Giving Three Cheers for Teachers!

Teachers – they’re part of our lives from kindergarten to graduation, ready to fill our heads with knowledge. May 4-10 is “Teacher Appreciation Week.” At the United Way of the Bradford Area, one of the things we advocate for is a great education, a reason why we fund agencies and programs dedicated to teaching. Those agencies most associated with a traditional learning environment are CARE for Children, YMCA, Growing with Grace Preschool, and the Strengthening Families program.

But all of our funded agencies are invested in teaching, in one way or another.

Prevention-based programs at Alcohol and Drug Abuse Services focus on positive, healthy choices and empower local schoolchildren. Staff and volunteers at the McKean-Potter Counties Chapter of the American Red Cross receive training for the disaster relief program, which enables them to better serve the community in times of distress. Activities and resources are available for older residents at the Greater Bradford Senior Activity Center and the Bradford Ecumenical Home/Chapel Ridge.

The Bradford Landmark Society and the McKean County Historical Society take us on a journey to the past, lecturing us about our region throughout the years.

Individuals with disabilities are engaged members of our community – working, building socialization skills, or participating in healthy competition – thanks to Dickinson Partial Hospitalization Program, Futures Rehabilitation Center, and McKean County Special Olympics.

CASA of McKean County, Catholic Charities, Children’s Advocacy Center of McKean County and the Family Center focus on making sure children are listened to and protected, and model healthy behaviors for their program participants.

Providing activities is important for the Bradford Youth Hockey Club, Girl Scouts of Western PA, and McKean County 4-H, giving children an opportunity to learn teamwork, hone their skills, and have a safe place to socialize.

Destinations Bradford, YWCA, and the Family Center have educational programs to teach skills their clients can implement in their everyday lives.

So, not only do we appreciate all of the educators in our local schools, but we’re thankful for those who may not be considered teachers, who play an important role in our community. Those teaching our children make learning fun and school a safe, productive place. The employees and volunteers at funded agencies educate community members on available resources and programs. All are involved in expanding the knowledge of everyone in our area!

 

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First Disbursements Made From Smethport Campaign

Officials at the United Way of the Bradford Area saw a large increase in the number of applicants, but were able to fund 10 organizations through the first round of allocations from the 2013 Smethport Campaign for United Way.

“We are happy to see such an increase in applicants, because that means that organizations are recognizing that funding is available again from Smethport solicitations,” said Executive Director Mandi Wilton Davis.  “Although the decision-making process becomes much more difficult, we’re are excited to be able to expand the impact of our donors’ dollars through some excellent programs and services.”

The recipients are: Alcohol and Drug Abuse Services, Inc. – “Too Good For Drugs” program in Smethport schools;  Children’s Advocacy Center of McKean County – Program Materials; Hamlin Memorial Library – Summer Reading Program; McKean County CASA – Program Funds; McKean County Cooperative Extension – Donald J. Comes Natural Resources Learning Center; McKean County 4-H – Overnight Horse Retreat; McKean County Historical Society – Program Materials; Smethport Memorial Recreation Center – Pool Maintenance and Equipment; Smethport Senior Center (c/o Elder-Berries Club) – In-floor Heating & Insulation; and YWCA Bradford – Victims’ Resource Center.

The Smethport Campaign for United Way was successful in reaching its $10,000 goal, which will go directly back to eligible agencies and programs in the Smethport area through three rounds of funding during the calendar year. The remaining deadlines are July 1 and October 1. For more information, or to receive an application,  email admin@uwbanews.org or call the United Way office.


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11 Agencies to Receive Funding

The United Way of the Bradford Area is able to continually add agencies and programs to its list of funded recipients, thanks to the quarterly Community Innovations funding stream. This past quarter, officials at the United Way saw an increase of requests from new and past applicants.

“Being able to fund 11 programs – four of which had not received funding previously – in the second-quarter of the Community Innovations funding process is a testament to the impact of our donors’ generosity,” said Marcia Avey, UWBA board member and Community Innovations committee chair. “The United Way of the Bradford Area now funds 41 programs through 22 agencies, which impact our entire community.”

The recipients are: Bradford Landmark Society – Crook Farm school program; Bradford Youth Hockey League – AED heart device; CARE for Children – crib safety program; Chapel Ridge – 5th annual senior health and wellness fair; CASA of McKean County – program funds; Children’s Advocacy Center of McKean County – program materials; Dickinson Mental Health – summer outing; Growing with Grace Christian Preschool – program materials; McKean County Cooperative Extension – program materials; McKean County 4-H – school enrichment programs; and McKean County Historical Society – art program.

Local non-profit, 501(c)3 agencies may submit a request for up to $1,500 per quarter.  The Community Innovations funding category supports programs independent of those benefitting from monthly allocations that have the potential to impact the local community. The deadline for third-quarter applications is July 1, 2014.

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Thank You For Giving Your Time

This week is National Volunteer Week and is about recognizing people who seek out ways to be active in their communities, and encouraging community members to be at the center of change. National Volunteer Week coincides perfectly with the announcement of the Red Feather and Excellence in Representation award recipients. On May 1, at the Red Feather Volunteer Recognition luncheon, we will celebrate Lisa Minich, Tom Miller, Ashley Peterson and Mike Walter for their impact on the United Way of the Bradford Area.

Her involvement in the United Way annual campaigns, participating in special events, and coordinating the KOA Speer Electronic workplace presentations made Lisa a great candidate for the Red Feather award. Tom, Ashley, and Mike were passionate about speaking to workplaces on the importance of giving to the United Way campaign, and how it affected their lives through working at Futures Rehabilitation Center, a United Way funded agency.

Of course, we would be remiss not to acknowledge the many other UWBA Champions who lend their time and expertise for special events, service on the board of directors, and participation in the annual campaign. Whether you give a few hours at the Pig Roast/Clam Bake, or spend several months with us as a campaign co-chair or workplace presentation coordinator, your involvement helps make the UWBA an even more community-oriented organization. That’s exactly what National Volunteer Week is all about!

Along with Lisa, Tom, Ashley, and Mike, our many other volunteers – with their passion, fortitude and kindness – are ambassadors for the importance of volunteering.

 

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2014 Red Feather Volunteer Recognition Luncheon

The United Way of the Bradford Area will be acknowledging four exceptional volunteers at the 2014 Red Feather Volunteer Recognition Luncheon on Thursday, May 1 in the Mukaiyama Room at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford.

The Red Feather award was implemented to honor outstanding individuals and/or businesses who have made an impact on the United Way of the Bradford Area, and the local community as a whole, through their day-to-day selfless attitudes and commitment to exemplifying the organization’s mission of enhancing the quality of life in the greater Bradford area.

This year’s Red Feather recipient is Lisa Minich, who is being honored for her contributions to the United Way of the Bradford Area throughout the years.

The Excellence in Representation award was created to recognize an outstanding agency representative who best exemplifies United Way’s mission within their organization, who participates in the annual campaign, and possesses a working knowledge of United Way and how it benefits the various programs and services in the community.

Three volunteers from the campaign’s Speakers’ Bureau will be honored with the Excellence in Representation award this year: Tom Miller, Ashley Peterson and Mike Walter, representing Futures Rehabilitation Center. Tom, Ashley and Mike spoke to over 300 employees at 25% of workplace presentations about the importance of giving to the United Way campaign, and how their lives are affected through working at Futures, a United Way funded agency.

Alongside their friends and family, community members will celebrate Lisa, Tom, Ashley and Mike for their continued support and volunteerism at the Red Feather Volunteer Recognition luncheon. The United Way of the Bradford Area staff and board of directors are pleased to recognize these deserving individuals for their commitment to the organization.

 

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Lisa Minich To Receive 2014 Red Feather Award

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The United Way of the Bradford Area will honor Lisa Minich with the Red Feather volunteer award at a luncheon on Thursday, May 1, officials announced today.

“Lisa is the perfect example of ‘once they’re in, they’re in for life,’ said Executive Director Mandi Wilton Davis.  “She began her volunteer efforts as a member of the campaign cabinet back in the mid-1980’s, and when family and work obligations required her to step back from her campaign involvement, she remained a constant advocate.  She re-joined the campaign cabinet in 2011 as co-chair of the Leadership Division, which this year saw a 17% increase in contributions,” said Davis.

The Red Feather award was implemented to honor outstanding individuals and/or businesses who have made an impact on United Way, and the local community as a whole, through their day-to-day selfless attitude and commitment to exemplify the organization’s mission of enhancing the quality of life in the greater Bradford area.

Minich, a Bradford native, started her career with KOA Speer Electronics in 1989 as a Programmer/Analyst and has held positions of I.S. Manager and General Manager.  In 2012 Lisa was named Vice President of Operations and Logistics, a position that exemplifies her strong work ethic and leadership skills.

What initially drew her to the local United Way is what continues to drive her efforts today; giving back.  “Growing up one of eight children, I learned early on the value of hard work and sacrifice.  My parents never let our financial struggles overshadow the importance of helping others,” said Minich.  “My dad, who recently passed away at the age of 93, was the most selfless person I knew.  He was and continues to be the driving force behind my desire to make a difference in the Bradford community.”

Minich also serves on the board of the YMCA and is Chair of the Y’s Annual Campaign, and is also Team Captain of KOA’s Relay for Life team and a member of the 2014 Leadership McKean class.

Steve Williams, President of the Board, said this honor is well-deserved. “Lisa has been – and will continue to be – a tremendous advocate and contributor to the successes of the local United Way, and we, as a Board, are appreciative of her commitments.”

“I’m blessed to be at a point in my life where I have the time, energy and resources to give back to the Bradford community at a leadership level,” said Minich.  “Bradford is a town with many needs, but also a town with big hearts. I’m proud to live in a community where so many come together to make a difference in the lives of others.”

Minich resides in Bradford, and has two adult sons, Brian (Megan) and Dan.

The Red Feather luncheon will be held in the Mukaiyama University Room at the University of Pittsburgh Bradford, beginning at 12:00 pm.  The cost is $25 per person, and reservations may be made through April 21st by calling Mandi Wilton Davis at 368-6181 or emailing mandi.davis@uwbanews.org.

Three To Receive Excellence In Representation Award

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Futures Rehabilitation Center clients Tom Miller, Ashley Peterson and Mike Walter have been selected as the United Way of the Bradford Area’s 2014 Excellence in Representation honorees.

The trio were part of the Speaker’s Bureau for the 2013 campaign, but have long-been volunteers and advocates for the local United Way.

“I am so happy to be able to recognize my three friends with this honor,” said Executive Director Mandi Wilton Davis.  “Between them, they spoke at 25% of our workplace presentations, and were able to tell their personal stories to more than 300 people.

“Everyone to whom they spoke walked away with a better understanding of not only the relationship between Futures and the United Way, but the importance of continuing to give to the annual campaign to ensure that they and their peers could continue their jobs at the workshop.”

Tom, who is a Bradford native, has been at Futures for 44 years, and has been a member of the Speaker’s Bureau for the past five.  “A favorite memory of mine was going to Control Chief Corporation, and seeing that giant Indian headdress that hangs on the wall,” he said.  “That thing blew my mind!”

For her part, Ashley says she enjoys public speaking, and it’s something she’s been good at for quite some time.  She is currently a resident of Lewis Run, and has worked at Futures for nearly six years.  “I’ve been giving speeches since I was in high school, so this is a lot of fun for me,” she said.

Mike, also a Bradford native, has been at Futures for 25 years, and has been a member of the Speaker’s Bureau for the past 18 years.  “I’m very proud to be part of the United Way and to go out and give the message about Futures and the importance of having a place like this for people with disabilities to go out and earn a dollar.”

The Excellence in Representation award was created to recognize an outstanding agency representative who best exemplifies United Way’s mission within their own organization, who participates in the annual campaign, and possesses a working knowledge of United Way and how it benefits the various programs and services in the community.

The Excellence in Representation award will be given at the United Way’s annual Red Feather Volunteer recognition luncheon on May 1st.  Reservations may be made by calling the United Way office.