I want to share with you my vision for our community. What if EVERY person in Mahaska County gave just a little bit of their time to serve others? What if we all felt engaged and empowered to create real change in our community? What if we gave of our time and talents to address issues of education, income and health?
United Way of Mahaska County wants to help reach these goals by making it easy to connect to volunteer opportunities. In just a couple minutes you can create a Volunteer Mahaska profile and start connecting with local nonprofits whose work you want to support. I encourage you to stop what you’re doing and check out volunteermahaska.org right now.
But there’s another part to our plan for creating this “environment of service.” United Way and our partner agencies want to continue to develop programs that cut to the root of these issues.
First off, we need to break down barriers to success for at-risk students. That’s why we are focusing so much on childhood hunger; a hungry child is one less ready to learn. Oskaloosa Summer Lunch and Take-Along Weekend Food give food to hungry kids. Operation Backpack offers the school supplies. Iowa Reading Corps provide the 1-on- 1 attention it takes to get kids reading on track. We’re starting to put together the puzzle pieces that will help raise of a generation of kids ready to succeed.
And another of those puzzles pieces is raising up people living in poverty. Love INC’s Growing Hope program is teaching low-income people about topics like money management and finding purpose in life. What better way to empower someone to make their life better than to help them find and use the gifts they were given? It’s already making a huge impact, and I can’t wait to see more lives changed!
You can learn more about our vision by watching this year’s United Way Campaign video HERE. It tells the stories of three women whose lives were changed by the power of volunteering.
I love the work that I do, and I’m excited to continue to move the needle of progress. It’s going to take all of us coming together – building relationships with people living in poverty, advocating for students in our schools and engaging our families in active lifestyles.
On behalf of myself, the staff and Board of Directors, as well as the 13 extraordinary agencies we support, thank you for all you do to make Mahaska County a place that proudly serves its neighbors.