As individuals we all want to believe that we have reached our goals and achievements by doing it by ourself. But if you dig deep, you realize that somewhere along the way, you had help, encouragement and someone who believed in you. This support may not have been as obvious as a teacher, coach or parent. You may have been lifted up by a friend, neighbor, boss or a stranger that shared their belief in you.
Nobody can do it alone and neither can one organization or community. At the United Way of North Central Iowa, we fight for the health, education, and financial stability of every person in our region. Change doesn’t happen alone; the United Way forges unlikely partnerships to find new solutions to old problems. We find every dollar we can to address these problems and grow partnerships to find the strategies to get there.
The United Way of North Central Iowa is currently having conversations around our region to discover what issue(s) are the most critical. We are working together to find strategies that cause significant change, making our region a better place to live. A lot of us are fortunate and don’t realize the unseen struggles that many of our community members face every day.
There are a several of examples of need; many which involve children; those who have no choice in their situation. Children who are helpless and need the community to rally around solutions that will improve their lives. Solutions also include the parents, who are trying to survive and make the choice between feeding their family or paying rent. These families have been doing it alone, without the support that many of us have taken for granted. Without support and guidance, these issues can spiral and the children suffer:
• 19.82 percent of our region’s children don’t have enough food to eat.
Going to school hungry affects a child’s ability to learn:
• Nearly 25 percent of the United Way of North Central Iowa region’s 4th graders reading skills tested below proficient. Poor readers are four times as likely to leave school without a diploma.
And when children struggle they feel helpless:
• 17 percent of local eighth grade youth have made a plan about how they would commit suicide and 71 percent of those who make a plan actually attempt suicide.
Another key population in our region that need support are the aging population:
• 20 percent of our region’s population is over the age of 65, with 28 percent of the senior population working, yet still can’t make ends meet, known as the ALICE population (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed). That means an estimated 7,000 seniors in our region are struggling.
This isn’t about a hand-out, but a hand-up, a way to make our community stronger by helping those who are the foundation of our community.
United Way of North Central Iowa has kicked off our 2017 Investment Campaign. By investing in the United Way of North Central Iowa your money stays local going to address critical problems faced by our residents. Bringing together your investment of time, money and voice, we can make a difference. We are asking for your financial support to strengthen our network of funded programs that are working to move the needle forward on issues facing north Iowa. United we can fight against the critical issues, United we win with solutions. To live better, we must Live United.