Resolve At United Way Of Wyoming Valley To Address Childhood Poverty Strong As Ever
Did you make one and are you keeping it so far? I don’t know about you, but for me, try as I might, New Year’s resolutions never seem to stick. Whether I resolve to eat better, exercise more, do some traveling, read more, procrastinate less, or any other personal self-improvement goal, in time, my motivation wanes and my good intentions are quickly forgotten. Apparently, I am not alone. According to a survey of those who made resolutions last year, more than 80 percent gave up on them by mid-February. Of course, self-discipline and holding ourselves accountable is hard. If the things we resolve to do were easy, most of us would be thinner and richer and there wouldn’t be a need for nearly as many self-help books, personal fitness trainers, and therapists of all kinds. I gave up on grand New Year’s resolutions years ago. These days, when something really needs to change, I just try to set very modest personal goals to just do a little bit better than I have in the past. Currently, I am trying to eat more fruit and less M&Ms. I am not sure how that is going to work out, but occasionally, I actually succeed at something worthwhile! As challenging as resolutions can be for me, our resolve at the United Way of Wyoming Valley to address childhood poverty in our community couldn’t be any stronger. Impoverished and at-risk children face many challenges and problems that become barriers to reaching their full potential. Included among the United Way’s priorities are strategies to improve high school graduation rates, increase grade level reading proficiency, improve the quality of early education, and reduce the rate of child abuse and neglect. Each of these creates opportunities and removes barriers to a better life. I am very excited that our work is really expanding. Last year, in partnership with five school districts, we created the Nurse’s Pantry program to help children with immediate needs that might otherwise keep them out of school. All of our reading initiatives grew to serve more children and our efforts to bring awareness of child abuse and neglect captured a great deal of attention. The United Way of Wyoming Valley is passionate about helping children and I believe this passion and our progress are resonating with our donors. About a third of the dollars we raise comes from employees of local workplaces. For the first time in five years, this portion of our campaign saw a significant increase. The support we receive, of course, funds the programs and services that advance our mission and I am truly grateful for the generosity of thousands of area donors. Donors are seeing their dollars make a difference and I would like to believe that behind every decision to provide a financial gift to the United Way is a genuine sense of kindness, caring, and love. Dorothy Day, the social justice advocate and founder of the Catholic Worker Movement once said, “Love and ever more love is the only solution to every problem that comes up.” Kids throughout our community face many issues. Kindness, caring, love, and ever more love, will truly help to solve problems and improve lives. As the new year begins, we all can find things that we want to do differently. Self-improvement resolutions are challenging for many of us. If you really want to better yourself and the community, focus on the things that really matter…kindness, caring, love, and ever more love. These are the resolutions worth keeping. May they stick! Happy New Year to all. BILL JONES is president and CEO at United Way of Wyoming Valley. He can be reached at 829-6711 ext. 1230.