Anns had a hard time reading because he didn’t have access to enough books with English words. Anns told his teacher “I can’t read.”
He joined a program at United Way of Erie County’s impact partner, International Institute of Erie, that supports students facing language and literacy barriers in the classroom. Anns was given easy level reading books and simple sight words to practice every day.
Everything changed. Gifts to United Way helped Anns’ confidence and love for reading grow. Now, Anns has improved grades in all subjects, can read and spell at grade level, and loves Dr. Seuss.
When Nevada’s mother attended a program of United Way of Erie County’s impact partner, Union City Family Support Center, she heard about the Imagination Library, an early literacy initiative of United Way. Nevada was enrolled in the free program and began receiving a book each month delivered to her home in her name.
Before the Imagination Library, Nevada had access to a very limited number of books and only received them as Christmas or birthday gifts. Once enrolled, Nevada started checking the mailbox regularly with excitement and reading became a nightly routine.
She is now a flourishing kindergartener reading proficiently and with joy. Gifts to United Way ensured Nevada had access to high-quality age appropriate books, her mother was equipped to be a proactive parent and she was prepared to enter kindergarten ready.
After breaking her neck, Jackie turned to United Way of Erie County’s impact partner Meals on Wheels Erie, that provided weekly meal deliveries while she recovered from her severe injury.
Unfortunately, with a very long recovery time, Jackie was unable to maintain employment, struggled to pay her utility bills and keep up with living expenses.
That’s when she reached out to United Way's impact partner, St. Martin Center. She met with a social service staff member, who helped her submit an application for utility assistance and food vouchers.
Gifts to United Way helped ensure Jackie was able to heal without the worry of meeting her most basic needs.
After aging out of Kindercare, Zyshyon was faced with needing some place to go after school. He decided to join his friends who attend Middle Gears After-school Ed-Venture, a program of United Way’s impact partner, Erie’s Public Schools.
Through Gears, Zyshyon now participates in quality STEM related activities four days a week. His favorites include engineering, rocketry, inter-mural sports and food science. Actually, he enjoys food science so much he currently aspires to have a successful career as a chef, but says anything working with his hands will make him happy.
Gifts to United Way helped guide Zyshyon on the right path to succeed in middle school. He has flourished both academically and socially and improved by a grade level in science.
PJ’s dreams almost didn’t come true. As a teen entering high school, he had a difficult time seeing his potential – that is, until he became more engaged with United Way of Erie County’s impact partner, the Boys and Girls Club of Erie. As a longtime member, PJ has gained support to succeed intellectually, socially and physically through the Club.
Gifts to United Way helped PJ explore his skills and passions by giving him the opportunity to mentor and teach the younger children through the Discoverers program.
This mentoring opportunity ignited a desire in him to make a difference in children’s lives. Now, he’s on track to pursue a career as a dance teacher, his dream job.
When Noreen and her family needed health care services they turned to the Community Clinic at United Way of Erie County’s impact partner, MHEDS.
Through investments from United Way, she qualified for referral services, resources and skills to be a healthy adult. MHEDS provided vital health screenings for herself and her husband and basic immunizations for their daughter, one-year-old Cindy Rose.
Thanks to United Way, Cindy Rose is also on the right path to early learning and literacy. She attends United Way impact partner International Institute of Erie’s Early Learning Center and receives a free book each month delivered to her home through United Way’s Imagination Library.
As a high school sophomore facing decisions about plans for the future, Mary only needed the right support and resources to help stay on track to graduate and reach her potential.
She joined a program of United Way of Erie County’s impact partner, GO College at Strong Vincent, that increases academic success and college access for low income, first-generation and minority high school students by providing mentoring, tutoring, college guidance and career exposure support.
Gifts to United Way helped guide Mary on the right path. She is currently ranked 13th in her class and will begin taking college level classes at Gannon University in her junior year and currently aspires to become a nurse or lawyer.
Andy, a married father of two, spent hard-earned dollars to file his taxes each year, and his refund was barely enough to cover his bills.
United Way’s Erie FREE Taxes connected Andy to free tax preparation so he and his wife could save for Christmas related expenses and college for their two children. The family even had enough to budget for a special summer activity.
Andy now gives back as an advocate for Erie FREE Taxes at the small local company where he is employed and serves as employee union president.