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The United Way has long been an advocate, partner, and resource for many programs through the Boys & Girls Clubs of Muncie.
This month we sat down with Jenni Marsh and Jim Flatford from the United Way of Delaware, Henry & Randolph Counties to learn more about how and why the work they do in our community is invaluable. Each year the United Way funds local programming that is focused on education, health, and financial stability for families in our county. This year’s annual campaign is presenting unique challenges in the face of COVID, but they are committed to continuing their support of the organizations in our community.
Q: The United Way has a long history of supporting organizations in our community. Why do you continue to support organizations like the Boys & Girls Clubs of Muncie?
A: We are so lucky to have such strong community organizations to partner on serving families and children in order to help the community reach its goals. The Boys & Girls Clubs is helping to keep kids safe, on track with school, and building resilience. We are proud to support three programs at Boys & Girls Clubs.
Q: How important are the programs to the community?
A: We turned outward to the community to learn what their hopes and challenges are. We heard from folks from all walks of life that education was their greatest hope and challenge. They wanted the best for their kids, grandkids and future employees. We paired this public knowledge with expert data and research which shows the single greatest predictor of a child’s success is their ability to read at grade level by the end of their third grade year. This is the time when children transition from learning how to read into students who read to learn. Failure to make that transition, makes school that much harder for kids. In order to meet the community’s identified goals around education, United Way has built a coalition of partners to support children, families, and teachers in making sure kids are reading at grade level. We are funding programs that help ensure kids are born healthy, have quality childcare, and are on target with learning goals. We fund programs which help remove barriers and empower success. When there’s a gap in services, we develop and deliver programming to meet the needs until another partner can carry that work forward. We want to work with partners in the community to walk alongside parents and families as they work to make sure their kiddos are reading at grade level.
Q: You are getting ready to start your annual campaign. What does that look like in the year of COVID?
A: We would love to raise as much money as we did last year, but we know that will be a hard goal to hit. The reality is that COVID is putting a financial strain on all families. We expect that families who regularly give may not be able to do so this year. We are committed to give our partners the same funding as in previous years. As a community, we will have to flex different muscles to support one another.
Q: What other messages can we help deliver for you?
A: We want families to know that we believe in them and support them. United Way is here to help as they traverse the challenges of COVID-19 and making sure their kids are successful in school and life.
Your gift to the Clubs can mean so much for our members. Please consider a monthly gift.