During 25 years of involvement with United Way, Sean Vicente has changed a lot of lives. But the one he is most proud of transforming is his own.Read More
The Power to Change a Life
Joining to network, now giving with heart
Jess and Tim McCulloh started giving to United Way through their workplace at the same time they started their careers. Next, they joined the Education Leadership Initiative before they were married with a desire to network and grow professionally. Today, as leaders in their companies, they are the ones asking others to give back and are helping lead the direction in which United Way’s dollars are invested in the community.Read More
Debra Harrison was having a bad few months. First, she lost her job as a truck driver. Then she was close to losing her apartment in Pennsylvania. Then her mother passed away after a long and difficult illness.
Next came a call from Des Moines.
She says, “I got the news that my daughter had been shot and killed by her soon-to-be ex-husband.”Read More
Through health issue, Syrian mother finds new hope
A Diploma for Mom
Cecelia Fink wants to be the parent her son, Ezequiel, age 1, looks up to.Read More
Leaving a legacy through planned giving
Jem Gong-Browne is slowly working toward becoming a United Way Tocqueville Society member, being able to donate $10,000 a year, but she has already left a legacy of giving that will last forever.Read More
A Book Buddy celebration for this first-year volunteer
Deb Bremser volunteers to read with four-year-old students at two child care centers during the school year. Here she shares her Book Buddy experience:
When Isaac and I first started reading together as Book Buddies, he didn’t enjoy the experience.Read More
How Many Books Could This 4-Year-Old Carry?
A preschooler's life is changed by United Way of Central Iowa's Book Buddy program, where volunteers read with 4-year-olds twice a week and the students receive a copy of the book each Friday.Read More
Coding leads refugee high school student to college scholarship
Three years ago, if you’d asked Bonito what he wanted to be when he grew up, he’d have said professional soccer player.
When he wasn't at school, the 10th-grader was playing soccer and hanging out with his friends. If soccer didn't work out by the time they graduated high school, their families' would likely encourage them to find a job and get married.Read More
The Power of High School Girls
The middle school girls clustered up on the starting line in their matching purple T-shirts. They had been practicing for weeks, running around and around the block. When the 5K began, the girls took off, but this was no normal race.Read More
Refugee, graduate, future nurse
Tara still talks about her graduation day with excitement three months later. As everyone filed out of the auditorium and her family waited to take photos outside, Tara stayed, holding onto the moment.Read More
Real Men Never Stop Reading
Books were once the exclusive domain of men. As recently as the 19th and early 20th century, women in this country were discouraged from reading, and some were not even taught or allowed to go to school.Read More
Hurricane survivors get taxes done for free
Six months ago, Hurricane Maria ripped through Puerto Rico with winds up to 175 miles per hour. The storm upended Soleil's life. Fortunately, another Maria was there to help her get back on her feet.Read More
Stacie didn't realize she was a victim of domestic violence. But by September of 2017, Stacie had gone from a happy mother of two and a registered nurse to a homeless meth addict who had lost her nursing license and custody of her kids.Read More
The Friendship that Saved a Family
Lisa has many lessons to teach her four children.
There’s 13-year-old Solomon—smart but anxious, excited about marine biology. 11-year-old Gabriel loves to read and helps around the house with a smile. Isabella, 7 years old and the only girl, is stubborn and independent—an artist and fashionista. The baby of the family—4-year-old Aziyah—is a natural sweetheart. He plays hard and loves to snuggle. His blond curls attract the family’s hands like a puppy’s fur coat.Read More
Children's Mental Health Explained
Ashley Bertsch is an early childhood mental health consultant at the child care centers that participate in Book Buddy. Her position is funded by United Way of Central Iowa's Women's Leadership Connection, which is committed to ensuring that our youngest students have the best start in education and in life.Read More
A central Iowa student gets the vision to learn
Aaniece Owens used to sit in the back of the classroom and squint at the blurry board at the front of the room. Her teacher told her she could go the carpet at the front of the class to read the board if she needed to, but Aaniece was shy and only went a few times. She often had headaches and borrowed her mom's glasses when she was at home.Read More
Giving Garden Volunteer Rolls Up Her Sleeves to Give Back
This spring, when Arlette Mueller entered her Telligen office, she saw seedlings growing in trays across her coworker's desk. Soon, she would join the group of 20 volunteers who would plant those seedlings in the garden outside the Telligen building. Through the summer, she would take her turn to water and weed, and then into the fall, harvest the vegetables that would be delivered to the DMARC food pantry.Read More
After-school program changes Warsame's life
Warsame kept disappearing from BE REAL Academy’s after-school sessions. He would lie about needing to do something and then go outside to play with friends. Or when he came to a session, he struggled to focus on the activities and complete his homework. All of this was unusual for the fifth-grade student who’d been with Oakridge Neighborhood’s after-school programs since third grade.
The Boy No One Thought Would Go to College
Standing in front of a judge, facing 17 years in prison on drug charges, Matt Gogerty was asked what we wanted to do with his life. At an age when many kids are going off to college and choosing careers, the 18-year-old didn’t even have a high school diploma. He could only think of one reply to the judge’s question: “A used car salesman.”Read More