It takes a village: The United Way brings people together

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Kevin, United Way Self-Sufficiency Program Participant, with son Nathan Kevin, United Way Self-Sufficiency Program Participant, with son Nathan

The United Way – Thomas Jefferson Area knows it takes a village to make our community better. As a stable, flexible and focused leader, United Way brings people together to listen, understand and collaborate to solve problems. Impact areas include School Readiness, Community Health and Self-Sufficiency.

United Way makes a big impact on people’s lives every day. Last year, 51 young children from low-income households received Early Learner Scholarships for high-quality early education programs that prepare them for success in kindergarten. The Cville Tax Aid program, a collaboration led by United Way, prepared 2,598 tax returns for low-income workers, resulting in $3.3M in refunds and a total local economic impact of $3.7M. The RX Relief prescription assistance program served 546 local patients by providing free prescription medications to treat chronic, often life-threatening illnesses. And, the United Way initiated a pilot of its new Family Self-Sufficiency Program, welcoming four families working on personal plans to achieve financial independence. The United Way also provides grants to local programs that make a difference in the Impact Areas of School Readiness, Self-Sufficiency, and Community Health.

Yet, there is much more work to be done. Over 50 children ages 0-5 are currently on the waiting list for United Way Early Learner Scholarships. There is great need, and every scholarship that puts a child on the path to success costs approximately $11,000. “Providing high-quality early education opportunities for low-income children ensures their academic success and ability to meet their peers at grade level when starting kindergarten. The long-term outcome for these children is greatly improved with early proactive interventions that lead to success throughout their academic careers and a stronger economic future. Investing in our children is critical to the health and vibrancy of our community.” – Ravi Respeto, United Way President

By expanding tax preparation sites and recruiting more volunteers thanks to Madison House, the Cville Tax Aid program aims to provide its service to more local low-income taxpayers, but needs support to obtain the equipment, materials, and staffing needed.

In collaboration with Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital, UVA Health System and the Thomas Jefferson Health District, United Way is working toward health equity in our community, beginning by engaging African-American and Latino community members affected by Type 2 Diabetes. “Our goal is to significantly decrease the incidence of Type 2 Diabetes through strategic partnerships with both Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital and UVA Health System to reach all at-risk community members with long-term sustainable programs focused on prevention,” stated Ms. Respeto.

The Family Self-Sufficiency Program will accept nominations for more families, helping them identify and eliminate specific financial barriers that stand in the way of success.

On Tuesday, November 27, members of the local community are invited to COME TOGETHER with the United Way – Thomas Jefferson Area for #GivingTuesday. By supporting the United Way on #GivingTuesday, your gift will help local families access high-quality early education, healthcare, and opportunities to live self-sufficiently. “When we come together, we can reach higher and farther. We can do more for our community.” UnitedWayTJA.org

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