• United Way- 4th Quarter Newsletter

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    United Way of
    Portage County
    Fourth Quarter Newsletter - November 2022
    United Way 2022 Campaign Kickoff
    Campaign Kickoff
    Unite at the Drive-In
    We kicked off our 2022-2023 Campaign at the Midway Drive-In on October 6th. The family-friendly event featured a short video of United Way accomplishments throughout the past year, a reverse parade of our community funded partners, free snacks, raffle baskets, 50/50, live band, and a choice of a movie. The Kickoff welcomed over 75 cars and more than 150 attendees.
    A special Thank You to all our sponsors: Allen Aircraft Products, Inc., Ametek, Family & Community Services, Inc., Windmill Lakes Golf Course, Herb Page and Paula Treckel, Portage Community Bank, Guido's Pizza & Catering, Meaden & Moore, Hall-Green Agency, Inc., David & Janet Dix, FirstEnergy Foundation, Portage Development Board, Andy & Kathy Drnjevich, Step 2 and Kent State University TeleProductions.
    Music was provided by Mississippi Wheelhouse.
    UWPC partners with 34 programs to provide services to families and individuals throughout Portage County. We fight for the health, education, and financial stability of every person in our community. United Way helps to ensure children are successful in school, that families have enough food to eat, and that every person has access to health care. We are local, serving our community to improve the lives of our neighbors.
    We need your help to continue to provide these
    much-needed services. Please consider donating today.
    Donate Now
    News from the CEO, Bill Childers:
    Welcoming New Staff Member
    The United Way of Portage County has welcomed a new staff member to its team.
    Heather Rainone has joined the organization as Director of Development and Marketing. She will be responsible for supporting the United Way’s mission through fundraising and event planning as well as updating the website and social media.
    A lifelong Ravenna resident, she previously served as managing editor of the Record-Courier newspaper for 22 years. She also spent several years as a volunteer on the United Way's Community Impact Committee.
    "I'm thrilled to have joined the dedicated United Way of Portage County team," she said. "I look forward to getting the chance to continue serving my community."
    Heather replaces Julia Colecchi, who served the United Way in the Development and Marketing position for more than two years. Julia has joined the team at the Northeast Ohio Medical University in Rootstown. We wish her the best.
    Meet Our 2022-2023 Campaign Chair
    United Way of Portage County announced Pam England of Portage Community Bank will lead the United Way campaign effort with a goal of raising $725,000.
    United Way is fortunate to have Pam lead this year's campaign. She has a strong personal commitment to improving the community and helping people.
    United Way isn't about short term charity - it's about lasting change. This is our home and our community, and what we do for others matters. We must be UNITED for Our Community!
    Honoring Those Who Have Served
    United Way of Portage County will be serving coffee at the annual Veterans Day Remembrance Ceremony on Friday, Nov. 11 on the Portage County Courthouse lawn in Ravenna. Stop by and say hi as we honor those who have served our country.
    You can direct your contribution to one of the action areas- Education, Income and Health - or choose all three. As always, we will also process a restricted contribution to qualified 501(c)3 organizations.
    Ways to Give
    You can make change happen. United Way needs people who are passionate about better education, income and health to stand up and make a difference.
    Advocacy Information
    United Way works with volunteers and local nonprofits to develop the best opportunities for youth, busy working adults and seniors.
    Volunteer Opportunities
    Upcoming UWPC Events
    Bowling Fundraiser at Kent Lanes - TBA February
    NCAA Watch Party at Ray's Place Upstairs - March 16
    2nd Annual Reverse Raffle - TBA April
    Color Run 5k and 1 mile Fun Run on Kent State's Campus - TBA June
    Upcoming Partner Events
    Throughout November - The Center of Hope in Ravenna and Kent Social Services are collecting non-perishable food items, $15 grocery store gift cards and $50 gift cards for toys for their Hope for the Holiday fundraiser. Visit fcsserves.org/hope.
    November 12 - Several of our partner agencies will participate in the 2022 Financial Wellness Fair from 9 a.m. to noon at Ravenna High School, 6589 N. Chestnut St., Ravenna. Visit portagecounty-oh.gov.
    Throughout November - Habitat for Humanity Portage County is selling tickets for its Fall Basket Raffle. The winner will be announced on Dec. 1. Visit habitatofportage.org.
    November 13 - Girls on the Run is hosting its Fall Season Celebratory 5K at the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds, 19201 Bagley Road, Middleburg Heights. visit gotrnortheastohio.org.
    Resource Development
    Heather Rainone - hrainone@uwportage.org - 330.297.1424 x3
    Upcoming United Way Special Events
    Be on the lookout for updates about our Bowling Fundraiser in February and our NCAA Tournament Fundraiser on March 16 at Ray's Place in Kent! We also expect to host the United Way of Portage County Golf Classic again next year.
    For more information about United Way events or sponsorships,
    please contact
    Heather Rainone at HRainone@uwportage.org or call 330.297.1424 x3
    2022-2023 Campaign
    July 1st launched the new campaign season! The UWPC workplace campaign unites employees in all offices and branches of a company, and gives them the opportunity to easily donate, through payroll deduction, volunteer for local agencies, and speak out for causes that matter to them. You can become a part of a larger mission and see the difference you make in the community. To make an annual contribution, visit the donation page at uwportage.org.
    If your company is interested in sponsoring United Way annually or one of our great events, please contact us for more information. We have many sponsorship levels that provide benefits for your business such as website and newsletter recognition, press release recognition, social media recognition and more!
    If you are an existing corporate partner or a new local company who would like to get your workplace campaign started, please contact Heather Rainone at HRainone@uwportage.org or 330-297-1424, ext. 3
    Community Impact & Volunteers
    Maureen Gebhardt - maureeng@uwportage.org - 330.297.1424 x4
    The Giving Well Family Foundation Donates to Hope on Wheels
    The Giving Well Family Foundation, administered by UWPC recently donated $5,000 to Hope Town Recovery Housing for their Hope on Wheels program. 
    Hope Town serves their mission and vision through housing, transportation and employment for men and women in recovery. 
    The Giving Well Family Foundation grant made it possible for Hope on Wheels to purchase a vehicle to provide 25 rides a week to those with Medicaid, so that they are able to attend medical and treatment appointments. In the 3 ½ months since the grant award Hope on Wheels was able to provide over 300 additional rides with this vehicle.
    Reading Role Models Foster Early Literacy Skills at Local Elementary Schools
    With the 2022-23 school year well underway, our Reading Role Model program has been very active. So far this fall we have visited Brimfield, Rootstown, Suffield, West Park (Ravenna), Walls (Kent), Streetsboro and Windham elementary schools. 
    Please join us at United Way to advocate for literacy and early childhood education.
    If you would like to become a Reading Role Model, visit https://uwportage.org/ and go to the “volunteer” tab. All reading opportunities will be listed under “Reading Role Model.” Or, you can sign up for reading role model opportunities at https://uwportage.galaxydigital.com/
    Our Community Funded Partner Programs
    Maureen Gebhardt - maureeng@uwportage.org - 330.297.1424 x4
    To review a list of our current Community Funded Partners, click HERE.
    Hope Town Recovery Housing
    Hope Town promotes long-term recovery, self-initiative, and increased independence by providing residents with access to the resources they need to make lifestyle changes. Hope Town Recovery Housing addresses the four primary needs for people with addiction in our community: supportive housing, employment, transportation and recovery support.
    Hope Town recently opened a 15-bed female recovery house in Windham. They also purchased two vehicles and started a transportation service for those on Medicaid to drive them to their treatment, doctor visits, dentists, pharmacies and more! The 20-bed male house has served more than 40 men since June 2021. Many of the residents are getting jobs and successfully graduating treatment.
    Read more at their website.
    If you or someone you know is in need of recovery housing and support, Hope Town currently has applications open.
    Rural Relief Mobile Food Pantry
    Rural Relief Mobile Food Pantry's mission is to address food insecurity in rural Portage County by providing a mobile food pantry to under-served communities. The organization has been focusing on fresh produce and meat this year, trying to limit the amount of boxed and canned items. They provide each child they serve with a snack bag and, when possible, they provide basic hygiene items for each family served. They continue to explore ways to provide more balanced and nutritious food to the communities they visit. Food insecurity in rural communities is increasing. The pantry is seeking more donors to help fight hunger in underserved rural communities. Visit their website for more information.
    Townhall II
    Townhall II provides comprehensive substance use disorder counseling, treatment, and Medication Assisted Treatment. The organization also has a 24-hour Helpline at 330-678-HELP and a continuum of victim services (advocacy and counseling). Townhall II can also coordinate referrals to detox facilities for anyone living in Portage County. With the help of the United Way, Townhall II is able to provide free on-site childcare for newborns to age 4 for current counseling clients. For more information, visit their website.
    Habitat for Humanity of Portage County
    Habitat for Humanity is putting God's love into action by building homes, communities and hope. Habitat is in the process of completing its 71st project and has has broken ground on its 72nd for the Powe Family. They have also begun their Neighborhood Revitalization project, thus serving those in need of home repairs in Portage County, including a senior citizen and veteran who was no longer able to lift his leg to get into his tub. Habitat replaced it with a walk-in shower with grab bars, seating and a hand-held shower head. The repairs were part of the agency's Aging In Place program, which is a component of Neighborhood Revitalization — focusing on older adult homeowners. The goal is to help those who are over 60 in Portage County make the repairs and modifications necessary to help them “grow old” in their homes with comfort and dignity. Contact Kaleena Gharky for more information at kaleena@habitatofportage.org
    or visit their website.
    Kidney Foundation of Ohio
    The Kidney Foundation of Ohio provides direct financial assistance to patients suffering from renal (kidney) disease that enables them to receive their lifesaving medications and treatments. In 2021, the Foundation served more than 1,000 patients. The Foundation provides funding for vital medications, nutritional supplements and reimbursement for transportation expenses to life-saving dialysis and transplant appointments for kidney patients, who would otherwise have difficulty affording them. For more information, visit the website. Since summer, the Foundation has been able to provide 10 people with mileage reimbursement, and 20 with PARTA passes, to get to and from dialysis appointments, and nine people with assistance to pay for their medications and nutritional supplements. These funds are helping people with kidney disease live a better quality of life! Also, the Foundation recently launched a three-part video series, Roadmap for Kidney Transplantation. This series was created with the goal to educate kidney patients on the benefits associated with getting listed for a kidney transplant, and to answer questions about the process. The videos are available to watch on the Foundation's YouTube channel.
    Coleman Health Services
    In 2021, Coleman was designated a Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) in several counties and in 2022 the organization was awarded, either in full or in part, three catchments of the state-wide OhioRISE (Resilience through Integrated Systems and Excellence) program. As a CCBHC, Coleman will have primary health care offered at appointed locations and as part of OhioRISE, the organization is at the forefront of Medicaid’s new specialized managed care program for youth with complex behavioral health and multi-system needs. Lastly, in 2022 Coleman was awarded more than $1 million to serve at the forefront of the 988 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and will field calls from that line in multiple locations statewide. In the last fiscal year, Coleman placed 189 men and women in homes in Portage County. In addition, the organization helped 122 Portage residents find job placements. Coleman Adult Day Services in Ravenna provided comprehensive services to 140 Portage residents and their families. Overall, Coleman served 7,070 Portage residents across all service lines and the organization is poised and ready to serve even more this coming year. For more information, visit colemanservices.org
    Children's Advocacy Center
    The non-profit Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC), located in donated space at University Hospitals Portage Medical Center in Ravenna, offers FREE training & prevention services to the community and FREE holistic services for the entire family navigating the devastation of child abuse, including: ongoing support, education, advocacy, medical services, court support, and more! The center has expanded services to include child physical abuse, more human trafficking services including free trainings, and free training regarding mandated reporting, child abuse, and positive parenting!
    Contact Leanne Biltz at Leanne.Biltz@uhhospitals.org for more information
    or call 330-297-8838.
    Big Brothers, Big Sisters
    Big Brothers, Big Sisters provides children facing adversity with strong and enduring, one-on-one mentoring relationships. The program is looking for volunteers to join the community-based mentoring program. Volunteers must be able to spend 12 hours per month, for at least one year, with their match. Volunteers spend quality one-on-one time with their match, participating in activities such as taking a walk in the park, listening to music, going to a football game, playing board games or going to a museum. If you're interested in becoming a Big Brother or Big Sister, visit their website.
    Girls on The Run
    GOTR is a confidence-building program for girls in third through eighth grade. The program has been adapted to ensure the health and safety of volunteers and program participants. At the core of the group's mission, Girls on the Run Northeast Ohio serves as one of the preeminent organizations designed to enhance girls’ social, emotional and physical skills and behaviors to successfully navigate life experiences. The program’s intentional curriculum places an emphasis on developing competence, confidence, connection, character, caring and contribution in young girls through lessons that incorporate running and other physical activities.
    Follow United Way on Social Media to stay in touch!
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