United Way program to help 'at-risk' children

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The United Way of Southeast Missouri on Monday announced the allocation of funds raised during its 2005 campaign themed "Show Me The Money." One emphasis this year has been on directing funds toward local family issues, said United Way assistant director Marla Mills.

In 2005, the organization exceeded its goal of $1,050,000 by more than $50,000. All the money raised during the campaign has now been allocated except for $145,669, which will be allocated this spring.

Recently the United Way has promoted a pilot program called the Family Support Initiative, in which local organizations pull together to help at-risk children and other family-related issues. Much of the money to be allocated this spring will be directed toward at-risk children, Mills said.

"We've been working very hard to target more family issues. We have people out in the field to study the issues," she said. "Our goal is to bring community organizations together."

Bringing those organizations together to collaborate addresses the area's needs better "than just treating the symptoms," Mills said. "We need to get to the core issues."

She said in the future people will see more and more family issues serviced by United Way campaign funds.

Most of the funds were raised during October and November 2005, though people may still contribute.

"It's important for us to be able to come back to our donors year after year and tell them their contribution has been invested in a way that will have the most return," said Larry Dunger, president of the board of directors.

There are more than 1,400 local United Ways in the United States alone. The United Way of Southeast Missouri serves Cape Girardeau, Perryville and Bollinger counties. Approximately 40 area organizations will receive funding from the recent campaign.

Mills said the people and area businesses involved have been supportive of their communities and have lived up to the "Show Me the Money" theme.

"We are just really excited about the direction that we are moving, not only with the local agencies but with the whole community," she said. "People are working together to help solve problems."

aweeks@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 137

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