United Way Services of Geauga County rallied volunteers throughout the community to come together today, Friday, June 23rd for a Day of Action, which is an annual United Way event that mobilizes the caring power of volunteers to make a meaningful impact in communities around the world.
Almost 150 volunteers gathered at United Way Services of Geauga County, 209 Center Street in Chardon, to work on projects to help low-income children by focusing on literacy in our community. A critical aspect of a child’s success depends on learning how to read. A child with limited access to books may not have the opportunity to develop the skills to become an engaged reader.
“Upper and middle-income kids are at an advantage because their families can afford academic enrichments and their homes are usually filled with books. While low-income families do not have the access to these resources making it very hard for low-income youth to keep up,” said Kimm Leininger, Executive Director, United Way Services of Geauga County. “With the projects on the Day of Action we are making efforts toward bridging the gap by making sure all children have access to books.” Increasing access to books and summer learning – and working with schools, summer programs, employers and other nonprofits – is part of United Way’s strategy to help kids succeed in school, work and life.
“Some days you have to create your own sunshine.” Leininger said, “and today, even though it is raining, we will be creating a lot of sunshine for the individuals we serve throughout the community.” Right through the rain, with a DJ keeping the mood festive, volunteers built and painted 10 Little Free Libraries, assembled 300 Summer Backpacks and 100 Snuggle Up for Bed Time Bundles. Offsite volunteers worked on projects at WomenSafe, Santa’s Hideaway Hollow, Habitat ReStore, Red Tulip Project and a Book Sort at Caritas Financial in Chesterland.
The day culminated in an after party lunch where volunteers celebrated their accomplishments and talked about their experiences. “Thank you to all the amazing volunteers and sponsors who made the day great!” said Leininger as the day wound down. “We could not have done this without the support of our sponsors; Fairmount Santrol, Sport Rack, The Women’s Leadership Council of United Way Services of Geauga County, The Saturday Cheers Group, Moseman Law, LLC, Kinetico, ShelbySpear.com, Tracy and Bonnie Jemison, Chardon United Methodist Church, Home Instead Senior Care, First Federal of Lakewood, KraftMaid Cabinetry and Tarkett. A special thanks to DeNora Tech for letting us borrow their fabulous DJ – D Jay Huff Jr.!”
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United Way Services of Geauga County unites people and resources to improve the quality of life in our community by collaborating with local stakeholders to address community needs and providing support to local agencies. Our vision is to measurably improve the self-sufficiency of individuals and families in Geauga County.