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A CHILD who isn’t reading well by third grade or isn’t in a healthy, nurturing environment is less likely to succeed in school, or fail to become a productive member of the community.

A PARENT who can’t earn enough to support a family is more likely to get into debt or become homeless, and less likely to be a contributing community member.

A CHRONICALLY HOMELESS PERSON with mental or physical health conditions that are not managed and doesn’t get the help they need until they reach the Emergency Room, exhausts public resources.

The needs of our community are complex. For over 90 years, United Way has played a unique role: collaborating with other non-profits, government and community leaders to bring people together to solve tough problems.

United Way has invested $14 million since 2006 and will continue their efforts in the coming years. “Our goal is to create long-lasting changes that prevent problems from happening in the first place,” President and CEO Doug Sawyer tells Giving Back MAgazine.

Some of their efforts center on parent education: establishing positive interactions with children; creating safe homes; and providing job skills. They have also moved homeless individuals into permanent housing and improved the financial self-sufficiency of families who are working hard but falling short.

Last year, United Way began recruiting volunteer readers, tutors and mentors to involve everyone in the process of improving our children’s chances of success. “We must work as a community – Living United,” Sawyer added, “And when we do, we can accomplish anything.”

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