Barton and Pawnee County residents,
My wife Karisa and I were very hesitant about being cochairs for the United Way when we were asked earlier this year. I speak for both of us when I say it was one of the best decisions that we have made.
I know for myself, I have always had skepticism about nationwide organizations and how much they really benefit our communities here in rural Kansas. They will always say X amount of money stays locally, or X number of citizens will be affected by your donation. I think, especially in smaller communities such as ours, it is hard to believe these claims.
I can tell you firsthand when the United Way of Central Kansas tells you that 99 percent of the donations stay locally, they mean it! It is amazing what this group of people have been able to do and fund for our community.
Just to name a couple of UWCK’s community impact programs that really impress me:
- Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library – This program provides books to children ages 0‐5, FOR FREE. These books include lessons for the parents to help their children learn and get started reading.
– Reality U – This is a program that UWCK has done with multiple schools in the area now. Students take a short quiz regarding what they want their life to look like when they grow up. Do they want to be married? Have kids? What type of job do they want? Reality U then determines how much they will be making and their life situations at 26 years of age. The student are then given a list of life necessities and go from booth to booth to decide how they are going to budget their money. For many of these kids it is their first time having to see what all is involved in providing for a family and how making a proper budget can affect their lives.
Check out this link online for all of the impact programs and more details on the ones I listed above: https://www.uwck.org/community‐impact‐programs
UWCK not only puts on impact programs like above, but they also help fund many community partners.
Before getting involved with United Way I was aware of many of these partner programs and the good they do for our community, but I had no idea of United Way’s involvement. A few of the programs that UWCK has partnered with that are impacting our community include: Central Kansas CASA, Family Crisis Center, Meals on Wheels, and Intermediate Intervention Programs. Here is a link to the rest of the programs UWCK has partnered with: https://www.uwck.org/member‐agencies.
I cannot help but get a little emotional talking about the United Way when people ask how my experience has been. The people involved with UWCK sincerely care about this community and do everything they can to make Barton and Pawnee Counties a better place to live today and in the future.
I can promise you that any donations that are made to UWCK directly impact our community in a huge way. If you want to contribute to UWCK visit www.uwck.org and click on Donate or you can send in your donations to 1125 Williams, Great Bend, KS 67530.