In my role as the CEO of the United Way of Burlington & Greater Hamilton, I see the incredible needs in our community every day. Instead of being depressed by what I see, I find myself hopeful and encouraged by the good work that so many organizations are doing. I’m privileged to be part of an organization that empowers transformational local programs – the United Way of Burlington and Greater Hamilton.
Our job is to serve as an efficient umbrella organization in our community. We strive to engage individuals and mobilize collective action to generate funds for individuals and families in-need in both Burlington and Hamilton. Donor dollars raised are allocated to local agency programs that bring much needed help and support, consistently and fairly, with proven performance and results.
This year, we have selected three priority areas to invest in and support. They are:
- 1. Moving people from poverty to possibility
- 2. Inspiring healthy people and strong communities
- 3. Helping kids be all they can be
By providing funding to 133 programs through 73 agencies in the Burlington and Hamilton communities, we support programs where funding is otherwise not available, providing services to seniors, individuals, families and children – many of whom live below the poverty line.
Families & individuals at risk of becoming homeless or are homeless due to limited or no income are provided with food assistance, legal aid, information on housing, employment, training, education, counselling, credit counseling, crisis intervention, and access to recreational activity. By supporting basic needs, we are able to improve client’s emotional and physical well-being, moving them from crisis to stability.
Seniors are offered programs and supports such as: meals on wheels, friendly visiting, vision loss counseling, recreational activities and training regarding independent living skills.
These services recognize and build on individual strength – the foundation required for independent, healthy living and future success, enabling seniors to live longer in the comfort of their own homes.
Children and youth in our community are provided with an opportunity to access healthy food through breakfasts, snacks and emergency meals. Recreational activities, homework assistance, and computer access programs are also offered to help kids reach their greatest potential. These programs enable youth to engage in safe and supportive environments, where they experience new opportunities, overcome barriers, build positive relationships and develop skills for life.
The communities of Burlington and Hamilton are full of positive momentum. Each city is in the midst of a developmental boom, in which the faces of these communities continue to change and grow. With this change grows our collective hope for a brighter future during this next chapter. Young professionals, businesses both small and large, organizations and everyday citizens are becoming invested in their communities, and are actively involved in bringing about this change. The United Way of Burlington & Greater Hamilton is an active member in this development and provides tangible ways to become involved in changing the face of our communities.
‘Give, volunteer, act,’ a key message of our 2011 campaign illustrates how simple it is to become involved; donate, volunteer and take action with the United Way and create the change you wish to see in your community.