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United Way. . . everyone knows those words. . .but do they really know who we are. . .

May 2, 2010
Article/photos courtesy of the United Way

We are . . . developmentally disabled people who bowl together every Monday night with Adaptive Recreational Services. "It really is fun to show everyone what a good bowler I am and I know its good exercise for me too."

We are . . . 3, 552 developmentally disabled people who are involved with the New Ulm based United We Stand Players theater group through The Arc of Minnesota Southwest. We are confident, talented and spreading the message that people with developmental disabilities are capable, talented members of our community.

We are . . . 245 individuals who received transportation services from Brown County Common Good RSVP volunteers. We received transportation to medical appointments near and far, to the grocery store, to work, senior centers and numerous other locations. The volunteer drivers are a very caring and responsive group. Because of the services they provide, they are greatly appreciated not only by us, but also by our family members, the business community, health care professionals and social workers.

Article Photos

We are . . . 4,400 individuals who donated blood for the American Red Cross disaster services.

We are . . . 1,131 babies visited by a Brown County Public Health nurse last year. We received a blanket, a book and were evaluated to make sure that we did not need extra services to make us the healthiest babies we can be.

We are . . . 1,205 senior citizens who receive education through Brown County TRIAD on concerns about crimes such as telemarketing scams and identity theft that target us and how we can report them.

We are . . . 60 individuals who had the opportunity to take responsibility for the crime we have committed, learn the impact of our actions on other and take an active role in making things right. We were able to restore the relationship between our families, friends and our community through the help of the Brown County Victim Offender Mediation Program.

We are . . . the Yellow Ribbon and it stands for awareness, collaboration, education, postvention, prevention and above all respect, honor, empowerment and love. 1,220 individuals have become aware and educated on how to save those precious young lives through Brown County Yellow Ribbon Program. It's Okay to Ask 4 Help.

We are . . . 48 children who received scholarships for Children's Special Needs Camping Project. One of the camping trips is to Lake Trails Camp in Northern Minnesota where we learn the skills to positively communicate and work as a team with all the campers. We gain self- confidence, relationship building skills, and new life-long friendships.

We are . . . 463 active and social senior citizens of Brown County's Community and Seniors Together - CAST senior center. We play Shuffleboard on Monday, ping-pong on Tuesday and Thursday, and bingo on Wednesday. We also stay fit with fitness opportunities, Senior Sneakers, with a high form of aerobic exercise at the Vogel Field house.

We are . . . The Compassionate Friends of South Central Minnesota who help the grieving in a positive manner and are here for families when they are ready. We encourage parents, siblings and grandparents to "live again" and not merely to exist. We offer friendship, understanding and a safe place to share.

We are . . . 125 developmentally disabled individuals who went to camp at Confidence Learning Center in northern Minnesota. We went fishing, swimming, canoeing, had arts and crafts day with fish and leaf painting, along with leather crafts and papermaking.

We are . . . 40 children who attend Creative Kids Preschool and we now get to learn our numbers, colors, letters, and learn how to write to prepare us for kindergarten. Because we have risk factors in our home, we need a little extra help. There are a lot of kids who are at risk because each year there is a waiting list to get in. But now we help fund 35 children at the Sleepy Eye School Readiness Preschool so they can get extra help too.

We are . . . Crime Victim Services who are advocates for 663 crime victims in Brown County.

We are the advocate that finished a 3:00 am Safeline call in which we listen to an adult who survived traumatic abuse as a child and continues to work through flashbacks of the event. We are the advocate that checks in with a woman who has been safely planning and trying to find a means of safety while remaining in an abusive home. We are the advocate for when a mom needs to talk to someone about her fear that her daughter is experiencing abuse and is unsure how to discuss it with her daughter. We are the advocate for Brown County crime victims.

We are . . . 84 girls trying new things, developing life skills and making a difference in our community. Girl Scouts builds our confidence, courage and character, and we make the world a better place.

We are . . . 130 families who gained control of our finances with the help of Lutheran Social Services -Financial Counseling. We worked with the financial counselor to develop a plan of action to gain back the control of our finances. We learned about the dangers of credit card over use and debt liquidation companies who advertise on TV.

We are . . . 1,063 people in New Ulm, Sleepy Eye and Springfield who receive more than just a meal from Lutheran Social Services - Senior Nutrition Program. We build a relationship with the volunteers who deliver our meals daily, make connections with other senior programs in our community and most of all our families can rest easier knowing our meals are taken care of.

We are . . . 18 individuals in Brown County who turned to Lutheran Social Services -Mental Health at our time of need. We thank our therapists for being there for us at a time in our lives that was extremely challenging and for helping us gain the courage to go on with our lives.

We are . . . 140 developmentally disabled adults with unique abilities and participate in the MRCI Worksource adult rehabilitation program. Even though our paychecks are not big, we are gain work experience and are valuable members of our community.

We are . . . a family in Brown County who volunteers our time to build a simple and decent home for our family with the help of Minnesota Valley Habitat for Humanity and other habitat volunteers. We take great pride in our new home, and invest tremendous amount of our own time into the construction process.

We are . . . the 20 individual women who were in a situation where we felt isolated and reached out to Life-Work Planning Center to help us make decisions that put us back on track to self-sufficiency. We all faced isolation in dealing with our issues and needed reassurance that we were capable and deserving of having a better life.

We are . . . a family who is in desperate need of clothing because of a fire that recently took all of our belongings. New Ulm Clothing depot was able to fill the most basic needs such as shoes, blankets, and clothing for us.

We are . . . 182 Brown County individuals who, with the help of Open Door Health Center, have quality, affordable health care and prescription assistance.

We are . . . the children at River Bend Education District who get a chance to be creative, use our imagination in a positive way through Project G.E.M.'s creative art, music and writing classes.

We are . . . 1,229 individuals who received emergency assistance in Brown County with practical aid, personal support and sincere compassion from The Salvation Army.

We are . . . 600 households who received over 40,000 pounds of food at the Sleepy Eye Food Shelf.

We are . . . 66 individuals who with the help of SMILES programs can now live independently. SMILES provides us with ramps to access our homes, peer counseling to help us reach our goals, customized technology to improve our capabilities and educational opportunities that increase our chances of independent living.

We are . . . 150 teens who made a stupid mistake of drinking underage, shoplifting, or destroying property. It was our first offense so we could go to Teen Court where kids from other parts of the county "judged" us. Their sentence was stiff but fair and if we stay out of trouble, we will not have a juvenile record following us. (And no, juvenile records aren't erased at 18)

We are . . . 140 senior citizens who participate with the Volunteers for Seniors serving Brown County program. This program provides us education & support for us and our families, respite care so our family caregivers can take a break, and Arthritis Foundation Exercise program to keep us healthy.



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