The United Way brings people together to address the needs of the whole community, to transform the quality of our lives, together. We are not about short-term charity or Band-Aid approaches, but rather about lasting change by working collectively as a community to address the challenges we face.
We recognize that many of the challenges we face are multifaceted. That is why at the United Way we fight for the health, education, and financial stability of every person in our community. Through addressing each of these important areas that impact us all we can help individuals and families reach their full potential together as a community.
No other agency takes such a broad-based view of the needs of the whole community. We identify problems, and find solutions, together. Whether we are caring for the health of our seniors by helping them find transportation to key medical appointments, working to educate and empower the children of our community through our educational programs, or assisting adults in achieving financial stability through employment, we are proving that we are better together.
Please click on the tabs below to learn more about each impact area.
INDIVIDUALS AND FAMILIES ARE SAFE AND HAVE ACCESS TO HEALTHCARE TO IMPROVE THEIR HEALTH OR MAINTAIN THEIR HEALTH.
1. Families and individuals are able to access healthcare, preventative care, and behavioral health services.
2. Individuals are able to maintain their health and independence.
3. Adults and youth understand the dangers of risky behaviors, avoid them, and know how to protect themselves from harm.
Health and safety are the building blocks for everything. If an individual is not healthy they are unable to learn, work and they are limited in how they can function. The cost of healthcare can deter individuals from seeking medical treatment. If an individual is not safe they are operating in survival mode. Declining health can lead to accidents that may place an individual’s independence in jeopardy.
Data: 2 out of 3 Allen County residents are overweight or obese. 39.3% of Allen County third graders are overweight or obese. 14% of Allen County residents have limited access to healthy foods. 18,403 Allen County residents live in designated food deserts. 92.3 % of Allen County residents have health insurance but 10.1% of adults are unable to afford to see a doctor or delay medical treatment due to costs.
- Jim is a 55-year-old married man who resides outside the city of Lima. Jim suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury and a stroke, therefore requires the use of an electric wheelchair to ambulate. Jim’s wife works a full-time job so she is unable to assist with getting him to his medical appointments through the week. This family is not Medicaid eligible. The only other family who could help would be his 83-year-old father who would have to assist Jim in transferring from his wheelchair into the vehicle, and would then need to fold and lift the wheelchair into the trunk of the car, and repeat the process once they arrive at the appointment. Jim and his wife are so thankful for The Find A Ride program. Find A Ride assisted with getting Jim to get his vaccine at a recent clinic, and he is very thankful for our program!
- Mark, a Rock Steady boxer diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, attends Rock Steady Boxing at SCS Lima with his wife Jane. Mark joined the program in January of 2020. Jane said that during the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown, Mark’s progress took a big step backwards when it came to balance, voice strength, and socialization. When Rock Steady was able to resume, Mark said he felt like a whole new person. His strength is back; he feels better and more confident with his walk and gait. He has his Rock Steady friends back. Mark says RSB helps with so many of his symptoms of Parkinson’s, whether it is his motor symptoms or his non-motor symptoms. He said his short-term memory is better now that he’s back in class. He loves working his brain and mind with the different exercises we do. He says the exercises work everyone from their toes to their head and it keeps them strong physically, mentally, and emotionally. Rock Steady Boxing at SCS Lima gives him the power to keep pushing against Parkinson’s Disease.
- It is such a joy to watch how 8 year old Cody has grown since beginning Karate Classes at the Salvation Army. Although covid has presented its challenges, karate classes have been able to continue due to the class size and available space. When Cody began karate, he was having trouble focusing at home and school. He found it hard to make friends and speak up for himself. He was hesitant to talk to others and clung tightly to family and relatives. Karate classes and the discipline that goes along with the exercise and control have helped Cody to blossom. Karate has helped Cody gain self- confidence, increase self-esteem and self-acceptance. His "I can't" has turned into "I can try" which is a great improvement. Cody will now approach others at school and begin a conversation. Family has said that he now gets along better with relatives, showing more respect and discipline at home. His attitude has improved as he gained confidence through the discipline that karate provides. Because of practices and workouts, Cody has also been getting better sleep which helps him focus better on school and getting things done. Cody has been attending karate for 9 months and has already earned 2 strips on his white belt because of his consistency and dedication to practice and learning. We look forward to what else he will be able to accomplish as he believes in himself.
CHILDREN AND YOUTH ARE EQUIPPED TO LEARN AT EVERY GRADE AND ARE PREPARED FOR SUCCESS AFTER HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION.
1. Students will be ready for school, equipped with the skills they need to succeed.
2. Students will perform to grade level and successfully transition to middle school and high school on time.
3. Students will graduate on time and be ready for after school success.
Children who enter class on the first day of school behind their peers and below grade level start off at a disadvantage. Students who are unprepared physically, emotionally, and cognitively do not have the ability to engage in classroom learning, missing out on crucial skill development. Parents and caregivers are our greatest teachers but when they do not understand child development or classroom expectations it’s difficult for them to adequately prepare their child for school success.
Data: 68.5% of Fourth Graders are grade proficient readers. Allen County graduation rate is 84.9% versus Lima City School graduation rate of 63.3%. The Kindergarten Reading diagnostic assessment placed 62.6% of Lima City Kindergarteners not on track for reading. 53.5% of 8th graders in Allen County are proficient in math. 407 referrals to Early Intervention services in 2018/2019.
- Camp Robin Rogers is a fantastic summer camp that our 11 year old twins have been attending for the last 7 years. Our daughter Maggie is special needs and requires a lot of care and supervision. She has few experiences that truly give her pleasure but this camp is one of them. She is non-verbal but her face lights up when she sees the bus for camp. Her brother Aden also gets to attend because he is her sibling and its always something he looks forward to. He enjoyed watching the construction of the Abilities Playground and was so excited that it opened during camp last year. The staff is always accommodating, helpful and ready to give the kids a wonderful summer experience. We are grateful for this amazing summer program that gives so much to kids that aren't able to enjoy the kinds of things other children get to experience.
- I like this program because it teaches me, my brother, and other young leaders to grow and become a better young man. Without this program who knows what some kids could be doing. I also wish my brothers had this [program] and it could've been a better life for them and maybe they wouldn't be where they are. (speaking about the Bradfield Community Center's My Brother's Keepers program)
- Marcia is a single mom, mother of 3 boys and 2 girls. The family was homeless, living with another family, when they came to us. Mom now has moved into an apartment and has a job. Michaela was matched with a big through the Big Brothers Big Sisters program when she was in the 3rd grade. She didn't like school, her attendance was terrible, her grades were not good, she hated reading, and had problems with comprehension. Jade (her big) brought her own books for Michaela to read. Jade would put post-it notes at certain sections and Michaela would call Jade so they could talk about each section. Jade would ask comprehension questions; she used incentives like ice cream to encourage Michaela to participate. This continues to the present day. Jade reports that she buys more books for Michaela than herself. She bought her 6-7 books over the summer. Michaela enjoys school now (she doesn't like to miss), enjoys reading and will read in her spare time! Her grades are improving. Mom confirms that Michaela truly enjoys spending time with Jade and that Jade has helped Michaela in significant ways.
INDIVIDUALS AND FAMILIES IMPROVE THEIR SOCIO-ECONOMIC STATUS.
1. Families and individuals have access to food, shelter, and are able to navigate when an emergency or disaster strikes.
2. Individuals are prepared to obtain or advance in family-sustaining jobs.
3. Families and individuals will have basic understanding of financial concepts and strategies to put into practice.
Individuals and families are working harder than ever to make ends meet and one unanticipated expense can send them into crisis. Expenses have outpaced wages making it difficult to set aside anything for savings. Individuals and families are having a difficult time finding and sustaining quality housing. Individuals and families live in food deserts increasing the cost of food and restricting what foods are available.
Data: The Allen County income per capita is $24,551. 48.6% of renters in Allen County spend 30% or more of their household income on rent. 30.8% of Allen County residents are working but unable to afford basic necessities. 46.4% of Allen County students K-12 are eligible for the free lunch program. Only 3.2% of Allen County households receive cash public assistance income.
- Today I got a tray for lunch and was looking at the tables for someone to sit with when I noticed one of the newer regulars sitting by himself. He has been coming for 2-3 months, always a smile when he enters and always thanks us as he leave. So I asked if he minded the company, he quickly said no and shuffled some of his stuff around so I had plenty of room. We'll call him Matthew. I started the conversation off by asking where he was from. "Florida," he said, and before I could ask, he said, "I moved up here to be closer to my daughter, she lives in New Bremen with her mom." I learned he has been homeless for a few years on and off and has relied on soup kitchens and missions most of that time. He said he has been thinking of staying here, he gets a disability for obvious reasons. He said he liked Lima but he would stay mostly for the food. He said how well we have been feeding him, he's gained weight, he is feeling better and he knows he has been looking better. He said that in most places that he has been, the food isn't very good and you aren't full like you are when you leave here. Matthew went on to say how much he loves coming here, as soon as he walks in the atmosphere just puts him at ease. He said some days gets a little tense but it always gets better. Matthew said it's like coming to a friends house instead of a soup kitchen. My heart exploded with joy. This was the second time in two weeks that someone had talked about Our Daily Bread as a home. This is what we have been trying to establish is a family atmosphere for everyone. Matthew was homeless this day, we talked about his options, we talked about WOCAP and he told me he was already working with them and was trying to find a place. Two days later, Matthew came in and let us know he found a place, but that he was still going to come in here everyday.
- A couple had been married 63 years, living in their Westminster home for 60 years. They were asleep on a March evening when they were awoken to the sound of banging on the door and yelling. The wife says the night was a blur. She does not know how they got out of the house but, fortunately, they did Unfortunately, the husband sustained serious smoke inhalation injuries, requiring hospitalization. Red Cross Disaster Action Team volunteers met with the wife that night via facetime (thanks to help from her children) that first night offering immediate comfort and care and financial assistance including replacement of needed medications. Red Cross volunteers also assessed her needs for mental health and spiritual care and, ultimately, contacted her pastor to follow‐up with her immediately. The Red Cross caseworker kept in touch with the couple through the husband’s ultimate recovery and time in a rehab facility where, due to COVID, his wife was not permitted to visit except through a window. Unfortunately, the wife then suffered an unrelated illness requiring her to be admitted to a different facility.. Disaster Health Service and Mental Health team members worked with the physician, local providers and facilities to continue to provide support and assistance. In May, they finally were reunited and are once again together in the same senior living facility. For this couple, Red Cross assistance provided not only financial support for basic needs, but critical health, mental health, and spiritual care support at a time when resources were limited due to the public health crisis.
- Following an incarceration while never having been in trouble before, Bill's main goal was to find employment to enable him to raise his two daughters. After spending four years incarcerated, Bill was referred to an employment specialist at Goodwill Easterseals' Community outreach program by OhioLink Alvis house where he still resides. The Community Outreach Program is a free program that works with adults in the criminal justice program to help them successfully transition back into the community and reduce recidivism. This is achieved by preparing for gainful employment while providing resources offering housing supports and financial literacy. The employment specialist helped Bill obtain a State Identification card to help prove he was legally permitted to work. Since it had been a while since he had interviewed for a job, she practiced interview skills with Bill by role playing different scenarios. She expertly trained him how to best explain his history with the justice system so that employers would feel confident that he could do the job. She coached him on employer expectations and making a good impression in an interview. Funding from the Community Outreach Program provided transportation assistance so he could attend his interview as well as orientation and other appointments until transportation assistance was established. Charles had expressed deep appreciation for Goodwill Easterseals and his employment specialist for providing life-changing services that helped him achieve self-sufficiency. He realizes he is fortunate to have support of family. That combined with the services of the Community Outreach Program, Bill is looking forward to building a life with his daughters.