As United Way begins their annual campaign that is unlike any campaigns before, I would like to tell you about my experiences with the programs that United Way funds. As the Director of Peer Court, Inc., I have been involved with the annual campaign and the programs that are funded by United Way.

My favorite part of the United Way campaign is always going to local businesses and talking about Peer Court, a United Way agency. Having been involved in Peer Court as a youth volunteer and working with Peer Court throughout my adult life, I am never at a loss of words. I enjoy meeting people within our community and seeing different workplaces within Vermilion County. I always enjoy when people ask questions or tell a story of how they are connected to Peer Court. It is not uncommon for me to have a discussion with a parent of a former client after the presentation and, most of the time, my former client is doing well. I am sure that the directors and staff from other United Way agencies have similar stories because all the services funded by United Way have proven to be effective and necessary.

My work with Peer Court allows me to take youth to volunteer with agencies and community events. This means that we get the opportunity to introduce our youth to activities and agencies throughout Vermilion County. We partner with many United Way agencies who have gone above and beyond to help our youth and families. When I had a youth, who was ordered in court to start his community service work that day, the Boys & Girls Club put him to work within their building. When a client wasn’t enrolling in school because they did not have clothes or shoes, the Salvation Army made sure that child had what they needed to attend school the next day. Rosecrance, Inc will provide counseling for any youth who has drug or alcohol charges. The Survivor Resource Center always includes our youth in their Walk a Mile fundraiser. Most United Way agencies partner with us when we put on our annual Peer Court Auction Fundraiser. United Way agencies support one another and partner to make the services we offer more effective.

On a personal note, my children and I were able to volunteer with CRIS Senior Services Meals on Wheels program throughout this summer. While many of our normal volunteer activities were cancelled or postponed, Meals on Wheels was vital to the elderly in our community. Twice a week, my kids and I would drive around Danville dropping nutritious meals off on doorsteps and hoping that the recipients would open their doors to get their meals before we drove away. Saying good morning or wishing a good day to the lovely people who received meals from CRIS was a highlight of our summer.

Throughout my work in our community and with United Way, I have realized how vital the programs are that are funded by United Way. On behalf of Peer Court, I want to thank our community for their support of United Way. Your generosity is always overwhelming and appreciated.

Watch the video created by Peer Court to learn more about it by searching for United Way of Danville Area on YouTube or follow this link, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4DWnfOi560ZuVjMYJpnDig/videos.

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