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United Way

Over the years, United Way has been improving lives through the efforts given by concerned citizens and communities all over America. United Way does not only fund projects. More over, they take part in the vocation of many people and different organizations in resolving the urgent needs, and knowing what issues in a community should be given attention. How United Way partakes to the call for change can be measured through personal involvement of partners tying up with their adherence in helping and witnessing lives in progress.

This research will be focusing on the how the human service program of United Way of America is delivered to its beneficiaries across the United States. How services are delivered The human service program of United Way is reached by diverse communities they cater. In their website, an introduction is stated, “To achieve measurable, lasting change, United Ways identify and build on community strengths and assets, help individuals and groups with specific community interests find ways to contribute their time and talents, support direct-service programs and community-change efforts, and advocate for public policy changes.

” A web of help is carefully knitted to address different issues in different ways. They choose from what group or groups of volunteers are most credible and willing to make the change. “All of this is done in collaboration with diverse partners. Depending on the issue and how the community chooses to address it, United Ways work with schools, government agencies, businesses, organized labor, financial institutions, community development corporations, voluntary and neighborhood associations, the faith community, and others. ”

The responsibility of determining what areas of the communities are in need of proper attention depends on each community. Only they can fully understand what they are going through. Different treatments are given depending on the context of the people with unique culture backgrounds. United Ways state that, “Because of the unique conditions in diverse communities, the issues United Ways address are determined locally. ” This way, full attention is given to the right venue. Volunteers are able to concentrate to what matters.

They may be from the same background or might have had similar experiences in life that they wanted to share. A community issue is most at home on its own. However, United Ways still stick to the general themes that each local United Way has to pursue. This includes the welfare of the children, whatever status their families belong. “Although priorities for United Way action are set locally, common themes include: 1. Helping children succeed 2. Strengthening and supporting families 3. Promoting self-sufficiency 4. Building vital and safe neighborhoods

Three examples were given in the website to show how United Ways and their partners are taking on the communities to adapt in improving lives. These are programs to “address high dropout rates”, “to improve the dental health of school-aged children”, and “to enroll children in low-income families in health insurance. The latter program mentioned has the following procedure: “To enroll children in low-income families in health insurance, a United Way joined with the Chamber of Commerce, state university medical center, physicians, public schools and human service providers.

This partnership: *Developed a health insurance outreach and public awareness campaign aimed at parents of young children in low-income families. *Advocated for state government to adopt rules that make it easier for parents to enroll their children in state health insurance programs. Because of this partnership: *240 organizations in the area sponsored health insurance enrollment events. *State government adopted new rules that make it easier for parents to enroll their children in state health insurance programs.

*The Medical Center now provides work space, staff assistance in enrollment, and data on uninsured families. *Five local school districts distribute health insurance outreach materials to the parents of all students. *Outreach workers are now providing direct enrollment assistance to families. Most important: *The percentage of eligible children in this community who are enrolled in health insurance has risen from 21% in 1999 to 91% in 2004; 2,692 uninsured children have been directly helped to receive coverage. ” Furthermore, the needs in the national level are addressed through the efforts of local United Ways.

“These are “Early Childhood”, including the “Born Learning” campaign to support early learning; “2-1-1”, the 3-digit phone number to give help and receive help; Assets for Family Success; “Crisis Preparedness & Response”; and “Emergency Food & Shelter” The national programs are ways to connect people through the telephone, navigating the internet and various gatherings. 2-1-1 is a medium of communication where in trained information and referral specialists are the ones who determine what specific information and resources should be provided.

“The 2-1-1 System connects people with needed human services through an easy to remember three-digit phone number, the web and a variety of community interactions. When someone connects with 2-1-1, specially trained information and referral specialists analyze what services are needed and provide the appropriate resource and related information. ” At present, a large percentage of the United States can access the 2-1-1. Various strategies are practiced to extend the human service programs of the communities to cater the large population of in great need of help.

2-1-1 offers referrals to these kinds of services: “1. Basic Human Needs Resources: food banks, clothing closets, shelters, rent assistance, utility assistance. 2. Physical and Mental Health Resources: health insurance programs, Medicaid and Medicare, maternal health, Children’s Health Insurance Program, medical information lines, crisis intervention services, support groups, counseling, drug and alcohol intervention and rehabilitation. 3. Employment Supports: Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) financial assistance, job training, transportation assistance, education programs.

4. Support for Older Americans and Persons with Disabilities: adult day care, congregate meals, Meals on Wheels, respite care, home health care, transportation, homemaker services. 5. Support for Children, Youth and Families: child care, after school programs, Head Start, family resource centers, summer camps and recreation programs, mentoring, tutoring, protective services. 6. Volunteer Opportunities and Donations” With regards to number 6, the “volunteer opportunities and donations” are provided for emergency situations, i. e.

restoration of the victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita last 2005. To succeed in this endeavor, the human service program strives to disseminate public awareness that each individual may be inspired to choose making a difference in the society. They are encouraged to involve themselves in building alliances to meet the goals of the program. The program seeks investors of time, talents and treasure for its development and expansion in order to help other programs in the same field. The youth of today are most welcome to be part of the efforts to reach out to people.

In a recent press release (2008), young adult leaders offered help to proliferate the outcome of alternative spring break in the present year. Dedicated young adults were exposed in rebuilding some areas for a whole week. “United Way of America announced today that young adult leadership has helped to multiply the effects of ALTERNATIVE SPRING BREAK (ASB) in 2008, bring young adults from across the country to communities along the Gulf Coast and in Detroit, Michigan, and resulting in ongoing community involvement beyond the event. ” In the said press release, United Way of America CEO and president, Brian A.

Gallagher affirmed that, “We continue to build on the groundswell of compassion and commitment of Generation Y…” In addition, he mentioned an extension of service projects further than they have planned to connect with more communities in need. “We’re extending service projects beyond the Gulf Coast because there are communities across the country that have pressing needs that can be addressed through thoughtful, focused and committed volunteer work. ” United Way of America serves to deliver their program at the exact time they are needed.

The continuing needs of the communities around the United States cry for more people to get involved and make the change that is due to be given. It is not an organization alone that should work hard. It’s a joint effort from various groups of individuals to change things for a better life.

References:

http://ww. unitedway. org United Way of America. (2008, February 25). United Way expands alternative spring break with help from past participants. Retrieved March 13, 2008, from http://www. unitedway. org/News/upload/ASB_208_UWA_Release. pdf

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