United Way of Portage County
4th Quarter Newsletter - November 2021
United Way Campaign Kickoff
Unite at the Drive-In!
We kicked off our 2021-2022 Campaign at the Midway Drive-In on October 6th. The family-friendly event featured a short video of United Way accomplishments throughout the past year, a reverse parade of our community funded partners, free snacks, fireworks, raffle baskets, 50/50, and a choice of a movie. The Kickoff welcomed over 75 cars and over 150 attendees

UWPC partners with over 40 programs to provide services to families and individuals throughout Portage County. We fight for the health, education, and financial stability of every person in our community. United Way helps to ensure children are successful in school, that families have enough food to eat, and that every person has access to health care. We are local, serving our community to improve the lives of our neighbors. We need your help to continue to provide these much-needed services.
News from the CEO, Bill Childers:
Announcing our New Mission and Vision Statements
United Way of Portage County is pleased to announce its new mission and vision statements, adopted recently by our Board of Directors and rooted in our commitment to the betterment of the community:

Mission Statement: We unite people with resources to improve the quality of life of families and individuals in Portage County.

Vision Statement: A Portage County where no resident is without food, no child is without tools to learn, and no one is without access to care.

A mission statement is central to an organization - succinctly explaining its purpose in a way that resonates throughout the entire community. The mission serves as an expression of United Way's values and beliefs. While the vision statement provides inspiration and describes where we ultimately want to be as an organization.

Meet Our 2021-2022 Campaign Chair
United Way of Portage County announced Craig Holcomb of Davey Tree Expert Company will lead the United Way campaign effort with a goal of raising $700,000.

United Way is fortunate to have Craig lead this year's campaign. He has a strong personal commitment to improving the community and helping people.

Holcomb said this year's marketing and outreach efforts will tell the transformative stories of everyday people whose lives have been changed by organizations that receive United Way support. Last year, Davey Tree and their employees were the top workplace campaign, raising more than $87,000.

United Way isn't about short term charity - it's about lasting change. This is our home and our community, and what we do for others matters. We must be UNITED for Our Community!

You can direct your contribution to one of the action areas- Education, Income and Health - or choose all three. As always, we will also process a restricted contribution to qualified 501(c)3 organizations.

You can make change happen. United Way needs people who are passionate about better education, income and health to stand up and make a difference.

United Way and work with volunteers and local nonprofits to develop the best opportunities for youth, busy working adults and seniors.
Partner Events

11/13/2021 - 8am-1pm -Drive Thru Flu Vaccine Clinic @ Student Run Free Clinic at NEOMED

11/13/2021 - Habitat for Humanity Bi-Annual Gala @ NEOMED

11/14/2021 - Girls on the Run Fall 5k @ Cleveland Metropark Zoo

Week of 11/15/2021 - Center of Hope and Kent Social Services Thanksgiving Distribution

Week of 11/15-22/2021 - Children's Advocacy Center Bowl Against Abuse Virtual Basket Raffle @ this website

12/15-16/2021 - Center of Hope and Kent Social Services Holiday Distribution
Thank You to our Campaign Kickoff Sponsors!
Community Impact
Volunteer with United Way
Have you checked out our new volunteer page? On this platform, you can view needs and upcoming events of many of our partner programs in the area that serve Portage County every day. You can “fan” your favorite agency and be notified automatically of any new opportunities and log your volunteer hours. Become a bronze, silver or gold volunteer based on your activity on the site and volunteer hours recorded. To learn how to navigate the site and make the most impact in the community click HERE.

If you are a nonprofit in need of volunteers, please reach out to Maureen Gebhardt at maureeng@uwportage.org or 330-297-1424. Your organization can create a page to request volunteers for your programs and projects year round!
Calling All Reading Role Models
Our Reading Role Models are back in the schools reading this year. The program brings together community members and Portage County kindergarteners. Current elementary schools involved are Brimfield, Kent, Rootstown, Suffield and Windham. Our Reading Role Models read at the schools for half an hour. If you are interested volunteering, multiple dates through the year are available at the following times:

  • Brimfield Elementary: 9:30am
  • Katherine Thomas Elementary (Windham): 10:35am and 10:50am
  • Longcoy Elementary (Kent): 2:00pm
  • Rootstown Elementary: 10:00am
  • Suffield Elementary: 2:25pm

Easily sign up to become a Reading Role Model by using our VOLUNTEER PLATFORM
Ohio Governor's Imagination Library (OGIL)
The Ohio Governor's Imagination Library program in Portage County is a collaboration of UWPC, Reed Memorial Library, Kent Free Library, and the Portage County Library District. This program championed by Ohio's First Lady, Fran DeWine, is designed to improve the literacy rates of the youngest Ohioans.  Currently there are over 2,800 children registered in Portage County.
Registered children - birth to age five - receive a new book each month. Research has shown that a child with 25 books in their home completes an average of two additional years of schooling compared to their peers without books in their home  The goal of this program is that every kindergartener begins school with 60 books in their home.
To register your child go to: https://www.uwportage.org/imagination-library

If you wish to sponsor one or more children to receive books, please contact Julia Colecchi at 330-297-1424. Only $13 per child per year!
Resource Development
2021-2022 Campaign is Up and Running
July 1st launched the 2021-2022 new campaign season and our new campaign theme - UNITED for Our Community and a $700,000 campaign goal! The UWPC workplace campaign unites employees in all offices and branches of a company, and gives them an opportunity to easily donate, through payroll deduction, volunteer for local agencies and community service projects, and speak out for causes that matter to them. You can become a part of a larger mission and see the difference you make in the community. To learn more about workplace payroll deduction campaigns, visit our UWPC Campaign page.

Outreach is currently beginning to re-engage UWPC's existing partnerships. If you are an existing corporate partner who would like to get your workplace campaign started, please contact Julia Colecchi, Director Development and Marketing, at juliac@uwportage.org or 330-297-1424 Ext. 3

Ways to Give
Visit our website
Text UNITEDPC to 44-321
Scan this QR code
Special Events
Be on the look out for updates about our Bowling Fundraiser and our NCAA Tournament Fundraiser at Ray's Place in Kent!
Our Community Funded Partner Programs
Center of Hope
The Center of Hope continues to serve hot meals, pantry services and personal hygiene items. Center of Hope is dedicated to enhancing the nutrition of low-income people in Portage County where local food pantries are not present. They typically serve 75-100 individuals per day. Opportunities for socialization, cooking classes and referral services are also offered. A $15 gift card donation can provide families an opportunity to buy milk, eggs, etc. that the pantry may not have. Volunteer Opportunities: Office, Pantry, Kitchen. Call 330-297-5454 if you're interested in volunteering.
Kent Social Services
KSS provides a meal 5 days per week, as well as groceries 5 days per week to those in need in Portage County.
Along with Center of Hope, KSS is having a Thanksgiving Food Drive - items include boxed stuffing, boxed mashed potatoes, green beans, corn, gravy, macaroni and cheese, turkeys between 10-13lbs and more! Donation are being collected until November 5th.
Volunteer Opportunities: drivers to deliver senior boxes the 2nd Tuesday of every month.
Junior Achievement of North Central Ohio
Junior Achievement’s mission is to inspire and prepare young people to succeed. The inspiration piece comes from community volunteers who not only deliver our lessons, but share their experience. In the process, these volunteers serve as role models helping to positively impact young people’s perceptions about the importance of education, as well as critical life skills. Last year, JA served 14,450 students in 15 counties with the help of 117 volunteers. Volunteer Opportunities: in need of local entrepreneurs to volunteer in an entrepreneurship class at Ravenna High School this year. The class meets from 12:47pm-1:27pm and the commitment is a minimum of two times in the classroom.
Kidney Foundation of Ohio
The Kidney Foundation of Ohio provides direct financial assistance to patients suffering from renal (kidney) disease that enables them to receive their lifesaving medications and treatments. The organization also provides supportive services, professional education and community programs for those in our community. A $50 donation enables kidney patients to afford gasoline to attend their lifesaving dialysis treatments for a month. To learn more, visit kfohio.org
Children's Advocacy Center of Portage County
Since 1998 the Children's Advocacy Center (CAC) of Portage County has provided critical, evidence-based, holistic, free services to children, youth, and families navigating the trauma of child abuse. The CAC offers holistic services for the entire family including: crisis intervention, education, referrals, safety planning, medical examination, lab testing, forensic interview, hard-copy and virtual resources, therapy referral, court education, notification of hearings, help with victim impact statements, and court accompaniment, ongoing support, case management, and more. Learn more on their website.
Girls on The Run
GOTR is a confidence-building program for girls in 3rd through 8th grade. The Girls on the Run fall 5k will be held at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo on Sunday, November 14th. Online registration only through Friday, November 12th. Event is not competitive and not timed. Fun for the whole family! The Event information and registration can be found here.
Volunteer Opportunities: GOTR is currently accepting application for volunteer coaches for the Spring 2022 season. All training and materials are provided. No experience necessary. Information and applications can be found here.ext
Big Brothers Big Sisters
Big Brothers Big Sisters provides children in Portage County facing adversity with strong and enduring, one-to-one mentoring relationships. The organization is currently searching for both children who can benefit from their services and volunteers to wish to be a Big Brother or Sister. To sign up, visit their website.
King Kennedy Community Center
King Kennedy offers Tutoring, support for homelessness, parental or personal drug use, mental health services, children services involvement, independent living skills, criminal justice involvement, GED referral, and help with parenting. A donation of $50 would cover at least 6 meals provided at the after school tutoring program. King Kennedy is currently look for sponsors to help complete the upgrade of the new multi-facility building - contact Myia Sanders at 330-296-9957 for more information.
Family & Community Services
F&CS is celebrating 80 years of service this year! F&CS is an umbrella organization that provides housing, emergency shelter, food assistance, clothing assistance, mental and behavioral health support, senior support, volunteer and mentoring opportunities, tutoring and community center support, consumer credit counseling, veteran support, domestic violence support. There is a wide range of volunteer opportunities - fill our their volunteer form here.
Student Run Free Clinic at NEOMED
The Student Run Free Clinic at NEOMED provides primary medical care to the uninsured and underinsured of the surrounding communities of NEOMED. Chronic Disease management, wellness and prevention, behavioral health, laboratory testing and minor procedures are also offered at the clinic. The clinic is staff by volunteer medical, pharmacy and physician assistant students, in addition to volunteer doctors and pharmacists. New patients are being accepted. Clinics are open most Saturdays of the year and appointments are required. Call 330-552-7080 to schedule!
Townhall II
Townhall II provides comprehensive substance use disorder counseling, treatment, and Medication Assisted Treatment. The organization also has a 24-hr Helpline and a continuum of victim services (advocacy and counseling). Stay tuned for more information on a 50th Anniversary Celebration in early 2022.
Volunteer Opportunities: Training provided for volunteers to work on the Townhall II Helpline or being a Victim Advocate. Interns and practicum students are also accepted in the counseling department.