Tuesday, April 9, 2019
The blaring of the ambulance siren as it leaves the station was my alarm clock, gas bills were calculated by the gallon, all my belongings were within an arm’s reach, and showers were only taken when I could find somewhere to bathe. This is what life was like living out of a cramped, mid-sized sedan.
Tuesday, April 2, 2019
Kat had two physically-demanding jobs, no transportation, and a complicated relationship with her family. Plus, she was pregnant. It was my job to make sure she had the support and resources she needed to give birth to a healthy baby.
Tuesday, March 26, 2019
Usually at United Way we hear, “Well, I’m not really interested in policy and advocacy, because I’m not a political person.” Our reply is: “That’s great, because we aren’t political either!” United Way’s golden rule is that ‘politics’ do not equal ‘policy.’
Tuesday, March 19, 2019
I came to school at 18, and to keep the story short, didn’t go back home. That was an important year for me, as I transitioned into the individual I was in my mind and heart. This was an isolating process for me.
Tuesday, March 12, 2019
Looking at my sweet son Jamile pretending to be superhero as he “flies” across the lawn, one would never suspect he has a learning disability. Yet he does. And, if anyone understands what this hurdle is like it’s me...
Tuesday, March 5, 2019
I had believed that part of our lives to be forever behind us. Believed that a thing like arriving home one day to find your abusive ex waiting for you was the stuff of movies… But I was wrong.
Tuesday, February 26, 2019
Tonya was worried because she knew they did not have the funds to pay for a personal tutor at school. She had to think about utility bills, house payments and food, yet she knew Josiah’s education was also a top priority. Then she found out about The LEARNING CLUB® of Toledo.
Tuesday, February 19, 2019
This is a call to take a more in-depth look at organizations doing excellent work to protect the people, places and animals we love. They’re fighting every day for our rights, our environment and our well-being; our donor dollars are what make that possible.
Tuesday, February 12, 2019
Together, we packed up the few belongings we had and traveled cross-country, arriving in Toledo on New Year’s Eve, ready for a fresh start. Step 1: look for jobs. Step 2: call United Way 2-1-1. In fact, that’s how we found La Posada Family Emergency Shelter...
Tuesday, February 5, 2019
Many of my students come to me with some version of the same statement: “I don’t know how to solve this.” What they’re really saying, though, is that they don’t know where to start. That’s what holds back most average students—they just don’t know where to begin.
Thursday, January 31, 2019
This job is not an easy one, but it is rewarding beyond measure. It is an honor to be invited into the lives of survivors, during their most vulnerable and difficult times. It is an honor to share their stories with you today.
Tuesday, January 29, 2019
I opened the bottom drawer of my desk, where I kept some of my extra school supplies, like pencils, pens and notebooks. In August, this desk was full to the brim, but, by the time December hit, it was nearly bare.
Tuesday, January 15, 2019
The tax preparer made one last calculation on his computer and turned the monitor to face me. My stomach immediately dropped. After their tax preparation “fees”, I would receive a refund check about half the previous amount.
Monday, December 10, 2018
This year, United Way celebrated its centennial anniversary, launched a new blog, assembled foster care kits and packed thousands of backpacks for students in need (to name a few.) Since 1918, when we began as the Toledo War Chest, then the Community Chest, to what we are today: we are 100 years strong because of your unwavering support.
Monday, December 10, 2018
I’ve always dreamed of owning my own home. Yet, when Michael, my husband of 30 years passed away, that dream felt shattered. Michael and I had spent countless hours talking about the day we would buy our very first home together and now, that day would never come...
Wednesday, December 5, 2018
“How do you tell two toddlers Daddy’s home because he lost his job, Mommy’s gone because she had to get a part-time, seasonal job to help make ends meet, and there may be no money for Christmas presents this year…”
Thursday, November 29, 2018
Grandma use to be my rock. She kept me grounded and made me feel safe and loved. Yet gradually, her health began declining. As I got older, I started skipping class to stay home and take care of her. I was ready to just give up and quit school and then I met Trevor...
Monday, November 19, 2018
My mom works second shift, so my younger siblings and I are on our own most of the time. She has mandatory weekends, but even the overtime never seems to make a difference. I see the way she looks at the checkbook every two weeks after she gets paid – I cannot fathom asking her for extra money so I can eat at school.
Thursday, November 15, 2018
Growing up, I frequently helped out at my hometown’s community pantry. Every experience there allowed me to build new perspectives. Years later however, I had let this part of me slip away. I knew it was time to recommit as a volunteer, but how could I get involved?
Monday, November 5, 2018
His teacher continues talking, making attentive eye contact, which always makes me a little nervous. I hear the words she says and I nod my head, though, I comprehend very few of them. What I can understand and what I do hear is our son’s name.
Wednesday, October 24, 2018
They say that knowledge is power. At least that’s how I felt when I first really got into reading. The world was at my fingertips as I ripped through each page, hungry for more, soaking up every word. My mind couldn’t keep up with my eyes as they flew across the text.
Monday, October 15, 2018
Today, my classroom was bustling with cheerful students, yet, glancing around the room, I paused when my eyes landed on Tommy--hiding in the far corner of the class, his face sad and distant...
Wednesday, October 10, 2018
“But what makes a story great?” asks the docent. She looks at me, my head full of stupid ideas of a girl and her dog walking in the woods at night. My hands are clammy, my face is red, my heart is racing.
Tuesday, October 2, 2018
Angela died of heart disease at the age of forty. Far too young to leave us just yet. Like me, she had diabetes ever since she was a child. We always talked about getting healthy, but, our busy lives placed barrier after barrier in our way to actually start exercising and eating right.
Thursday, September 27, 2018
It was getting chilly. Fall was upon us. Pretty soon it would be too cold for Jacob to play out in the backyard every day. Next year he would be in kindergarten, but for now it was up to me to keep his mind occupied during the afternoon hours.
Monday, September 24, 2018
“Well…” he continued, “I also don’t want to get my new khakis dirty. These are the only pair I have and my mom already said it’s the only ones I’ll get for a while.” I just stood there, stunned. I didn’t really know what to say. Honestly, that hadn’t even crossed my mind.
Tuesday, September 18, 2018
Alex and I’s journey together had been a tough one to say the least. When I found out I was pregnant, my parents kicked me out of the house. I was just a freshman in college at UT and had no idea how I was going to support myself and a newborn baby.
Tuesday, September 11, 2018
When we first started living together, before the engagement, we’d have disagreements here and there, but it never escalated further than that. Not long after I said “yes”, his verbal outbursts would lead to a slap or hit.
Tuesday, August 28, 2018
My teeth...they’re, well, crooked to say the least. On top of that, my gums are always so swollen and in pain, which is the biggest distraction throughout the school day. That’s if you don’t account for the distraction of my classmates who constantly tease me about it.
Wednesday, August 22, 2018
I’m a Girl Scout, or, as we say when we meet: a G.I.R.L. — Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader. I’ve said this phrase over and over again, but never realized the impact of these words until the day I met Marah...
Monday, August 13, 2018
As a child, using trash bags to transport my things made me sad. Even though I knew I would be taking the bag with me, it felt like my things were just garbage and that they didn’t matter. It made me feel like I didn’t matter.
Thursday, July 26, 2018
Our budget was already tight, now the outrageous cost of childcare had threatened to make my return to work impossible. Then, my friend told me about the STARS - an educational based after-school enrichment program. It seemed like a perfect financial fit for us, but would it also fit our girls’ needs...
Tuesday, July 24, 2018
I browsed each career station from a distance, like a window-shopper at the mall. Then, something across the room caught my eye and took my breath away. Memories of one of the most difficult moments of my life began to flood my mind...
Tuesday, July 17, 2018
There are certain details I recall about my dad from when I was younger. But, my most vivid memory is more of a dream. I’m standing on a dock in Port Clinton, staring out at the rough waters on a stormy day, waiting for him to show up to take me out on the lake again...
Tuesday, July 10, 2018
This was all so new to Angela and me. We had two boys before Ethan; both born at full-term. We were truly operating in uncharted territory. “There could be some developmental effects as well,” the doctor said. “Things like physical development and communication. But these are things we won’t know until Ethan grows and becomes a little older.”
Tuesday, July 3, 2018
I looked at my son in the rearview mirror. Relaxed and peaceful in the comfort of sleep, perhaps the only place he truly felt safe anymore. What had he been through that week? No... further back than that… what had he gone through even before his mother had disappeared with him was unthinkable.
Wednesday, June 27, 2018
Ready to extinguish the campfire, Rian noticed a boy sitting on a nearby log. He was drawing shapes in the dirt with the stick he’d used for roasting marshmallows. Looking at the boy, he felt like he was looking at his own reflection when he’d first joined Cub Scouts...
Thursday, June 21, 2018
Grace was determined to set her children up for academic success, but could not get over the high cost of school supplies. With three school-age children and a little one on the way, she joins the thousands of parents in the community facing the same challenge.
Wednesday, June 20, 2018
No matter what North Toledo was going through, the Club felt like a beacon of hope. It may sound silly, but, just the Club itself was such a well-kept facility. It was something every neighbor appreciated and loved.
Wednesday, June 13, 2018
When Claire’s mom relapsed - having her in the home of a loving family member was the best case scenario. But, this is certainly easier said than done. Claire’s closest relative, her aunt, soon discovered she was in a difficult financial situation. She didn’t qualify for government subsidies and she also couldn’t afford Claire’s childcare fees on her own.
Monday, June 11, 2018
All Kay wanted for her son, Tyrell, was to have time to be a kid. Sometimes that is easier said than done, however, the Schools as Community Hubs strategy can add an important layer of support…
Friday, June 8, 2018
I always thought about what I liked to do when I grew up. But I never really thought about where I’d like to work? There was something really cool about walking through a workplace and seeing how their job was so interconnected to the world around us.
Wednesday, June 6, 2018
“If I can do it, you can do it.” Mary silently thought as she looked at Savannah’s face filled with worry. She knew she could do this, because beyond the worry, she also saw a small and growing spark of desire—to beat addiction and find her own purpose.
Monday, June 4, 2018
With the baby in her arms, she ran to the neighbors across the street. By the time they made the 9-1-1 call, their entire home was up in flames. Even standing 50 yards away, the blaze was scorching.
Monday, May 21, 2018
Sometimes when I’d walk up a flight of stairs, I would trip or miss a step. I’d hear people whisper about how clumsy I was, which hurt my feelings. If only they understood how much I struggled to see...
Monday, May 14, 2018
It’s the news no parent wants to receive: your child was the victim of sexual abuse. Even worse, at the hands of someone close, right under your nose—an uncle, an aunt, a family friend, or in this case, someone even closer...
Monday, May 7, 2018
Working more than 40 hours a week should provide you with the great life you’ve always wanted, right? That’s not the case for Ken and his wife...
Monday, April 30, 2018
What’s a mother to do when she discovers her young daughter is being abused by her grandfather, whom they also live with? Sometimes, being homeless is better than the alternative...
Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Brianne’s head was filled with thoughts like: “I have nowhere to live. I can’t afford healthy food for my children. I can’t keep a job because I don’t have a car…” Yet, the only words she could articulate were: “I just want my kids to have a good life.”
Monday, April 16, 2018
Elaine’s husband came home from work in a rage, as he usually does. He often physically lashes out, but this time, he didn’t just strike her once or twice… in all honesty, Elaine couldn’t really remember how many times he hit her.
Monday, April 9, 2018
Anton had been in and out of homeless shelters, struggling to cope with his mental illness. He seemed determined to deal with it alone. If only his caseworker at St. Paul’s could convince him to get help...
Monday, April 2, 2018
In the past, Yvonne had called United Way 2-1-1 for food pantries and other assistance, but never for anything this drastic . Could 2-1-1 help her family with nowhere else to turn?
Monday, March 26, 2018
Cecilia couldn’t fully understand what the nurses were saying. Why weren’t they letting Ramon see his doctor? As she walked out of her son’s doctor’s office, she could no longer hold back the tears...
Monday, March 19, 2018
Barrier after barrier, Kirstin fought for her financial independence with the support of Financial Opportunity Centers.
Tuesday, March 13, 2018
In 1918, the First World War was finally over and across the globe, countless communities began to rebuild. And in this same year, a collective group of business owners, religious clerics and community advocates, came together with an idea. In their small, drafty downtown office, they brought an extraordinary vision to fruition…