LOCAL Stories of change
At UWKV we strongly believe that in dedicating yourself to helping others, you create change. Change is just another stepping stone toward hope.
The stories United Way encounters every day are from people of all walks of life. With your support, we are able to be there to help people when they need it most. Providing a lifeline to someone who is trying to better his or her situation is what your donation of money or time does for people in your community. They are people you know. People who you see every day.
Help When It Was Really Needed
Angela, a legally functionally disabled mom, knew she wanted to go back to school in order to provide more for herself and her family. The Head Start Program at Southern Kennebec Child Development Corporation provided a place for her kids to be cared for, taught and empowered while she was able to pursue her career goals. Angela is now close to completion of her education.
Gabe was diagnosed with Global Developmental Delay. With two working parents, child care for Gabe was necessary. With limited resources in the area available to a child in Gabe’s circumstance and age bracket, his parents considered moving out of state. Then Gabe’s mother, Janet, received a phone call from the Children’s Center. They had a class opening for his age range. Janet was able to breathe a sigh of relief. Not only did the Children's Center provide child care, but also an environment in which Gabe was accepted.
A Helping Hand
Karen’s husband had cancer. After researching where to get the help she and her husband both needed, she turned to Hospice. They provided her husband with top-notch care, and gave Karen the relief and comfort she needed in those hard times. Karen was so touched by her experience that a year after her husband's passing she became a Hospice volunteer. Now she is able to touch other lives as well.
literacy volunteers Helped Charlie
Charlie worked for American Airlines for 35 years. In this time he received numerous letters of recognition for his hard work. But Charlie was never able to read them. His education was cut short, and this basic skill was one he did without until he was 55-years old. Thanks to Literacy Volunteers of Greater Augusta, Charlie can now read all those letters from American Airlines.
211 Phone Call
Having been laid off, Peter was concerned about how he and his family would get through a tough time. At his past job, he had given to the United Way through payroll deduction and remembered the 211 information line that the speaker had told them about. Peter called 211 and told them his situation. They were very kind and directed him to a number of resources that could assist him in his time of need. He has since gone back to work and is still giving to the United Way.
Emily, a local real estate agent, always thought that she would like to volunteer in her community but did not know how or where. Through one of her co-workers, Emily was introduced to the Big Brothers Big Sisters program in Augusta. She was so impressed that she signed up and went through the training to become a Big Sister.
Amanda, age 11, was in need of a mentor in her life. Her mother had passed away and her sister was diagnosed with autism, which left a lot less time for Amanda's needs. She has been paired up with Emily as a Little Sister, and the bond has helped them both. Emily and Amanda are thankful for your donation to United Way.
A New Job…Needs New Clothes
Judy had been laid off for some time and was struggling with her finances. Through Goodwill Goodworks she was able to find a job that suited her and would allow her to make the money she and her family needed to survive. She only had one nice work outfit which she wore to the interview. After getting the position, she needed to get some clothes that were appropriate for work. She called Goodwill and they were able to help her find five nice outfits to wear to work the next week. This would not have been possible without funding from United Way. Judy now gives to United Way through a payroll deduction to pay it forward.
A Hot Meal
Pat and Pete have been friends of United Way of Kennebec Valley for many years. Before they retired, both of them contributed tot he United Way through payroll deduction. They never thought that one day a United Way agency would make a difference in their survival.
With health struggles and a reduction in the financial assistance they receive, Pat and Pete depend on the Augusta Food Bank to help them put a hot meal on their table each evening. The food they receive from the Food Bank is intended for one week of meals, but Pat creatively and proudly makes it last for two weeks. In return, Pat and Pete volunteer at the Food Bank as a means to give back to their community and refresh their sense of pride.
A man in crisis
Dan was showing signs of depression that worried some of his friends. He was becoming more distant and did not seem to care about things at all. One day, one of his friends gave him a pamphlet from Crisis & Counseling Centers in Augusta. That night Dan was feeling very down and could not find a reason to go on. He called the Crisis hotline to talk to someone about how he felt. The next day Dan got into some groups treatment from Crisis & Counseling Centers, which helped him see the brighter side of life. Dan has made a full recovery and now has his own business.
Meals on Wheels
After having a triple bypass surgery, the first few weeks of being home were very difficult for Arthur. He had family who could help him in the morning and in the evenings, but making a healthy lunch was proving to be exhausting for him. Used to working and being active, not seeing someone during the day was also proving to be very depressing for him. His daughter called the Meals-On-Wheels program through Spectrum Generations, and Arthur was added to the list of deliveries for lunch. Having a hot meal and a friendly face to see at lunch made his day a little brighter and gave his family the peace of mind they needed. Now that Arthur is doing better, he volunteers and helps out at the kitchen that helped him.
Becky and Scott are a local couple who have seen and have overcome their share of challenges. They have two beautiful children, who are full of life and wonder but have developmental challenges that require full-time care and intervention. When Duncan was first diagnosed with developmental delays, Becky decided that she needed to stay home more to transport him to his therapy classes and to help him with his development and social skills. Meanwhile, her husband Scott was having medical problems and was finally diagnosed with Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia that was causing him constant pain and made it unbearable for him to work on his feet all day. Their second child, Cheyenne, was now also showing signs of developmental troubles.
With the help of Southern Kennebec Child Development Corporation and programs supported by United Way funding, Becky and Scott were able to get both children into the programs they needed at an affordable child care facility that could meet the special needs of their children. With both children safe and learning how to overcome their challenges, Scott and Becky are able to go back to school to pursue and make changes in their careers in order to live more fulfilling lives.
Both Becky and Scott have already found time to give back to SKCDC because they both feel that the programs they offer are so vital to the community. Scott volunteers three days per week in the programs, and Becky sits on the Board and advocates for other families in need.
Family Violence Project
Kirsti was asked out by one of the most popular guys at her school. He was a year older and had a lot of friends. After going out with him on a few group dates, she noticed that he did not like it when Kirsti talked to some of his friends. She thought it was his way of dating, and she really liked the attention she got from him. When he asked her on a date, he asked her to wear a skirt that he liked. While getting ready, Kirsti spilled soda all over the skirt and had to change. When she met up with him, he grabbed her arm and yelled at her for not doing what he told her to do. Scared, Kirsti explained what happened. He told her that she was a liar and slapped her face. Stunned, Kirsti ran to the nearest store and called home. She spoke with her school counselor the next day and was referred to the Family Violence Project, a United Way-funded program, where she got some information and was able to talk to someone. Kirsti realized that this was not the way relationships should be and stopped seeing him. Hopefully the next girl will have that information available to her as well.
A GROWING FAMILY
Newly married, Michelle learned that she was expecting her first child. Even with both parents working it was still difficult to make ends meet. The couple was very excited that they were starting a family, yet Michelle was very concerned about how they would afford the needs of a newborn child. Michelle was directed to the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program through HealthReach, a United Way-funded program. Through the WIC program, Michelle was given items to ensure that her and her baby had everything they needed to have a happy and healthy start.
The Children’s Center
Jen has two children who have learning and developmental disabilities. She wanted to help her children be the best they could be. She took her children to different centers for classes and therapy to assist them in improving. Then Jen found the Children's Center. This enabled her to bring her children to one place where they received all of their care and classes. The oldest child has now entered school and is able to be mainstreamed with the other children. He is on his way to being a happy and healthy child. Without your support to the United Way, these programs would not be available to support Jen and her family.
With extreme tooth pain and no insurance, Joe needed help quick. After calling many dentists, he quickly discovered that if you don't pay upfront, the dentist will not do your procedure. In addition, the wait time for an appointment was more than a week. Joe knew that he would have to miss work if he waited that long to get help. He called 2-1-1 and they referred him to the Dental Clinic in Waterville. He was seen right away and was allowed to make payment arrangements for his root canal. He has made the clinic his regular dentist and is able to pay on a sliding scale for regular visits.
Boys & Girls Club
As a young teen, Tommy did not really fit in with the regular crowd at school and started hanging around with kids who got into trouble. Worried that he would fall to the peer pressure of the group, his mother got him interested in the Augusta Boys & Girls Club for Teens. He suddenly had a safe place to go after school. Tommy could use the computers, get help with homework, be creative and make new friends. Since starting at the Club, Tommy has turned his path in a more positive direction.
When Michelle's father was struck with Alzheimer's, the family did not know what to expect. Each day it was harder and harder to take care of him. When it got to the point that they could not leave him by himself, they called the Alzheimer's Center in Gardiner and were able to get him into a day program. He received his medicine, enjoyed prepared food and had people to watch him throughout the day. Michelle's family has learned how to help him and how to help themselves through this United Way-funded program.
Fire Burns Home
After a fire burned out the Chase family's home, they were left with nothing except the clothes on their backs. The Red Cross was there at the scene to assist the family. They provided them with a place to sleep, clothes and food for their family until they could figure out the next step. Your donation to the United Way ensured that their immediate needs were met and the family could concentrate on starting to look forward without the stress of wondering how they would get through the evening.