GLADWIN – It’ been a common sight for years in Gladwin: Kids enjoying the Gladwin City Park as part of the Summer Recreation program. A United Way of Clare and Gladwin Counties Partner Agency, Summer Recreation has given countless children the chance to eat healthy meals and snacks, enjoy play time and activities, and just plain have a good time!
Program leader Terri Foutch seems to have as much fun as the kids she’ mentoring, joining in the games and crafts, and laughing right along with the group. It’ really enjoyable to watch the group as they play games and make crafts in a safe, kid-friendly environment.
‘I really feel it’ a good program for kids in the area,’ Terri said, adding that a typical day consists of Meet Up and Eat Up (a United Way-funded program), a half hour of free play, crafts or other activities, and plenty of games.
When we visited the park, the kids made their own hats and then participated in games wearing their own craft.
United Way of Clare and Gladwin Counties provides funding support to the program, which is integral to ensuring that the kids are supervised by screened school employees during their time at Summer Recreation.
‘Staffing is a big part of the program,’ Terri said. ‘When you are working with 25-30 kids each day, you need reliable staff that you can count on.’
Following their 2017 Campaign, United Way of Clare and Gladwin Counties was able to fund 39 programs at 21 agencies in Clare and Gladwin counties.
Thousands of dollars – around $23,000 – in donor choice designations were also paid out to various health and human service agencies.
‘United Way of Clare and Gladwin Counties has a long tradition of partnering with agencies that care for our children, families, and individuals,’ said United Way of Clare and Gladwin Counties Executive Director Jennifer Long. ‘Our agencies accomplish this through a variety of programs that address basic needs like food, shelter, crisis intervention, and employment; programs that provide educational opportunities and mentoring for children and youth; and programs that improve people’s physical and mental health, safety, and well-being.’
United Way funding also makes available to Clare and Gladwin counties the dial 2-1-1 information and referral call center through 211 Northeast Michigan, and a 24-hour crisis line through Listening Ear Crisis Center at 989-386-2774.
In addition to the annual campaign, our United Way office also collaborates with other agencies to bring services to our residents. From October through December, United Way of Clare and Gladwin Counties manages the Adopt-A-Family Christmas program with Clare County DHHS. Last year, the United Way office matched 85 families in the program.
From February through April, United Way staff is trained each year (IRS certified) and serves alongside other Mid Michigan Community Action Agency volunteers to provide free, in-person tax preparation for seniors, low-income individuals and families, and anyone else who needs assistance with their taxes. The Clare office also serves as a host site for the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program.
This past year, United Way of Clare and Gladwin Counties also worked with the Gladwin Ministerial Association and the Community Nutrition Network to sponsor a monthly food truck financially in both counties. United Way also provided volunteers for both trucks, including Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts, Home Depot employees, area MOPS group members, and other Clare and Gladwin county elementary, middle, and high school students.
United Way has also been involved with community connection events in both Clare and Gladwin counties, and staff members have also been known to help walk-in clients with paperwork, faxing, scanning, phone calls and emailing to help them access assistance to get utilities turned back on and other emergency assistance.
Every donation made to United Way of Clare and Gladwin Counties supports people right here in our own back yard.
‘When you give to United Way, you are joining this partnership that annually impacts thousands of lives in our communities,” Long explained.
Donors can give a one-time donation, sign up for a recurring donation, or give through payroll deduction at their workplace! Additionally, donations can be mailed to: United Way of Clare and Gladwin Counties, PO Box 116, Clare, MI 48617.
Please specify if donation is for Clare or Gladwin County.
One-time and monthly donations can also be set up online at http://www.unitedwaycgc.org/page12.php.
Want to learn more? Check out our Gladwin Summer Recreation video interview at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y5RJ-LzUgZE; check out our website at www.unitedwaycgc.org; and ‘Like’ our Facebook page – United Way of Clare and Gladwin Counties.
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