The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

December 29, 2013

Agency inspires hope for better tomorrow

The Commercial-News

It’s that time of year to reflect on hopes and plans we had for the past year, review and analyze those, and celebrate the successes and accomplishments.

Note the word “hopes.” The American Heritage dictionary defines hope as: “A wish or desire supported by some confidence of its fulfillment; a ground for expectation or trust.” At United Way we believe that by creating opportunities for lasting change in people’s lives, we inspire hope for a better tomorrow. We have hope because of our strengths, assets, successes, values, experiences and everything we have going for us. We inspire hope by bringing out the best in those around us and shoring up their strengths, assets, successes, values, experiences, and everything they have going for them.

At United Way our hopes are inextricably intertwined with our community and those who benefit from services. We share their wishes and desires that working together, their expectations for a better life will be met.

Looking back upon this year, we are pleased that we focused on reducing poverty by:

— Investing more than half a million dollars in outcome-based programs of 18 agencies that provide services from birth to retirement to prepare children for school and life, prepare people for work and help people live healthier, more financially secure lives

— Producing resources to empower families, including the “Getting Ready for Kindergarten” calendar, new baby packets at Presence, and the Dolly Parton Imagination Library

— Providing FamilyWize prescription cards, saving local residents more than $360,000

— Connecting people to services through our Community Help Line at 442-3512

— Partnering with others to strategize on how best to serve the community with scarcer resources

— Partnering with Pepsico/Quaker by scheduling daily activities for the children after Quaker retirees served the children breakfast at their Breakfast in the Park this summer

— Chairing a coalition to support the VITA (volunteer income tax assistance) sites at DACC in Vermilion County that enabled local residents to receive more than $1,500,000 in tax credits while having their tax returns prepared at no cost

— Participating with Money Smart Week, helping provide scholarships to a middle and high school students

 — Informing the community of United Way resources through a donated weekly column in the Commercial-News.

I believe that people have an inherent desire to control their own destiny and that people have an inherent desire to help others control their destinies when circumstances prohibit them from doing so themselves. This is evident in our community on a daily basis by the way people reach out to help others in so many ways. We hope that by giving people the opportunity to volunteer, advocate and give through United Way, we have met the hopes and desires of those who want to make a difference in someone’s life and those who want to change their own lives.

Thank you for giving, advocating and volunteering with us in 2013. Please join us in 2014 as we find new ways to advance the common good by reducing poverty!

Jeanne M. Mulvaney is president of United Way of Danville Area, Inc., 28 W. North St., Danville, IL 61832. Phone: 442-3512.