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United Way of Mifflin-Juniata
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Community Impact
 

The United Way of Mifflin-Juniata supports 12 local programs and 3 initiatives in Mifflin and Juniata counties. Below are some partner agencies stories of how United Way dollars impact the community. These moving stories will help you understand the importance of the United Way and the impact the United Way makes in the community!

*Names in the following stories were changed to protect confidentially.* 



The Abuse Network

 A question we hear a lot from people is, “Why do victims go back?” or “Why do they stay?” There are many factors but the most noted reason is the financial burden on the victim to become re-established after leaving an abusive relationship. One such case is of a current domestic violence victim and her child. Our agency offered services to this individual over the course of many years, including a previous but brief stay in Hollister House, our emergency domestic violence shelter. Several month after her initial stay in our shelter, she called and asked to again enter shelter. She was admitted that day with her child. 

Upon entering shelter, agency advocates began working with her to address the many deficits that were barring her from gaining independence including safety planning, investigating resources such as housing, child care, assistance with transferring her current employment from a location in one county to another, transportation for her child to and from school, and counseling to address the trauma and after-effects of domestic violence for both she and her child using a specialized curriculum for victims of domestic violence. This client has been with our agency for about 60 days and we anticipate that she will be able to move into a new home within the next 30 days becoming self-sufficient and starting a new life violence-free life with her child.                 

Funding from our other resources provides for only a 30 day stay. It can be difficult to realize independence in this time frame when one considers the type of intensive services that are required to reach the very imposing goal of complete self-sufficiency and safety. It is thanks to the funds we receive from the United Way of Mifflin-Juniata that we are able to extend shelter stays to a time frame that is realistic in terms of the client’s ability to put the elements for independence in place. This survivor’s success was directly impacted by the extension she was granted through United Way funding.




 American Red Cross

In Spring 2017, Red Cross volunteers and staff installed free smoke alarms in Lewistown to residents and provided home fire safety education.  Just one year later, on April 5, 2018, we were notified of a 4-alarm fire on Shaw Avenue in Lewistown.  Nine residents were displaced when the fire ripped through three houses.  Red Cross volunteers responded within 2 hours to meet clients at the scene and provide immediate assistance.  As the Red Cross transitioned the clients into recovery, we provided items such as A-125 laundry detergent, which removes the smoke smell from clothing, as well as information and referral services through our strong network of community resources.   This story, along with many others, demonstrate the importance of working through the disaster cycle---helping individuals, families and communities prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters.



Compass Community Connections

Here is a summary of some of the positive outcomes we are seeing related to the Community Connections programs supported by the United Way of Mifflin-Juniata. Four recent high school graduates are successful employees in our local area. They all participated in our recreation and TNT programs throughout high school. One graduated last year with a job already in place during the last few months of her high school career. Another person transitioned to his second job that was more in keeping with his vocational goals. One of these graduates received the “Employee of the Month” honor at her place of employment. Most recently, another senior in high school obtained employment after going through the job assessment and development phases and graduated this year with a job in place. We currently have three individuals from our day programs who are also working or seeking employment.

We believe that the Community Connections program through the United Way of Mifflin-Juniata has been instrumental in helping us fulfill our mission and vision as a company. Some of these same former students serve in leadership roles for Aktion Club, a division of Kiwanis International. They serve as officers and are the impetus for a significant level of volunteering and giving back to their communities.   

Our goal in the next year is to implement a Supported Independent Living program to our repertoire of services funded by federal and state dollars. This should provide for a continuum of support for individuals who are NOW expressing a desire to not only WORK in their community but also LIVE independently in their community.  This will be the culmination of our work to support others in “Embracing their journey”. 

Diversity and inclusion are at the heart of what it means to LIVE UNITED.



Crossroads Pregnancy Center

Becoming a father can do remarkable things in a young man. Tim* is a young father who has custody of his son. He faithfully brought his son, Baby Gavin*, to Crossroads for the Bridges Program when Gavin was only 4 months old. Tim was already a good dad—putting his son first in everything and seeking help because it was the best thing for Gavin. Because Tim didn’t have a driver’s license or job, they were living with a friend’s family. Tim came to Crossroads every week to take the BRIDGES classes to learn more about how to be a good father and to learn how to care for Gavin. Tim first earned a crib and car seat. Father and son still came every week and earned diapers or clothes after they earned the large items. 

Tim’s Client Advocate watched with pride one day as Tim drove into our parking lot for his appointment, the proud new owner of a driver’s license. Tim now has a job. Our staff enjoyed teaching Tim about being a dad and have watched him grow more independent and responsible as his son grows as well. 

At Crossroads, we are not just here to serve women but men also. We know the important role that fathers play in their children’s life. In 2018, we not only served a total of 232 women but 35 men —some with their expectant partner and a few, like Tim, on their own. It is a blessing to see these men support their partners and children and make our program a priority for the betterment of their family.

Client Quote: 

“In being a young 17 year old girl finding myself pregnant, my biggest concern was not understanding myself and my issues yet. The night of finding out I was pregnant there was no shutting my mind down with the negativity and thoughts of being turned away and being rejected by my parents. I was feeling scared. I felt ashamed of myself and how I disappointed my family. 

 A few days after taking a pregnancy test, I talked with the staff person at Crossroads office and we made the appointment to come in to their medical clinic for the ultrasound to confirm the pregnancy. 

During this time, I was very emotional, concerned I would not be prepared for raising a child. Crossroads cared for me and my baby, prayed with me, loved me unconditionally and supported me with many teachings and experiences through the Bridges Program, allowing me to earn a beautiful crib and car seat for my baby.”


Fayette Area Lions Den

There was a young girl, Thea, who attended some of our summer camps this past year.  She was 7 years old and very shy.  Thea was very quiet at the beginning of the summer and only participated when called upon.  As the initial week and subsequent weeks went by, Thea was eager about the day’s events and was excited to join in on the activities.  She developed a bond with a few of the campers and one of the leaders.  We encouraged her and her foster family to keep in contact with those campers that she was drawn to and hope that Thea was able to continue those friendships as the summer drew to a close. With funding through the United Way of Mifflin Juniata, we are hopeful that other children will be able to attend our camps and emerge from their shell to find friendship and caring that will stay with them in months and years to come.



Juniata County Library

Working with young children at the library has many rewards. We get to see first hand as little ones' love for reading develops. One example of this has to do with a young girl who was around 3 years old when her mother started bringing her to our programs. This girl, C, was very delayed in her speech and did not talk when she was here.  Her mother was diligent in bringing her to story time, summer reading, and other visits to the library to check out books. She also read a variety of materials aloud at home with her daughter. As she continued to visit the library, C began to open up more, feeling comfortable to practice her speech with me. She would participate more in our story time programs by doing motions to songs and action rhymes.  She would try to answer questions I asked, but I needed her mom to translate. 

Now, C will be going to Kindergarten in the fall. She sings along with our songs and even adds commentary during story time. She is a regular visitor to my office to tell me about her plans that day or to tell me about what new books she and her mom are checking out. I know that regular visits to the library for books and programs have helped to give C confidence and helped with her speech and communication this past couple of years. 

The library is such an important place for families and our programs, whether they are story time, arts and crafts, or STEAM programs, all try to have a literacy focus and we who work here stress the importance of reading aloud to children at least 15 minutes a day.



Juniata Valley Council Boy Scouts of America

The one success story for the Juniata Valley Council comes from a Scout within the Juniata County Area. Jeffrey Smith comes from a single income family household and has a single sibling whom is also in scouting. Jeffrey joined scouting at the age of 6 as a Tiger in the Cub Scout Program. Jeffrey continues to stay through the program as he went to transfer into the Boy Scout Program. Throughout his childhood Jeffrey was a shy boy that kept mostly too himself, and did not have many friends. Through scouting, Jeffrey was able to form long lasting friendships with members of his Pack and Troop.

With coming from a single income family Jeffrey was able to utilize fundraisers such as the Popcorn Sale, as well as, camperships to fund his way to coming to the Summer Camp programs. Throughout his Scouting years, Jeffrey went on to earn over 60 Merit Badges ranging from First Aid to Robotics. Jeffrey demonstrated leadership skills that he learned throughout scouting serving as a Senior Patrol Leader within his unit. Jeffrey is currently finishing up his work on his Eagle Scout Rank, which is the highest rank within the Boy Scouts of America.

The Scouting program is also geared to getting youth out of their comforts. As stated prior Jeffrey was a shy youth, but through scouting Jeffrey learned communication skills and people skills. This translated into his school life as he became active within Marching Band, Chorus and various other Extra Circular activities. Jeffrey went on to excel in school and now holds 2 acceptances to Universities within the state, where he will major in a Health Care Field, in which he credits his time in Boy Scouts as an influence to his career choice.



LUMINA Center

In our afterschool program, we give children points based on attendance, cleanup, homework, cooperation and respect.  Based on these points, the children can earn prizes with the most points going on a special end of year trip. The end of year trip encourages children to attend the entire duration of the afterschool program, keep up good behaviors and do their homework consistently throughout the school year. We were once children ourselves and know that we did not always agree with adults.  We, too, learned to manage our emotions and reactions by receiving consequences for our behaviors. That being said, we do not begin to deduct points until the behavior goes beyond normal and unmanageable behavior. If those behaviors become worse, we then send the child home for a period of time and then bring them back.

We have a child that has been attending our afterschool program for at least 4 years now. The first year the child was here, they proved to be unpredictable. They would listen some of the time and do most of their homework. The second year they attended, this child’s behavior became significantly worse. Their cooperation level dropped to an average of 57% and homework completion dropped to a level of 62%. This child was sent home a few times during the course of the school year but always came back. During this school year and last, we have noticed a significant improvement. Cooperation has gone up to an average of 97% and homework has gone up to average of 86%. This child has become a real joy to have in our program and we look forward to seeing them every day. 

It would have been easy to give up on them the second year they were here. We could have replaced this child with another, a more well behaved child. I am so glad we did not do that. I believe building a relationship with this child and not giving up on them made a big difference. 



MidPenn Legal Services

When Kenneth received a notice that his home was being foreclosed upon, he called Help is on the Line.  The attorney reviewed paperwork and found that the mortgage lender was proceeding within the law.  The attorney explained how the foreclosure process worked.  He also gave Kenneth his options including, how to file an application to the Homeowners Emergency Assistance Program (HEMAP).  HEMAP is a loan program to prevent foreclosure. Kenneth applied to HEMAP and was approved. Using the knowledge gained through Help is on the Line, he was able to save his home.



Mifflin County Library

The families who attend story time at Mifflin County Library truly love the experience of bringing their children. Parents/caregivers will talk to staff about how much their child loves coming to the library for story time and that at home the child will “play” story time with other family members or stuffed animals. One mother who attends story time with her children at the Kish branch in Belleville is so pleased with the benefits that her children have reaped from story time that she invites all of her friends and family to attend as well. Just through this mother’s word of mouth and praise for the library programs, the attendance for one program alone has doubled in size.  



NuVisions Center

Recently a lady applied for help to get glasses and was thrilled that her copay came to only $90.00. If she had to pay for them herself, with all the problems her lenses were addressing-severe myopia, astigmatisms and the need for prisms due to a stroke, she would have had to pay well over $400.00 and therefore would not have been able to afford them. Her new glasses corrected her double vision caused by the stroke as well as her refraction errors and gave her back the ability to drive and read. 



Paul W. Delauter Youth Center

Johnny is an autistic fifth grader who started going to the Paul W. Delauter Youth Center in September. The first night Johnny went to the Dealuter Youth Center he was very quiet and did not talk to anybody except his aide. He did not participate in any of the regular activities with the other youth but instead kept to himself and shot basketball alone. Johnny continued to attend the youth center every Tuesday night. Eventually, he developed an interest in what the other youth were doing. You would find Johnny in the same area as the other kids moving up and down the court as a basketball game took place. After a few more visits, Johnny started to participate with the other youth. The other kids would shoot basketball with him during free time when a game was not in play. You could see Johnny became more comfortable with the other youth as he began to converse with them. 

In as little as three months, Johnny progressed to the point where he actively participates in basketball, dodge ball and volleyball. However if you ask Johnny, he would tell you basketball is still his favorite thing to do at the Delauter Youth Center. The other youth really accepted Johnny and allowed him to shoot the ball without blocking his shot or even guarding him. Johnny will now hold conversations with the other kids and is usually the first one to volunteer to pick the teams. Now, Johnny partakes in all the activities at the center even though his skills are not as developed as the other kids. Johnny has really branched out of his comfort zone and is willing to try other activities such as ping pong, shooting pool and simple crafts. When the Delauter Youth Center is getting ready to close for the evening, Johnny often wants to stay past closing time to shoot basketball. 

Since Johnny’s involvement at the Deluater Youth Center, Johnny’s social development skills have improved in the classes he attends at school. The Delauter Youth Center continues to impact Johnny’s life and many other local youth.



 
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