech Pathologist worked closely with his parents, giving daily home assignments. Following a year in treatment, Billy is now using 4 & 5 word phrases, is beginning to sing, and uses his newly developed language skills to ask to go to "granny's house.” Billy and his family are proof that United Way supported programs create lasting changes in families’ lives. When we reach a hand out to one, we influence the condition of all. That’s how you Live United.
How Maria Lives United Maria, a three year old Hispanic child, could not communicate with teachers and classmates because she couldn’t speak English. Her family speaks only Spanish and must use the oldest child to translate for them. The two younger siblings entered this United Way supported child care and education program with Spanish as their only language. Maria was very withdrawn. In an effort to help with her social/emotional development, the staff developed a comprehensive plan for vocabulary development, object identification, word recognition and the development of positive interactions with peers. The emphasis was on positive language interactions and helping her express her needs and wants in English. Watching and helping her interact with classmates helped Maria become comfortable speaking English. She’s very personable now and outgoing with English speaking classmates and teachers. She also translates for her parents when needed. In August, she will move up to the 4 year old class and will develop the literacy skills necessary for kindergarten and beyond. When we reach a hand out to one, we influence the condition of all. That’s how you Live United.
How Will Lives United in North Georgia Three year old Will had a speech problem. A Parent Educator in a North Georgia program supported by United Way discovered this problem during an early ASQ Developmental Screening. Will could only say the end sounds of a word. After this discovery, his mother enrolled him in speech therapy, but he still struggled, having trouble speaking in complete sentences. The United Way funded Parent Educator brought Will’s mom the three year PAT visit plan called “Word Games.” This helps language development because children learn from interacting with parents and they must name the objects in the game. The Parent Educator was concerned because Will never said linked words together during a visit, but the lesson plan was a success. Not only did he love both games but he was able to name all of the objects and play "I SPY" perfectly. Mom was so surprised. By the end of the visit he was joking around and speaking in three word sentences, such as "Pig is gone.” This United Way funded program truly makes an impact in catching developmental delays early enough to create lasting change in children’s lives.When we reach a hand out to one, we influence the condition of all. That’s how you Live United.
How Jason and Jackson Live United An important part of an Early Childhood Education Program is discovering developmental delays a child might have and then obtaining the appropriate help. Upon entering this United Way supported program, three year-old twin boys Jason and Jackson were noticeably delayed in their speech development. Their teacher referred the boys to a United Way supported program for the hearing and speech impaired, and both boys measured below normal levels. They now receive weekly speech therapy and have shown drastic improvement, not only in their language but in their social-emotional development as well. These two United Way programs worked together to discover a deficiency and get Jason and Jackson the early intervention they needed. When we reach a hand out to one, we influence the condition of all. That’s how you Live United.
How Deborah Lives United inMarion County Deborah is an enthusiastic 12-year-old selling Girl Scout cookies in Marion County, but she wasn’t always this way. A United Way-supported speech development program first saw her 9 years ago and diagnosed her with a speech disorder, but her family never began treatment. Eight years later, Deborah was brought back to the program and diagnosed with both articulation and language disorders. Her problems were so severe that the public school she attends enrolled her in the program for intense, individual speech therapy. When she began, she was shy and had problems in academic and social situations. She could only speak in short, broken, unintelligible sentences. Her reading skills were also poor. Once therapy began, Deborah eagerly completed her assignments with the help of her adoptive Mother. Her articulation and language skills improved dramatically. Her new conversation skills have given her the confidence to initiate conversations and express herself. Thanks to this United Way program, Deborah can now reach her academic potential. When we reach a hand out to one, we influence the condition of all. That’s how you Live United.
How Gloria Lives United inNorth Georgia 16-year-old Gloria is a bright student with a can-do attitude. That says a lot for any student, but Gloria suffers a severe hearing impairment. Despite this, she works hard to be as independent as possible, thanks to the skilled sign-language interpreters provided by Partnership for Families, Children and Adults, a United Way funded program. The interpreters allow her to fully participate in all classroom interaction and play on a level field with other typically developing students. Thanks to the program, this full-time high-school student has already begun taking college classes, including calculus. She’ll be a junior in college by the time she graduates from high-school and will be well on her way to entering veterinary school. When we reach a hand out to one, we influence the condition of all. That’s how you Live United.
How Angel Lives United in North Georgia Five-year-old Angel is a happy child, but that wasn’t always the case. Last fall, her parents enrolled her in a pre-K program in Catoosa County. There, a United Way funded Parent Educator discovered that Angel rarely spoke and was completely unintelligible when she did. Angel’s mother, a teacher, felt she was just developing at her own pace. However, the Parent Educator ran a test showing Angel had speech and hearing problems. Her parents took her for a physical, where they discovered frequent ear infections had caused hearing damage, which in turn slowed her speech development. She’s infection free now and is speaking clearly after working with a speech and hearing therapist. Angel is calmer and healthier, thanks to this United Way early intervention program. When we reach a hand out to one, we influence the condition of all. That’s how you Live United.
BUILDING STABLE LIVES: YOUTH MENTORING
How Michael Lives United Michael is 13 and comes from a single parent household. He hasn’t always been the easiest kid to deal with but six years in a Youth mentoring program supported by United Way has begun to change that. His mom volunteers with this program and works to do the best she can handling him. This past fall, he went on a scouting trip to visit the USS Yorktown in North Carolina. His best friend wasn’t going to be able to go because his family couldn’t afford the trip. So Michael took the money out of his savings account and paid for his friend, selfless behavior he wouldn’t have shown years earlier. United Way-supported youth mentoring programs reach out to single family households to help instill in these children values of selflessness, leadership, and compassion for our neighbors. When we reach a hand out to one, we influence the condition of all. That’s how you Live United.
How Cindy Lives United Nine year old Cindy was referred to a United Way supported mental health program due to increasingly disruptive behavior at school. She had been suspended multiple times and was at risk of failing. She was diagnosed with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and referred for case management, a psychiatric evaluation and individual therapy. She was started on medication for ADHD and both her family and teachers noted improvement noted almost immediately. A therapist worked with her to develop improved impulse control and decision making, while a case manager worked with both her mother and teachers on developing and maintaining behavior management plans. She’s passing all her classes and hasn’t been suspended since starting treatment. Her teachers and family note significant improvements in her behavior. She no longer requires therapy but continues to see a psychiatrist and case manager. United Way supported programs for children help catch problems early so lasting changes can be made. When we reach a hand out to one, we influence the condition of all. That’s how you Live United.
How Adam and Kyle Live United Before the Adam and Kyle joined this United Way supported after school program, the staff saw consistent, undesirable behavior out of the two boys while their mother was shopping. Any single mother will admit to the challenges of raising children on a fixed income -- especially two very energetic boys. Ms. Jones was so excited to learn about this program where the boys could gain structure, academic help and positive social interaction in a safe environment. Adam and Kyle joined the program during the summer and immediately began to show improvement in their behavior and social interactions. Since the summer program stresses the importance of academics, the boys really began to blossom – even in subjects and concepts that were new to them. The Thrift Shop staff noticed a significant difference in how the boys acted when visiting the shop. Once the new school year began, both boys' teachers commented on how much improvement (both academically and behaviorally) they showed, thanks to their time in this program. That progress has continued throughout the school year, thanks to the continued attention and one-on-one efforts of this program. This success will cement a strong foundation for the boys as they move through their academic careers. When we reach a hand out to one, we influence the condition of all. That’s how you Live United.
How Jack Lives United Jack had some educational hurdles to overcome. He had problems with reading and mathematics. His mom knew he needed extra support, so she enrolled him in the Urban League’sStreetAcademy and 21st Century Community Learning Center programs atEastLakeElementary School. She also put him in the Urban League’s summer programs as well.
Thanks to the encouragement, support and mentoring he receives at these United Way-funded programs, Jack is on the road to success. He is now able to succeed in school – he even earned advanced scores on the math portion of the TCAP and scored proficient in reading. His mom is so pleased with his results that she enrolled his sister Elizabeth too. She’s doing so well she got to participate in both the summer program and a science and engineering camp. When we reach a hand out to one, we influence the condition of all. That’s how you Live United.
How JR Lives United Speaking to a school superintendent, Tennessee state legislators, and the governor’s staff was a brave step for J.R. But thanks to a United Way-supported program, Allies in Action at Girls Inc., she has become a spokesperson against violence in schools and shares how this United Way youth development program changed her life. When she first joined the program, she was an 8th grader at a large inner-city school who was being pressured to join a gang. She was even suspended from school for fighting. Not only did the program teach her how to avoid conflicts and resolve disputes peacefully, but it also taught her to be proactive in her education. She applied for and was admitted to a rigorous magnet school and assumed a leadership role in the program. In addition to being a spokesperson, she serves on the leadership and advocacy team and is now a peer mentor to other girls. When we reach a hand out to one, we influence the condition of all. That’s how you Live United.
How Nathaniel and Nathan Live United in North Georgia To some folks in North Carolina, Nathaniel and Nathan will always be heroes. Last year as the boys were paddling over the Nantahala Falls, they saw someone struggling below. The boys quickly assessed the situation and jumped into the water to save the blue-faced boy. They calmed him down and got him breathing again as they pulled him to shore. “He was really scared and coughing up water,” said Nathaniel. Nathaniel and Nathan learned these skills through their participation in the Boy Scouts of America Cherokee Area Council, a United Way-funded youth development program that teaches life-saving skills, strong values, and community service. Drowning is the second major cause of death for children ages five to fourteen – knowing what to and being prepared can prevent that. North Georgia Troop 125 is proud of the boys. And Nathaniel and Nathan are prepared for success in life, no matter what happens. When we reach a hand out to one, we influence the condition of all. That’s how you Live United.
BUILDING STABLE LIVES: JOB TRAINING & REHABILITATION
How Paul Lives United Thanks to the help of United Way-supported job readiness and work training programs, Paul and his family went from living on the street to having their own home. Paul lost the fingers on both hands in an industrial accident in 1994. After rehab, he could only find temporary work and secured housing at Patten Towers. Paul later married and built a family with his new wife and 3 step children. In December 2007, Patten towers evicted the family because the new management changed the rules on the number of family members allowed to live together. Paul, his wife and 3 children were on the street with nowhere to go. Paul and his wife lived in shelters while the children were taken in by family members. The Southeast Career Center sent Paul to a United Way supported job training program, which he successfully graduated in May of 2008, while he and his wife were still living on the street. Ten days later, he found a job as a contract employee with an environmental services program. Paul travels to his job by bus every day, always arriving early. Today, he is the lead person for several contract cleaning jobs and gets rave reviews from his clients. A private fundraiser helped Paul secure enough money for a deposit on a three-bedroom rental home in East Lake. His wife is working on her GED and a business license. Their children are enrolled in school and they all love their new neighborhood. “I’m content,” said Paul, “and I love my job.” Life for Paul, his wife, and three children, once more looks promising. When we reach a hand out to one, we influence the condition of all. That’s how you Live United.
How Natasha Lives United After losing her job of 14 years when the spinning plant closed, Natasha and her four children needed assistance to start a new life while not losing ground in their old one. She began working with the Department of Human Services Welfare to Work program, where she was referred to a United Way-funded computer and customer service training program at the Urban League of Greater Chattanooga. It opened a world of opportunity for her and within six months her life turned around. Working with a career specialist not only prepared her for a new workforce, but it also encouraged her, building her self-esteem and motivation. Now she works at Convergys and is pursuing a Criminal Investigation degree. Natasha’s family has stable support, thanks to a program supported by United Way. When we reach a hand out to one, we influence the condition of all. That’s how you Live United.
How Josh Lives United Josh’s friendliness and great attitude show how much he likes working at Goodwill Industries as a donation attendant and as a transportation assistant, sorting and baling donations and assisting truck drivers on their routes. Josh is happy that he can work out in the community with lots of friendly folks, seeing how different people handle business. "I like working with drivers the best," he said. When Josh first came to this program, he didn’t want to be there. Cerebral palsy, lack of work experience and undefined work skills made it difficult for him to find and keep a job. But Josh took advantage of the United Way–supported job training and skill development program. Now he’s been honored by the Southeast Tennessee Placement Consortium as one of its Employees of the Year. Josh changed his mind, "I'm glad I came to Goodwill after all!” When we reach a hand out to one, we influence the condition of all. That’s how you Live United.
How Elijah Lives United Severe seizures made it difficult for Elijah to get or even keep a job. But a United Way-supported job-training program for people with disabilities has been tirelessly working with him since his graduation from Brainerd High School more than six years ago. Over time and with lots of assistance from the program’s support managers and job coaches, Elijah’s life began to turn around. Proper medical treatment finally controlled his seizures so he could get his driver's license. The program also helped him enter Chattanooga State Technical Community College and coached him with his studies. Now he’s completing his landscaping certification and has a job offer on the table upon graduation. He’s also engaged and planning a wedding after he graduates. Thanks to United Way’s support, Elijah is living an independent life. When we reach a hand out to one, we influence the condition of all. That’s how you Live United.
How the Smith Family Lives United The Smith family had financial problems – mom couldn’t work due to health problems and dad lost his job because he had no transportation – so they had to file for chapter 13. A United Way-supported emergency assistance program helped them get back on their feet and on the road to economic stability. First, the family received help with unpaid utility bills, needed prescriptions, and Christmas gifts. Then dad was referred to the Southeast Tennessee Career Center for job assistance. Now dad is working full-time, mom is working weekends as an eldercare sitter, and life is finally looking up for the family. As Mrs. Smith said, “This program was a stepping stone, not a ditch.” When we reach a hand out to one, we influence the condition of all. That’s how you Live United.
How Mike Lives United inNorth Georgia Mike came from North Georgia looking for a job. His Asperger’s syndrome kept him from going out and finding work on his own. A job developer at a United Way-supported program for adults with disabilities worked with Mike and found him a job at a BI-LO in North Georgia. He has been there over 7 months and loves it. His primary jobs include bagging groceries and bringing in carts. Mike’s supervisor says he’s very dependable and courteous, always going the extra mile to assist people with their groceries – everyone loves him. Mike’s enthusiasm shows – he’s called in, even on his days off, because he’s so dependable. Mike is Living United by showing how the barriers of disability can be overcome and independence can be achieved! When we reach a hand out to one, we influence the condition of all. That’s how you Live United.
SUPPORTING THE MOST VULNERABLE
How Pat and Rosemarie Live United Pat and Rosemarie Park came to a United Way supported elder-care program about 5 years ago looking for social interaction and intellectual programming. They were surprised to find everything they needed for under one roof. He likes the discussion groups. Rosemarie enjoys belly dancing. They both come to the movies, dinner programs and dances, and are often seen at the weekly Golden Ager luncheons. Then a crisis happened. Pat had to have emergency heart surgery. This was devastating because Rosemarie depended on Pat as her caregiver – she had a stroke years ago which damaged her cognitive and physical abilities, leaving her unable to live alone. With Pat out of commission, the elder care program made all the arrangements for Rosemarie to stay at home with a temporary caregiver. Meals, transportation and participation in programs were critical as it tried to keep her life as stable as possible. The program also advocated for the best possible health care services for Pat while he was in the hospital, rehabilitation and adjusting back home. Home visits and regular phone contact were made to ensure that the crisis was minimal. A little prior to his heart attack, Pat and one of the program’s social workers began developing an action plan to help Rosemarie in case Pat can no longer care for her. Rosemarie’s parents, whom Pat also cares for, are in their nineties are also clients of this United Way supported program. His in-laws take advantage of the meals program and transportation. When we reach a hand out to one, we influence the condition of all. That’s how you Live United.
How James Lives United In the fall of 2007, James was living under a bridge by the Tennessee River, homeless and suicidal. Then he heard about a United Way supported program for people with mental illness. Within one week the program got him an apartment, then it put him in classes to learn about his mental illness so he could stay healthy and well. This program then helped him apply for social security disability income, getting his application approved in just a few months. With secure housing and a steady income for the first time in years, James was finally free to work on a dream: home ownership. A partnership between this United Way supported mental health program, the Tennessee Valley Federal Credit Union and the Chattanooga Neighborhood Enterprise (CNE), Inc. made his dream a reality. James was required to complete homeownership pre-purchase classes, as well as attend further post-purchase and finance management classes as needed to manage the stress involved in transitioning into home ownership. James says, "I now have the best support system imaginable. I was at my wit's end and the AIM Center is nothing short of a God send." When we reach a hand out to one, we influence the condition of all. That’s how you Live United.
How Margaret Lives United As an 82-year-old, life-long paraplegic who lives alone, Margaret depends on United Way-funded support services – from programs at Special Transit Services, Signal Centers, and Partnership for Families, Children and Adults – to help her maintain her independence. With multiple medical issues, including diabetes and heart disease, she could be living in a nursing home. Instead, Margaret receives regular visits from local community program staffers, who provide companionship, transportation, housekeeping and healthcare assistance. All of these services allow Margaret to remain in the comfort of her home and familiar surroundings… and for that she is thankful. Margaret says, “I couldn’t stand to be in a nursing home.” When you give to United Way, your investment pays off for the community in both financial and human dividends. Measured in dollars, the state saves $50,000 each year Margaret lives in her own home. Measured in human dividends, Margaret's smile is priceless. When we reach a hand out to one, we influence the condition of all. That’s how you Live United.
How Sara and Nancy Live United Sara has been a life-long advocate for her daughter Nancy, a 58-year-old with developmental disabilities. With her family’s support, Nancy graduated high school with a special diploma and has worked at the social security department for more than 20 years. Recently Sara was diagnosed with cancer – it was a difficult time for the family. But Sara and Nancy are both members of the Jewish Community Federation’s eldercare services, a United Way program. The program supported the family with a wide variety of services – Sara’s family was notified and a medical plan mobilized, a community nurse accompanied Sara to doctor appointments and the hospital, Nancy was provided transportation to and from work, meals were delivered to the home, and a plan was developed for end-of-life issues. Nancy too was given additional support at home. She even learned how to use a washing machine, so she could help care for her mom in the same way her mom had always cared for her.When we reach a hand out to one, we influence the condition of all. That’s how you Live United.
How Gene Lives United An energetic 83-year-old, Gene Blaes seems much younger. He’ll be the first to tell you that he owes his good health to sports. As a former Senior Olympian, he knows the health benefits of sports and exercise – of any type – and he tries to help other seniors by sharing these benefits with them. For more than a decade Gene has run the table tennis program at a United Way-supported senior care program. Every Thursday he sets up a full afternoon of table tennis for residents from area nursing homes. The program is seeing a marked improvement in its clients. Many who couldn’t even hold a cup before practicing with Gene now have their upper mobility and strength back. Thanks to this United Way supported program, Gene has a place where he can give back and make an impact. When we reach a hand out to one, we influence the condition of all. That’s how you Live United.