The United Way of Mifflin-Juniata supports 12 local programs and 3 initiatives in Mifflin and Juniata counties. Below are some partner agencies stories of how United Way dollars impact the community. These moving stories will help you understand the importance of the United Way and the impact the United Way makes in the community!
*Names in the following stories were changed to protect confidentially.*
The Abuse Network
A question we hear a lot from people is, “Why do victims go back?” or “Why do
they stay?” There are many factors but the most noted reason is the
financial burden on the victim to become re-established after leaving an
abusive relationship. One such case is of a current domestic violence
victim and her child. Our agency offered services to this individual over
the course of many years, including a previous but brief stay in Hollister
House, our emergency domestic violence shelter. Several month after her
initial stay in our shelter, she called and asked to again enter shelter. She
was admitted that day with her child.
Upon entering shelter, agency advocates began working with her to address the
many deficits that were barring her from gaining independence including safety
planning, investigating resources such as housing, child care, assistance with
transferring her current employment from a location in one county to another,
transportation for her child to and from school, and counseling to address the
trauma and after-effects of domestic violence for both she and her child using
a specialized curriculum for victims of domestic violence. This
client has been with our agency for about 60 days and we anticipate that she
will be able to move into a new home within the next 30 days becoming
self-sufficient and starting a new life violence-free life with her child.
Funding from our other resources provides for only a 30 day stay. It can
be difficult to realize independence in this time frame when one considers the
type of intensive services that are required to reach the very imposing goal of
complete self-sufficiency and safety. It is thanks to the funds we receive from
the United Way of Mifflin-Juniata that we are able to extend shelter stays to a
time frame that is realistic in terms of the client’s ability to put the
elements for independence in place. This survivor’s success was
directly impacted by the extension she was granted through United Way
American Red Cross
In Spring 2017, Red Cross volunteers and staff
installed free smoke alarms in Lewistown to residents and provided home fire
safety education. Just one year later, on April 5, 2018, we were notified
of a 4-alarm fire on Shaw Avenue in Lewistown. Nine residents were
displaced when the fire ripped through three houses. Red Cross volunteers
responded within 2 hours to meet clients at the scene and provide immediate
assistance. As the Red Cross transitioned the clients into recovery, we
provided items such as A-125 laundry detergent, which removes the smoke smell
from clothing, as well as information and referral services through our strong
network of community resources. This story, along with many others,
demonstrate the importance of working through the disaster cycle---helping
individuals, families and communities prepare for, respond to and recover from
Compass Community Connections
Here is a summary of some of the positive outcomes we
are seeing related to the Community Connections programs supported by the
United Way of Mifflin-Juniata. Four recent high school graduates are successful
employees in our local area. They all participated in our recreation and TNT
programs throughout high school. One graduated last year with a job already in
place during the last few months of her high school career. Another person
transitioned to his second job that was more in keeping with his vocational
goals. One of these graduates received the “Employee of the Month” honor at her
place of employment. Most recently, another senior in high school obtained
employment after going through the job assessment and development phases and
graduated this year with a job in place. We currently have three individuals
from our day programs who are also working or seeking employment.
We believe that the Community Connections program
through the United Way of Mifflin-Juniata has been instrumental in helping us
fulfill our mission and vision as a company. Some of these same former students
serve in leadership roles for Aktion Club, a division of Kiwanis International.
They serve as officers and are the impetus for a significant level of
volunteering and giving back to their communities.
Our goal in the next year is to implement a Supported
Independent Living program to our repertoire of services funded by federal and
state dollars. This should provide for a continuum of support for individuals
who are NOW expressing a desire to not only WORK in their community but also
LIVE independently in their community.
This will be the culmination of our work to support others in “Embracing their journey”.
inclusion are at the heart of what it means to LIVE UNITED.
Crossroads Pregnancy Center
a father can do remarkable things in a young man. Tim* is a young father who has
custody of his son. He faithfully brought his son, Baby Gavin*, to Crossroads
for the Bridges Program when Gavin was only 4 months old. Tim was already a
good dad—putting his son first in everything and seeking help because it was
the best thing for Gavin. Because Tim didn’t have a driver’s license or job,
they were living with a friend’s family. Tim came to Crossroads every week to
take the BRIDGES classes to learn more about how to be a good father and to
learn how to care for Gavin. Tim first earned a crib and car seat. Father and
son still came every week and earned diapers or clothes after they earned the
Client Advocate watched with pride one day as Tim drove into our parking lot
for his appointment, the proud new owner of a driver’s license. Tim now has a
job. Our staff enjoyed teaching Tim about being a dad and have watched him grow
more independent and responsible as his son grows as well.
Crossroads, we are not just here to serve women but men also. We know the
important role that fathers play in their children’s life. In 2018, we not only
served a total of 232 women but 35 men —some with their expectant partner and a
few, like Tim, on their own. It is a blessing to see these men support their
partners and children and make our program a priority for the betterment of
being a young 17 year old girl finding myself pregnant, my biggest concern was
not understanding myself and my issues yet. The night of finding out I was
pregnant there was no shutting my mind down with the negativity and thoughts of
being turned away and being rejected by my parents. I was feeling scared. I
felt ashamed of myself and how I disappointed my family.
few days after taking a pregnancy test, I talked with the staff person at
Crossroads office and we made the appointment to come in to their medical
clinic for the ultrasound to confirm the pregnancy.
this time, I was very emotional, concerned I would not be prepared for raising
a child. Crossroads cared for me and my baby, prayed with me, loved me
unconditionally and supported me with many teachings and experiences through
the Bridges Program, allowing me to earn a beautiful crib and car seat for my
Fayette Area Lions Den
There was a
young girl, Thea, who attended some of our summer camps this past year.
She was 7 years old and very shy. Thea was very quiet at the beginning of
the summer and only participated when called upon. As the initial week
and subsequent weeks went by, Thea was eager about the day’s events and was
excited to join in on the activities. She developed a bond with a few of
the campers and one of the leaders. We encouraged her and her foster
family to keep in contact with those campers that she was drawn to and hope
that Thea was able to continue those friendships as the summer drew to a
close. With funding through the United Way of Mifflin Juniata, we are
hopeful that other children will be able to attend our camps and emerge from
their shell to find friendship and caring that will stay with them in months
and years to come.
Juniata County Library
Working with young children at the library has many rewards. We
get to see first hand as little ones' love for reading develops. One example of
this has to do with a young girl who was around 3 years old when
her mother started bringing her to our programs. This girl, C, was very
delayed in her speech and did not talk when she was here. Her mother was
diligent in bringing her to story time, summer reading, and other visits to the
library to check out books. She also read a variety of materials aloud at
home with her daughter. As she continued to visit the library, C began to
open up more, feeling comfortable to practice her speech with me. She
would participate more in our story time programs by doing motions to songs and
action rhymes. She would try to answer questions I asked, but I needed
her mom to translate.
Now, C will be going to Kindergarten in the
fall. She sings along with our songs and even adds commentary during
story time. She is a regular visitor to my office to tell me about her
plans that day or to tell me about what new books she and her mom are checking
out. I know that regular visits to the library for books and programs
have helped to give C confidence and helped with her speech and communication
this past couple of years.
The library is such an important place for families and our programs,
whether they are story time, arts and crafts, or STEAM programs, all try to
have a literacy focus and we who work here stress the importance of reading
aloud to children at least 15 minutes a day.
Juniata Valley Council Boy Scouts of America
The one success story for the Juniata Valley
Council comes from a Scout within the Juniata County Area. Jeffrey Smith comes
from a single income family household and has a single sibling whom is also in scouting.
Jeffrey joined scouting at the age of 6 as a Tiger in the Cub Scout Program.
Jeffrey continues to stay through the program as he went to transfer into the
Boy Scout Program. Throughout his childhood Jeffrey was a shy boy that kept
mostly too himself, and did not have many friends. Through scouting,
Jeffrey was able to form long lasting friendships with members of his Pack and
With coming from a single income family Jeffrey
was able to utilize fundraisers such as the Popcorn Sale, as well as,
camperships to fund his way to coming to the Summer Camp programs. Throughout
his Scouting years, Jeffrey went on to earn over 60 Merit Badges ranging from
First Aid to Robotics. Jeffrey demonstrated leadership skills that he learned
throughout scouting serving as a Senior Patrol Leader within his unit. Jeffrey
is currently finishing up his work on his Eagle Scout Rank, which is the
highest rank within the Boy Scouts of America.
The Scouting program is also geared to getting
youth out of their comforts. As stated prior Jeffrey was a shy youth, but
through scouting Jeffrey learned communication skills and people skills. This
translated into his school life as he became active within Marching Band,
Chorus and various other Extra Circular activities. Jeffrey went on to excel in
school and now holds 2 acceptances to Universities within the state, where he
will major in a Health Care Field, in which he credits his time in Boy Scouts
as an influence to his career choice.
In our afterschool program, we give children points based
on attendance, cleanup, homework, cooperation and respect. Based on these points, the children can earn
prizes with the most points going
on a special end of year trip. The end
of year trip encourages children to attend the entire duration of the
afterschool program, keep up good behaviors and do their homework consistently
throughout the school year. We were once
children ourselves and know that we did not always agree with adults. We, too, learned to manage our emotions and
reactions by receiving consequences for our behaviors. That being said, we do not begin to deduct
points until the behavior goes beyond normal and unmanageable behavior. If those behaviors become worse, we then send
the child home for a period of time and then bring them back.
We have a child that has been attending our afterschool
program for at least 4 years now. The
first year the child was here, they proved to be unpredictable. They would listen some of the time and do
most of their homework. The second year
they attended, this child’s behavior became significantly worse. Their cooperation level dropped to an average
of 57% and homework completion dropped to a level of 62%. This child was sent home a few times during
the course of the school year but always came back. During this school year and last, we have
noticed a significant improvement. Cooperation has gone up to an average of 97% and homework has gone up to
average of 86%. This child has become a
real joy to have in our program and we look forward to seeing them every day.
It would have been easy to give up on them the second
year they were here. We could have
replaced this child with another, a more well behaved child. I am so glad we did not do that. I believe building a relationship with this
child and not giving up on them made a big difference.
MidPenn Legal Services
Kenneth received a notice that his home was being foreclosed upon, he called Help
is on the Line. The attorney
reviewed paperwork and found that the mortgage lender was proceeding within the
law. The attorney explained how the
foreclosure process worked. He also gave
Kenneth his options including, how to file an application to the Homeowners
Emergency Assistance Program (HEMAP).
HEMAP is a loan program to prevent foreclosure. Kenneth applied to HEMAP
and was approved. Using the knowledge gained through Help is on the Line, he
was able to save his home.
Mifflin County Library
The families who attend story time at Mifflin County Library
truly love the experience of bringing their children. Parents/caregivers
will talk to staff about how much their child loves coming to the library for story
time and that at home the child will “play” story time with other family
members or stuffed animals. One mother who attends story time with her
children at the Kish branch in Belleville is so pleased with the benefits that
her children have reaped from story time that she invites all of her friends
and family to attend as well. Just through this mother’s word of mouth
and praise for the library programs, the attendance for one program alone has
doubled in size.
Recently a lady applied for help to get glasses and was
thrilled that her copay came to only $90.00. If she had to pay for them
herself, with all the problems her lenses were addressing-severe myopia,
astigmatisms and the need for prisms due to a stroke, she would have had to pay
well over $400.00 and therefore would not have been able to afford them. Her
new glasses corrected her double vision caused by the stroke as well as her
refraction errors and gave her back the ability to drive and read.
Paul W. Delauter Youth Center
Johnny is an
autistic fifth grader who started going to the Paul W. Delauter Youth Center in
September. The first night Johnny went to the Dealuter Youth Center he was very
quiet and did not talk to anybody except his aide. He did not participate in
any of the regular activities with the other youth but instead kept to himself
and shot basketball alone. Johnny continued to attend the youth center every
Tuesday night. Eventually, he developed an interest in what the other youth
were doing. You would find Johnny in the same area as the other kids moving up
and down the court as a basketball game took place. After a few more visits,
Johnny started to participate with the other youth. The other kids would shoot
basketball with him during free time when a game was not in play. You could see
Johnny became more comfortable with the other youth as he began to converse
In as little as
three months, Johnny progressed to the point where he actively participates in
basketball, dodge ball and volleyball. However if you ask Johnny, he would tell
you basketball is still his favorite thing to do at the Delauter Youth Center.
The other youth really accepted Johnny and allowed him to shoot the ball
without blocking his shot or even guarding him. Johnny will now hold
conversations with the other kids and is usually the first one to volunteer to
pick the teams. Now, Johnny partakes in all the activities at the center even
though his skills are not as developed as the other kids. Johnny has really
branched out of his comfort zone and is willing to try other activities such as
ping pong, shooting pool and simple crafts. When the Delauter Youth Center is
getting ready to close for the evening, Johnny often wants to stay past closing
time to shoot basketball.
involvement at the Deluater Youth Center, Johnny’s
social development skills have improved in the classes he attends at school.
The Delauter Youth Center continues to impact Johnny’s life and many other