Ensuring A Stable Tomorrow By Investing In Our Youth Today

We believe we can eliminate poverty in our community, in part, by preparing struggling students to succeed in school.

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Our elementary aged students have a greater chance of graduating high school if they are reading at grade level by the 4th grade. Your support makes it possible for United Way of Jackson County to give students the tools they need to succeed. UWJC’s Energizing Education pairs students who are falling behind with trained reading mentors. These mentors work on reading skills with these students twice a week. Chelsea is a JPS student who now has the tools she needs to be successful in school.

As a 2nd grader, Chelsea was disengaged, easily distracted and struggling in school. Her teacher recommended her for Energizing Education. It was difficult at first. Chelsea’s mentor was patient and encouraging. They would often stop and work on words or discusses pages so she could better understand them. Most days Chelsea’s mentor had to encourage her to finish the book. As time went on, it became less of a struggle, and she looked forward to the time with her mentor each week. She finished books and could retell key parts with ease. Her confidence grew each time she advanced a reading level. Over the course of five months, Chelsea advanced 13 reading levels. She ended up above her grade level and tested out of the program. Her teacher and her mentor were very proud of her. Most importantly, Chelsea was proud of herself and her accomplishments.

Nearly every child in Energizing Education shows improvement in reading; the average margin is 6.82 reading levels. Children who are reading at grade level by the 4th grade are more likely to graduate and go on to post-high education and a rewarding career. These students who were once considered to be “at-risk” are now more likely to succeed and less likely to become a part of the persistent, multi-generational poverty cycle that has swallowed up so many in our community. Your support means Chelsea and other students like her are getting the tools they need to be on their pathway to success and stability.

Volunteer and / or Donate, help other students like Chelsea

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Stability For Our Greatest Generation

We believe elderly men who have been abused, neglected or unable to care for themselves deserve an affordable home where their basic needs are met.

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Your support for United Way of Jackson County allows us to fund the John George Home. This facility provides a home, food and help with medical and mental health care. It also provides a sense of community and belonging for those who have been forgotten and left behind. Forty-three men currently call the John George Home their home, Bill is one of them.

Bill came from a senior living apartment. He was independent, happy and able to take care of himself. But then Bill had a severe stroke. He couldn’t fully recover, meaning daily tasks became huge obstacles for him. He couldn’t cook, clean or manage his finances. He was alone, without friends or family to help. He needed an affordable place where he could be supported. That place was John George Home. Today, Bill is thriving. His basic living and medical needs are met. He has become more active than his physicians thought possible. He is contributing to the energy and activity of the Home and has made many friends. Bill has a new life.

Every person living at the John George Home receives supportive housing where medical, nutritional, emotional and physical needs are all met. Your UWJC support makes it possible for every person living at the John George Home to have a fulfilling and stable life.

Help Bill and others like him.

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All Our Kids Need To Be Confident & Strong

We want to break the cycle of multi-generational poverty in Jackson County.

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We envision a community rich in opportunities to eliminate poverty and allow all people to achieve financial stability and success. Among the many crucial things we must address is preparing our youth to pursue their pathway to stability. Your support allows United Way of Jackson County to do just that. Children from impoverished homes or single-parent homes are gaining the confidence and skills they need to begin that journey. Because of you, we are able to fund community based mentoring programs through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Jackson County, where at-risk youth are mentored by loving, caring adults who are backed by a professional staff. PJ and Cameron are an example of that positive impact.

PJ is dedicated to growing his relationship with Cameron and helping Cameron grow into the best young man he can be. They have participated in volunteer opportunities, taken part in the local Glow-run, worked together on Cameron’s academics, and improved Cameron’s comfort in social situations. Cameron struggles with self-expression, self-confidence, social interaction and academic achievement. Cameron lost his father several years ago and lacked a positive male role model. PJ and Cameron have been matched since the fall of 2013 and have become inseparable. Cameron says he is glad PJ will be his Big Brother forever.

Children who once felt hopeless are now living a life of hope for the future. Your support of this United Way funded program is making real, meaningful change for children in our community.

Help others like Cameron.

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Helping Struggling Families Keep The Lights On

We believe helping struggling families with basic needs will lead them to their pathway of financial stability and success.

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Consumers Energy has partnered with United Way of Jackson County on the Consumers Affordable Resource for Energy (CARE) Program. Qualified enrollees in the CARE program pay a portion of their bill, Consumers Energy pays the other portion and enrollees have the opportunity to receive energy saving services from consumers. This program keeps the lights on for families who are having difficulty making the ends meet and it allows them to use their limited resources on other areas of their budget such as food and transportation. The Johnson family is just one example of the impact that is being made. The CARE Program recently received this letter from them after completing their first year.

My family and I waited 3 months before anyone would give us help with Consumers. My job had outsourced me and I had to get a part time 36 hour job just to keep my insurance. My Consumers was turned off cause I couldn’t keep up with it and the rent, or car. Things just got harder with the loss of my brother and no other family to help us. Despite all of this I kept praying, going to church. You all answered by prayers, not knowing what (I) my family was going through. I can never express how grateful I am to the CARE Program and all the wonderful people that answered my countless calls.

Thank you

Forever Grateful

The Johnson Family

By supporting United Way of Jackson County you make it possible for families like the Johnsons to be on their pathway to success and stability.

How can you help others like the Johnsons?

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Kids Succeed & Struggling Families Win!

We believe all children should have equal access to quality day care and early learning opportunities.

By supporting United Way of Jackson County, you make quality care affordable for struggling families. UWJC funds the FIRST Family Support Program through the Child Care Network. This program provides child care tuition to low-income qualifying families. Parents can afford day care that provides their young children with development and growth opportunities. In turn, parents are able to redirect their limited resources so they can live independently and continue on their pathway to financial stability and success. Lauren’s story is one example of the impact you have made possible through your United Way of Jackson County support. The following was taken from a letter Lauren submitted when she re-applied for the program.

As I was receiving help with my daycare bill, I was able to save some money and move in to a beautiful 2-bedroom apartment. My son was very excited to finally have his own room! I was able to improve my credit score by paying off any balances I had in collections. This allowed me to secure an auto loan through my credit union and purchase a much safer and reliable vehicle. I was also able to take the Certified Nurse Aide course at the Jackson Area Career Center in April. I passed the class with flying colors and I am currently waiting to be scheduled for the state test to complete my certification. I am very proud that I was able to accomplish everything I have this year but more importantly, I was able to do it all without having to worry about the safety of my son or the quality of his care. This scholarship allowed me to afford an amazing daycare provider. My son is always excited to get to daycare every morning so he can see his friends and eat breakfast with them. He is always such a happy boy and he has learned so much just from being in such an educational environment.

Without this program, my son would not be attending such a great daycare, we would not be living in a decent residence or have dependable transportation. Some months are tighter than others, but with a strict budget we are able to make do. I am grateful for the help I have received and hope to one day be in a position that allows me to be completely self-sufficient.

Your support has made it possible for Lauren to be on her own pathway to financial stability and success.

Help others like Lauren and her son.

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EXTENDING THE SAFETY NET FOR STRUGGLING FAMILIES AND INDIVIDUALS

We believe that helping struggling families and individuals with basic needs assistance during times of financial crisis will eventually lead to stability and success.

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When you support United Way of Jackson County, you help expand the safety net for families and individuals. United Way provides funds to the Salvation Army Basic Needs Program, which provides food, utility assistance and minor home repair. Dorothy is just one of many who have been able to get by because of this United Way funded program.

Dorothy had hip surgery. She spent last winter at a nursing facility recovering and doing physical therapy. Her husband passed away several years ago, and her family is spread out across several states. It was early spring when she returned home alone. The joy of finally being comfortable in her own home was soon replace with dread and despair. While she was gone, the cold weather cause her pipes to burst. Who knows how long the water was running in her basement? The cost of the water usage and necessary repairs were very high. She was referred to the basic needs program, where they were able to assist with some of the repairs and pay her water bill so she could re-establish water service. It’s hard living on a fixed income. With help from this United Way funded program, Dorothy was able to stay in her home and maintain her stability.

Last year, 8,089 applicants received five days-worth of food assistance and 3,995 applicants were able to avoid a shutoff or had service restoration with their utilities. By supporting United Way of Jackson County, you help to expand the safety need for struggling families and individuals so they can weather a crisis and remain on their pathway to stability and success.

Help others facing crisis

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WE WANT OUR CHILDREN TO HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO SUCCEED

Your United Way of Jackson County support is helping young students understand how alcohol, tobacco, and drugs will negatively impact their lives.

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We believe kids who have been a part of this United Way funded program will make positive choices and will remain on their pathway to stability and success. The Breakout Drug Education Program provides school based education for middle and high school students throughout Jackson County. They are making an IMPACT in our community. The following was taken from a “Letter of Support” written by a Columbia Central teacher.

This program is effective because it is geared toward the middle school/high school level so the students take great interest in it. I have seen how the visual effects, such as the discolored cloth in the bottles due to cigarette smoke or the visually impairing glasses, have made a tremendous impact on the students. The presenters are also very effective. Shelly Milligan has taught the 6th grade program for many years now, and each year, we teachers are impressed with her natural teaching ability and how well she relates to the students. She gets the information across in a way that makes it possible for the students to understand, and they retain the information. I truly believe that this program is convincing students to stay away from drugs and alcohol by showing them some of the consequences ahead of time in a safe and controlled environment.

My son is a 9th grader this year so he has gone through this program for three years. He recently finished this year’s program, and he told me afterward that he would never use drugs with such conviction that I was once again incredibly impressed with the effectiveness of this program. He also went as far as telling his younger sister that she should never do drugs explaining some of the health issues and dangers involved with that type of lifestyle. I whole-heartedly believe he will not use drugs as he gets older, and not because he knows they are “bad” and illegal, but because he understands the severity of the risks to his health. To me, that is the real key to get through to this age group; don’t tell them it is bad, show them the true dangers and health risks associated with using these substances.

75% of students who took part in the Breakout Program said there is little to no chance they will use drugs and 89% of middle school students signed a pledge to stay drug free. Students across Jackson County realize the negative effects drugs will have on their future. They realize that they want more for themselves. Your support is IMPACTING young lives in our community.

IMPACT more lives in Jackson County

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WE WANT ALL GIRLS TO BE RESOURCEFUL AND CONFIDENT

We believe all girls in elementary school should have the opportunity to learn positive values, develop confidence and flourish through cooperation and teamwork.

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By supporting United Way of Jackson County, you make it possible to bring a program that promotes these behaviors among low-income populations. UWJC funds the Girl Scout Outreach Program, which takes the values of scouting to areas of need. At-risk girls who engage in scouting develop practical life skills, critical thinking, cooperation and teambuilding skills, becoming resourceful problem-solvers. Through group activities and personal mentoring, these girls develop self-worth and a positive sense of their own future. One of the most exciting success stories from this program recently came from Dibble Elementary as reported in the Girl Scouts Heart Of Michigan Program Progress Report.

“The Outreach Specialist notes that ‘one of the most exciting stories was the initiative girls at Dibble took as a result of their participation in GSHOM’s anti-bullying programming.  They are very committed to addressing this issue at Dibble and are working with school administration and teachers to start an anti-bullying group.  The program has not only benefitted girls in building their confidence and strengthened friendships—it’s benefitting the school as a whole!’”

Your support ensures that all girls in Jackson County have access to the powerful learning experiences Girl Scouting offers. We believe this is particularly important for under-represented girls—girls from families with limited financial and/or transportation resources, housing and or food insecurity; girls from single-parent homes who are responsible for taking care of themselves and younger siblings after school; or girls who have been victims of abuse or neglect. In response to the need for quality, after-school programming for girls in these very challenging situations, this United Way funded outreach program has been created to combat barriers to participation. 

Surveys are conducted at the conclusion of each program series session. Results show that 86% of girls in the program develop a strong sense of self, 89% develop positive values, 81% showed positive indicators of cooperation and teamwork skills, and 70% enhanced conflict resolution skills.

Your support prevents at-risk girls from falling through the cracks. Your support prepares girls for success in life.

Help prepare our youth to succeed in life.

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SAVING FAMILIES & IMPROVING LIVES

We believe every child, family, and individual in Jackson County should have the opportunity to forge strong, healthy and caring family relationships with good mental health.

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Your United Way of Jackson County support is making an impact by providing outpatient counseling services through Catholic Charities to the uninsured and under-insured. Mary’s story is just one of many whose life was turned around by your generosity.

Mary was struggling — with her children, with relationships within her family, with work, and especially with her husband. She had good role models as a child, and her parents were great. Why was her marriage so different? Why couldn’t she forgive him for their problems of the past?

She was referred to Outpatient Counseling at Catholic Charities, a program funded by United Way. Her head hung low as she filled out the paperwork. When meeting her therapist for the first time, she didn’t shake hands or even say “hi.”  Mary looked at the floor and said, “I don’t want to cry today.”

During the course of her treatment, Mary improved her communication with her husband. Now she was contributing solutions instead of participating in disagreements. Using several techniques, she began to recognize and engage in self-care as a wife and mother. It took time, but the progress she made lead to better relationships with her children. The strategies she had learned helped her enjoy family time again. 

Mary got a new job – and with it, growing confidence. She began volunteering and became involved in the community. She’s able to adapt and juggle her responsibilities which was once a challenge for her. It took time and a lot of hard work, but her marriage was saved, she relishes the time with her children, and she is now a confident professional who gives back to her community.

You made an IMPACT. Your support changes lives. Some 91% of clients in this United Way funded program report improvement in one or more areas of their life. Mary’s story is just one of many.

Help Mary and others like her

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GUARDIANS HELP PROVIDE A LIFE OF STABILITY

We believe it’s important to protect the interests of incapacitated adults who may be vulnerable to exploitation, neglect or injury. 

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Your support allows United Way of Jackson County to fund an Adult Guardian Program.  These guardians and conservators are court-appointed to advocate and make decisions on care, custody, medical treatment and finances. Your support stops crimes like fraud and abuse; in many cases, your support saves the lives of adults who can’t help themselves.

Betty’s neighbors were aware of her. They knew she was in her mid-60s, developmentally disabled and living alone.  They were aware, but they didn’t really know her. That’s why it took a few days for one of Betty’s neighbors to realize they hadn’t seen her in a while. It took another day for that neighbor to mention it to another neighbor. It took another 24 hours for their concern to grow to the point that they called the police. When no one answered their repeated knocks, the police kicked in the door and entered Betty’s home. 

What they found was horrific.

The house was unkempt and unsanitary. Betty was alive but unresponsive,  surrounded by empty liquor bottles, lying in her urine and waste. She had a wound on her leg that was infested with maggots. An ambulance took Betty to Henry Ford Allegiance Health. Betty’s case was reported to Jackson County’s Adult Protective Services. They could not locate a family member to make decisions on Betty’s behalf. The Jackson County Guardian Program was appointed Temporary Guardian and Conservator. A Guardian addressed Betty’s medical issues after she was discharged from the hospital, coordinating placement in a safe community living arrangement that met her needs. The Guardian also arranged for treatment for Betty’s alcoholism. 

Betty will need assistance for the foreseeable future, but her life is no longer that horrific scene found by the first responders. The program you helped to support through your generous gifts to United Way of Jackson County has forged a pathway for Betty to have a life of stability.

All of the Guardian Program’s clients have their basic needs met. You are helping people who are unable to help themselves. Your support makes a difference.

Help Betty and others like her

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