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Our Blog

Best of 2018: Reflecting on our Community’s Story

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.

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Finding Tomorrow: The Long Road To Financial Freedom

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...

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Letters To Santa: Sorting Bills at the Kitchen Table

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…”

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A Path to Success: Finding Potential From A Big Brother

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...

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The Fight for Food: Struggling to Make Ends Meet

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.

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Regaining Perspective: The Value of Volunteering

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?

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Let's Read Together: Overcoming Language Barriers

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.

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Turning the Page: The Power of Reading and Mentorship

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.

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Emotional Anxiety: Seeing Through The Eyes of a Child

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...

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Call On Me: Speaking Up and Sharing Your Story

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.

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A Better Way: Living Healthy through Reading

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.

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Waiting by the Window: Building a Child's Love for Reading

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.

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Eyes Wide Open: Taking the Classroom Outside

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.

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A Mother’s Dream: Removing the Burden of Costly Childcare

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.

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Finding Freedom: Getting Connected to Legal Help

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.

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Smiling Again: How Dental Care Changed a Young Man’s Life

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.

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Standing Up: Keeping a Promise and Being a Leader

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...

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A Child’s Dignity: The Difference a Foster Care Kit Can Make

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.

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A Place to Belong: The Impact of Affordable, High-Quality Childcare

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...

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When Dreams Collide: Exploring Career Possibilities

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...

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Rough Waters: Navigating Life’s Challenges to Keep Families Connected

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...

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An Early Arrival: Pacing Hospital Rooms to Playing at the Park

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.”

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Reflections of Fatherhood: Facing the Past with the Support of our Community

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.

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Coming Out of Your Shell: Finding Confidence from Camp

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...

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No Small Thing: A Back-to-school Story

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.

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There’s Still Hope: Not Giving Up on our Communities

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.

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Lost and Found: Financial Challenges in Accessing Quality Educational Childcare

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.

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Hubs: A Four-Letter Word, Changing Student Lives

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…

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It Can Be Done: The Positive Power of Community Partnerships

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.

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Finding Purpose: A Story of Addiction and Support

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.

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When Everything Turns to Ash: Rebuilding Families After a Disaster

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.

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Shared Vision: A Little Creativity can Bring a lot of Clarity

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...

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Taking One Day at a Time: Supporting Our Most Vulnerable Victims of Abuse

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...

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Racing the Clock: A Father’s Struggle to Provide

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...

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A Safe Home for Janie: A Mother’s Fight to Protect Her Daughter

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...

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Answering the Call: A Family's Struggle with Long-Term Housing

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.”

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Breaking Free: Helping Victims of Domestic Violence Start Over

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.

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A Step Forward: One Man’s Pathway Toward Health and Housing

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...

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When There’s Nowhere to Turn: Coordinated Entry through 2-1-1

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?

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From Tears to Triumph: How Legal Services Support Better Health Care

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...

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Unlocking Possibility: Achieving Financial Stability through Financial Opportunity Centers

Monday, March 19, 2018

Barrier after barrier, Kirstin fought for her financial independence with the support of Financial Opportunity Centers.

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When We Unite as One

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…

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