Rowan Vocational Opportunities: Positively Impacting Lives

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 13, 2016

By Wilson Cherry

For the Salisbury Post

Support for the most vulnerable and fragile individuals and families in our community has always been a hallmark of the United Way of Rowan County. Helping the elderly and disabled live independently, combating illiteracy and poverty, providing emergency services such as clothing and food, combating domestic violence, or providing health and support to assist individuals with intellectual and physical disabilities are just a few of the issues that the 16 local nonprofit agencies combat under the umbrella of the United Way.

All of these agencies are committed to improving the quality of life here in Rowan County and enabling so many of our citizens to help themselves live with dignity and self-respect. Agencies frequently collaborate when taking on problems such as unemployment and underemployment, while addressing basic needs such as food, shelter and education.

As an employee of Rowan Vocational Opportunities Inc., I have the honor and privilege of providing programs and services that help individuals with developmental and intellectual impairments contribute positively to our region’s economy. Many individuals who used to give to the United Way campaign are on the receiving end now. Having personally been a recipient and beneficiary of several United Way services over the years, I am truly thankful for the committed, passionate and generous donors and volunteers in Rowan County.

In addition to raising funds, the dedicated staff of the local United Way offers referrals to other services available in the community, advocate for issues that help improve human services, write grants and build partnerships with other public and private agencies in an effort to coordinate and support other community projects.

The small, yet hardworking, staff has proven to be outstanding stewards of the agency’s resources. We all realize that we can do more united than we can do alone by collaborating our efforts. “Live United,” is not just a cute or catchy phrase or motto. Every dollar donated to United Way helps secure positive outcomes that serve to benefit our community.

By preventing problems and changing social conditions, we create a stronger, healthier, more vibrant community in which to work and live. By pooling resources, even small contributions can add up and make a big difference. Because of your gifts to the United Way, we see people whose lives are changed. They become more productive, and their lives are affected in a positive manner.

When I give my time and money to the United Way I am simply saying, “My community matters to me.” I am thankful to have been born, educated and employed in a community where compassion, concern and generosity have made Salisbury/Rowan County such a wonderful place. I will forever be grateful that I was given a helping hand when my family and I needed it most.

I would encourage everyone who is able, to give at least some time or money, as all 16 agencies perform a valuable task. There is always a need for volunteers and donors. No matter how little time or money is given, it will be valuable. I am a prime example of how the smallest gift can have a positive impact on someone’s life.

Wilson R. Cherry is the director of Community Affairs for Rowan Vocational Opportunities Inc.