The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

October 12, 2013

United Way helping others in community

By Mark Ohnemus
The Clinton Herald

---- — ‘Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

This proverb sums up what most people believe. It is possible to sustain someone for a short time by supplying their needs, but if people are taught skills, they have the opportunity to support themselves for life.

But what if you are developmentally disabled and cannot put bait on a hook in the same way as others? Perhaps you are so hungry that you cannot focus on just where to cast your line. You may not have a safe place to leave your infant so that you can go find the fishing hole, or maybe you are not in good enough health to walk across the fields and get there.

United Way of Clinton County strives to improve life for many by supporting programs to address health and education, as well as temporary financial assistance.

United Way of Clinton County supported programs help 8,500 people every year to have healthy life choices for recreation, social activities and diet. Good health is a foundation for success at work, at school, and at play. Without good health, adults cannot work and children struggle to learn.

Funded programs range from scholarships for recreational youth sports programs to domestic violence shelters.

United Way of Clinton County invests in children so that they have an opportunity to learn and grow into successful adults. One way United Way of Clinton County, Iowa helps is by supporting programs giving access to early learning opportunities for children who would not otherwise have them available. Economically disadvantaged children enter kindergarten one-two years behind in language and other skills. Through these types of programs, school readiness skills are provided to over 300 preschool-aged children. Other supported programs range from scouting and youth mentoring for at risk kids to educational and social activities that build and retain skills for developmentally disabled.

Temporary assistance is often needed to meet an individual’s or family’s basic needs, such as food, shelter or clothing. For a family on a limited budget, temporary assistance can be the bridge to get through an unexpected crisis such as a major car repair or an unexpected health issue.

Without that bridge, jobs are lost, school is missed, and people lose the opportunity to be successful and secure. United Way of Clinton County-supported programs include agencies delivering emergency food, shelter, clothing and information resources. Information resources help those in need with the things many of us take for granted such as having all of the documents required to apply for work.

There are people in our area who truly need a hand up to be healthy, happy and responsible members of our communities. If you would like to help, the United Way of Clinton County is one way to do that. Your contributions will be combined with others to support programs that have a proven record of success.

No matter how you would like to support others, please get involved; even if it is just to take someone who matters to your fishing spot. Please generously give to United Way of Clinton County this fall.

Contact United Way of Clinton County at 242-1209 or email uwclinton@iowatelecom.net. Also visit the website at www.clintonunitedway.org.

Mark Ohnemus is the first assistant campaign chairman for United Way of Clinton County.