Strengthening our communities one child at a time

From birth to later years, United Way of Steele County supports programs that strengthen our communities by lifting people up. This month’s column will focus on some of our United Way operated Youth Programs and Volunteer opportunities.

Earlier this month, our Women United hosted a phenomenal Power of the Purse event, raising funds to support Early Childhood Literacy. Because of their efforts and the generosity of the women in this community, we can continue to provide books to every child 0-5 in Steele County with a book each month, through the Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. Parents, grandparents, caregivers: If your loved one is not signed up for this amazing program, now is the time. You can register on our website or by calling our office.

Speaking of amazing programs, we are so proud to introduce a new program for caregivers called Bright by Text. This is a text-based program, which does not require the use of data on your phone to receive the benefit. We know that not having access to wi-fi or data can be a barrier, so we partnered with a program that eliminated this hurdle. Now caregivers can receive helpful age specific tips right to their cell phone via text message. In addition, when you sign up, you will be alerted to Local Community Activities that may be of interest to you and your family. Signing up is as easy as texting LIVEUNITED to 274-448 or visiting our website. No identifying information is taken, just enter a cell phone, a zip code, and your child’s birthdate. Complete this for each child in your household.

In addition to supporting children directly through our United Way programming, we also support the organizations in our community that support children (all the way up to, as my 4-year-old puts it, big humans). One way that we support nonprofits in Steele County is through Volunteers United. With this program, we match individuals, like you, with different opportunities in our community. This program increases the capacity of our nonprofits, while providing our volunteers with unique experiences. If you have considered volunteering, but don’t know where to start, I encourage you to join us July 9 from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church in Owatonna, for our Volunteer Recruitment Fair. Here you will have the opportunity to speak directly with agencies about the various volunteer positions they have available and figure out what makes sense for you. We will have light refreshments and giveaways, so mark your calendars!! Nonprofits, if you are interested in having a FREE Booth at this event, visit our website and click “Help the Cause” to register today.

Filling the Gaps, Addressing the Needs, We’re Your United Way. LIVE UNITED.