Back-to-school time creates an excitement in the air, doesn't it? I have felt it the past couple of weeks. It caused me to think about a message delivered by Dr. C.J. Huff, superintendent of the Joplin School District, at our annual meeting in May. He explained that he always knew schools were a significant part of any community, but not truly did he understand how important until a big part of his community was destroyed and many of his students were affected by that destruction. He realized -- immediately -- how important it was for him to commit to reopening the schools in his community on time that fall. It did make a difference -- and is still making a difference.
On behalf of the board of directors of the United Way of Southeast Missouri, I offer a sincere and heartfelt thank you to all of our area teachers and school administrators who work tirelessly for the sole purpose of educating our youth. We have come to realize how difficult that job has become due to things beyond their control. It has allowed us to fulfill our mission of uniting people with resources to build a stronger and healthier community -- family by family.
As we kick off our 2012 campaign, we invite you, members of our community, to find your role in our work. Perhaps it's through giving, or advocating, or volunteering -- or all three. The fact is that our community benefits from your involvement. Join us in our work. Call me at 334-9634 to get involved.
NANCY JERNIGAN, executive director,
United Way of Southeast Missouri, Cape Girardeau