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United Way Elgin Middlesex
Because Of You, We're Changing The Odds

United Way celebrates impact of 2017-18 campaign

Boler Mountain, ON – United Way Elgin Middlesex celebrated a community full of opportunity at its first ever Impact Celebration on April 24 from 4:30–6:30 p.m. at Boler Mountain Chalet. The organization achieved the impact goals it announced last fall, thanks to the efforts of donors, volunteers and supporters of this year's annual campaign. Guests also received an update on London for All, the United Way-led initiative to end poverty in a generation, and heard from Tim Button, a participant in the Ontario basic income pilot project.

"We live in a world that equally distributes talent," said Kelly Ziegner, CEO, United Way Elgin Middlesex. "But we can't say the same for opportunity."

That's why United Way announced different goals last September, all focused on giving more people the opportunity to build a better life, right here at home. "This kind of impact isn't about a line on a thermometer," Ziegner continued. "It's about changing lives, one person at a time."

United Way brought together donor dollars, volunteers and partner agencies to achieve:

  • Goal 1: 16,000 counselling sessions to help 5,000 individuals move toward mental wellness
    • Issue – 1 in 5 of us will experience mental illness at some point in our lives
    • Impact – United Way invests almost $1 million in subsidized mental health counselling. Here's what some of that money did: Last year, Daya Counselling Centre and several other United Way funded mental health partners streamlined their intake process and reduced wait times by 14 days. This means people are getting help two weeks faster.
  • Goal 2: 10,300 spaces in after-school programs for vulnerable kids
    • Issue – 76% of kids spend the majority of their 60+ hours of after-school time watching TV, playing video games or reading. Just three hours alone puts a child at risk.
    • Impact – United Way invests more than a $1million in low-cost/no-cost after-school programs so that more kids get the opportunity to participate in quality activities. Evidence-based research proves that quality after-school programs work: Youth who meet with a mentor at an organization like Big Brothers Big Sisters are two times more likely to have high academic achievement and good connections with their peers.
  • Goal 3: Comprehensive funding for four community hubs that give high priority neighbourhoods easy access to crucial social services
    • Issue – 1 in 7 people in our community live in poverty, a rate that is higher than both the provincial and national averages.
    • Impact – United Way invests almost $500,000 at the Crouch, Glen Cairn, LUSO and South London Neighbourhood Resource Centres which provide access to crucial social services close to home. A family might come in for emergency food supplies and then join a parenting group while their kids attend supervised story time.
  • Goal 4: 325 round-trip rides to non-emergency medical and specialty appointments for rural residents who can't drive
    • Issue – While distance and limited public transit make travel harder in a rural community, lack of transportation makes it impossible to get to essential appointments.
    • Impact – United Way invests in almost $20,000 annually in transportation services like the West Elgin Community Health Centre's Gift-a-Ride program to help rural residents access healthcare, social services and recreation.

These goals represent four of the most pressing challenges facing Elgin and Middlesex Counties. United Way invests in long-term solutions that tackle many more. "Giving to United Way makes an immediate impact," Ziegner says. "Whether it's helping a family in crisis find support when they need it most, brightening an isolated senior's day, or providing a kid with access to the tools they need to succeed in school and life, United Way invests in programs that build a better community for us all - one person at a time."

In addition to being the region's largest funder of social services after government, United Way is also a community convenor. United Way is at the helm of London for All, a community-wide action plan to end poverty in a generation.

United Way's role is to facilitate the work of over 60 organizations and more than 160 volunteers to create long-term solutions and systems change. People with lived experience are included as key decision-makers at every level.

Wins so far include: 710 additional child care spaces, a new geared-to-income bus pass and establishing a living wage specific to London. United Way will provide a full progress report to City Council on June 30.

Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 April 2018 11:43:55 AM EST

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