The United Way of Marion County’s 78th annual campaign officially kicked off on Thursday, September 18th. The event, in conjunction with Marion Area Chamber’s Business After Hours, was hosted by Marion Public Library. The theme for the campaign is “UN1TE: It takes just one person to change one life. Be the ONE.”
United Way 2014 Campaign Chair, Diane Watson, announced that the organization had set a goal of $1,000,000, which will be used to support 18 local agencies who provide 33 different programs in the areas of education, income, health, and safety net.
“All of us want Marion to be a thriving community, where we can raise our kids and see that they are well educated, get good jobs and lead healthy lives,” explained Pam Stone, Executive Director. “As a means to make those changes through long-term improvements in education, income and health, we must have funding to invest.”
The 2014 Pacesetters, Marion City Schools and the Marion Public Library, each had representatives at the event.
Assisting Campaign Chair, Diane Watson, is Gary Iams, who is serving as Vice Chair. Others acting as division leaders are Troy Ruehrmund, Logan Markward, Charlie Long, Becky Worley, Del Duffy, Steve Badertscher, Diane Glassmeyer, Robert Forry, and Dan Wigton.
Watson noted that “United Way is working to create a community where all individuals and families can achieve their potential through education, financial stability and healthy lives. I am honored to be able to lend my support to United Way of Marion County, and to help mobilize the caring power of this community to improve lives right here. United Way is a significant example of how all of us, working together, can achieve great goals.”
Pam Stone added, “It takes more than money to build a better community, though. It takes people who care.”
United Way Assistant Director, Kelly Garrett noted, “People want to be a part of the great work that United Way gets to do every day with its Agency Partners. That’s why we created the Unity in Community annual volunteer projects. This year, we especially wanted to focus on the Let’s Read 20 initiative – ensuring all children from birth through elementary school spend 20 minutes a day reading and helping to put books into the hands of kids that might not have any otherwise. To do that, we’ve recruited over 70 volunteers to read with students in Kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade.”
Shary Williamson, local author of The Woodland Elves book series, was on hand to sign copies of her books. “What an honor to work with United Way as they focus on the importance of reading both with and to children. I am excited to be one of the many enthusiastic volunteers who will be going into classrooms to make personal connections with Marion’s children. What a great opportunity for us to MOTIVATE and INSPIRE children to read. I hope the influence of our one hour together will be long-term and durable.”
Williamson continued, “The Woodland Elf team is happy to be part of this venture. We are donating a copy of The Woodland Elves to each elementary school library in all of the Marion County school districts. It gives us a chance to further promote literacy and share both the importance and the joys of reading and writing. This is such an incredible example of TEAMWORK throughout Marion. Thanks, United Way, for leading this effort.”
United Way’s campaign continues with events at the Eco Center, the Buffalo Wild Wings Wing-Eating Contest at Grant Middle School, and the Halloween Boo-Tacular at bluefusion entertainment.
For more information on the United Way of Marion County, please call (740) 383-3108 or visit www.unitedwaymarion.org