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Up to Date with United Way- January 2021

• Featured, News, Uncategorized

While 2020 was certainly a year fraught with worry and fear of the unknown, it was also a year that provided us a monumental opportunity for growth and change. This past year, amid a global pandemic, our community came together and showed up in a way that has encouraged all of us and shown us that we can truly do anything if we are united.  
We were fortunate enough to be able to call upon dedicated volunteers that graciously served as campaign chair, cabinet members, and loaned executives and worked tirelessly to make sure that our community was provided for. The words, “Thank you!” simply are not enough to express our gratitude. We certainly could not have done it without you.  
The 2020 United Way campaign is currently at 98% of its 7-million-dollar goal. That 2% is enough money to continue funding integral agencies in our community looking to make the futures of children brighter, provide homes and food for the homeless and hungry, and help prevent child abuse and neglect. Please help us reach 100% of our goal – we know we can do it!! Visit unitedwayofthecv.org to donate today. 
On February 25, 2021 at 12:00 PM we will host our campaign thank you celebration. While we wish we could gather together and see all of you in person, this will be a virtual event. Please join us as we thank and acknowledge all the hard work that was done by our volunteers and the outpouring of financial support for our community by our generous donors.  

Strategies

Community Schools United

Community schools is both a place and a set of partnerships between schools and community resources focused on creating equitable opportunities for children and families. Children, especially those living in poverty, carry a lot of baggage. It can be very difficult for them to focus on school if they’re hungry, experiencing fear, physical pain and psychological distress. All of these things interfere with their ability to learn. This strategy links schools and communities in need with both system level partners and grass roots organizations to help the whole child thrive by providing pipeline services that work together to remove barriers to learning. With over 8000 community schools across the nation, we are very excited to bring this strategy to the Chattahoochee Valley with our first site launching at Dorothy Height Elementary School. Read more about Community Schools United.

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The Basics

80% of brain growth happens in the first three years of life. During this period, skill gaps between socio-economic, racial, and ethnic groups become clearly apparent. Research shows that everyday interactions between children, their parents, and other caregivers can provide abundant opportunities to give every child a more equal start in life. The Basics Chattahoochee Valley is a regional initiative launched in 2019 by a group of committed individuals and organizations working to make sure every child gets a great start in life. It is under the vision of our community strategic plan – Columbus 2025 – to increase prosperity, reduce poverty, and improve the quality of life for everyone, even the newest citizens to our region. We are working with a broad range of institutions to ensure that every parent and caregiver is fully supported by family and friends to use the Basics practices in everyday life. Currently, we engage with healthcare, early childhood education, and community partners to train providers and families on this critical initiative. Some of our recent activities include partnering with the Springer Opera House’s Theatre for the Very Young to incorporate The Basics into a live stage performance for parents and young children, as well as ongoing workshops for pediatricians in the community to help communicate the important benefits of The Basics at well child checkups. Read more about The Basics.

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Point In Time Count

Every year, Home for Good, along with many other volunteers and Partner Agencies, conducts a survey to assess the number of people in our community who are experiencing homelessness. This count helps us understand who in our community needs our help. We use this information to continue our work to end homelessness in the Chattahoochee Valley. We will conduct this year’s Point In Time Count on February 16 and February 17. We will carry out the shelter count on February 16 and the unsheltered count on February 17.

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Book Donations

Volunteers are needed to help build the home libraries of students at United Way Community Schools United. For more information on Community Schools, click here. Key indicators in whether a child is successful in school is the access to books in the home. Studies have found that children with greater access to books and other print materials express more enjoyment of reading and academics. On average, children in economically depressed communities have 0-2 age-appropriate books in their homes. Donations of new or gently used books for ages 4-11 years (Grades PreK-5th) are appreciated. To schedule a donation drop off, please fill out this form. Click here to email any questions.

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211 and Community Needs

It’s Tax Time again! 211 is here to connect low-income families to resources in our community that will ensure they get the most out of their income tax returns. VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) is a program that prepares and files taxes for families and individuals for free (income restrictions apply) and My Free Taxes (www.myfreetaxes.com) is an online tax tool that allows families and individuals of all incomes to electronically prepare and file their Federal and State tax returns for free. Last year 69 volunteers prepared more than 4,500 tax returns at Goodwill of the Southern Rivers with more than $6M being returned to our community. Simply dial 211 or 706-405-4775 for more information on how you can get your taxes done for free.

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