Opinion: United Way needs your help

Volunteer or donate today.

  • Wednesday, January 8, 2020 7:00am
  • Opinion

Did you know that United Way of Southeast Alaska actively mobilizes volunteers and donors to address critical issues that challenge communities across the region? Each year, we depend on over 150 volunteers and almost 500 donors to positively impact the lives of individuals throughout Southeast Alaska. Without you, we would be unable to achieve our mission of strengthening and improving the health, education, and financial stabilities of all individuals throughout Southeast Alaska.

However, for young professionals like myself, knowing how to get started with volunteering or where to give can be challenging. That’s where United Way makes a really big difference. Through United Way of Southeast Alaska’s annual workplace giving campaign, we hope to inspire a new generation of young professionals to become philanthropists and community leaders, effectively distributing time and capital within their local community.

Did you know that small regular donations can add up to make a significant difference? For example, one dollar per week provides meals to five individuals in a shelter; five dollars per week covers the cost of two campers at scout camp or provides a safe environment for a month for an individual experiencing domestic violence; ten dollars per week provides activities for five seniors.

United Way uses these funds to support over partner agencies that are focused on improving lives and communities throughout the region. Our partner agencies are focused on education and early childhood development, financial stability, overall health of Southeast Alaska and basic needs assistance to residents. These partners agencies range from hospice care in Haines to social services in Sitka, youth initiatives in Ketchikan to senior centers in Juneau and family programs in Petersburg, not to mention various community organizations serving the region as a whole, such as the Girl Scouts, the Boy Scouts and Big Brothers Big Sisters.

However, United Way does not just raise funds for the partner organizations; it also directs funds to specific immediate needs. For instance, this year United Way of Southeast Alaska partnered with the Juneau Community Foundation, the Juneau School District, and others to offer free breakfast for all students in elementary and middle school. Students can now begin the day not having to worry about where they will find their next meal and can now focus more on their learning.

In Juneau, United Way also hosts an AmeriCorps program, a national service program focused on improving lives and fostering civic engagement, in cooperation with Serve Alaska and the Corporation for National and Community Service. In shorts, AmeriCorps members have committed to a year of service to address critical community needs such as connecting homeless families with a place to stay, promoting and providing inclusion of individuals with disabilities, conducting youth groups with at-risk youth, providing family engagement events, and connecting teens with internships at non-profits.

United Way is dependent on our communities to realize change in Southeast Alaska. I encourage you to make a lasting impact year round with a payroll deduction or a onetime gift to help us build stronger communities and enhance the quality of life for everyone in Southeast Alaska.

Start early.

More information

To learn more about United Way and its 34 partner agencies, visit www.unitedwayseak.org or call (907) 463-5530. For more information about the Workplace Giving Campaign, visit www.unitedwayseak.org/campaign. To donate online or pledge monthly payments through your credit, visit www.unitedwayseak.org/donate. To volunteer, visit getconnected.unitedwayseak.org.

• Jennifer Treadway is Board Chair of United Way of Southeast Alaska. Columns, My Turns and Letters to the Editor represent the view of the author, not the view of the Juneau Empire.

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