By Traci L. Moyer
The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. —
Officials of United Way of Madison County’s 2013 “Be the ONE” Campaign Kick-Off event could not have asked for a better way to announce this year’s campaign.
The event, at the Anderson Town Center, featured cool breezes, sunny skies, live music, entertaining skits, sweet tea and homemade barbecue.
“We could not have asked for a better day,” said Thomas Van Osdol, United Way of Madison County campaign chair.
United Way of Madison County strives to improve the quality of life in the community through the support of services and programs for those living in the county. This year the organization is partnering with about 20 local agencies to “be the ONE” that unites people with the services they need to be successful.
“The idea behind this year’s campaign is it only takes one person to change one life,” said Kim Williams, United Way of Madison County vice president of resource development.
United Way officials announced their plans to invest $2 million back into the community by raising $1 million and then supplementing that figure through other funding.
“Last year United Way raised $850,000 and through multiple grants and direct financial assistance we were able to invest $1.8 million back into the community,” Williams said. “We can “be the ONE” to make the biggest impact in our community.”
She said that when a community begins to improve itself on an individual basis, it improves the quality of life for everyone living in that community.
“When we all get together we can do something really big,” Williams said.
Mike Collette, United Way of Madison County board chair, said this year’s campaign will focus on education, health and the financial stability of those living in the county. He said people can support this year’s campaign through individual donations and volunteering.
“I think everyone wants to help and they want to know will their $100 or $200 make a difference, and yes, it will,” Collette said. “Those are gifts we are getting into the hands of people that need it the most.
“We all feel better when we give.”
Penny Henderson, site coordinator for Born Learning, said that her organization could not offer its programs without the support of United Way. She said her organization helps families develop literacy and language skills in children from age birth through 5.
Born Learning programs include Blast Off to Kindergarten, Born Learning Trails, Books for Babies and Play and Learn Groups across the county.
“We could not do any of that with a staff of just five people,” Henderson said. “United Way helps us train people to then go out and educate families.”
Several people attending the kickoff were surprised by the impact United Way has on the community.
Katy Hagerman, 18, said she would like to volunteer after learning about the organization.
“Anderson needs to be built up,” she said.
Barbie Fauss was enjoying a stroll through Anderson Town Center with her 2-year-old daughter, Emily, when she joined the celebratory kickoff event.
“I don’t know all that much about United Way,” Fauss said.
She said she was going to make a monetary donation to the campaign and wanted more information on how she can volunteer her time.
“Anything that helps, I like helping people, I really do,” she said.
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