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My turn: United Way — it’s the right thing

By Renee Bradshaw

have never outgrown my excitement of going to the mailbox and getting the mail. As a child, it made me feel important to get the mail. As a young teen, it was always fun to see if you got a letter from a friend or while at camp a letter from home.

As a college student, you went to your mailbox to see if there was anything, from a letter and even better, a care package full of goodies to share with your roommates.

As I got older, I still loved going to the mailbox, although you may have more bills than letters or cards. I then discovered mail order. How exciting to get home and find something you have ordered and even if you knew what it was, you could not wait to open and see if it was as you expected.

And now as the executive director of the Family Crisis Council, I still cannot wait to go to the post office to see if we have received any generous donations to assist us with running our agency and taking care of the many victims of abuse. I always know that near the 20th of the month, that is one of the most special days I go to the mailbox. That is the day we receive our wonderful check from the United Way. I always know it is going to be there. When I leave the Post Office I have a smile on my face because I know we can continue our mission to assist victims of domestic violence and sexual assault get back on their feet, take control of their lives and start a violence-free life.

United Way provides 27 percent of our budget. Wow.  Without the assistance of United Way dollars, we could not have served 86 women and 112 children in our emergency shelter or answered 760 calls on our 24/7 crisis line.

Last year United Way made it possible for us to counsel just over 1,000 victims, hold 126 group sessions for women and 84 group sessions for children from age 5-12 in our HEROs program, which assists children that have been exposed to domestic violence.

We have held 51 educational and professional trainings that just over 1,000 people attended. We served a total of 2,787 victims of abuse through all our services, which includes not only our shelter and group sessions but provides advocacy in the judicial setting through our court advocates, hospital accompaniment and advocacy through the Special Victims Program. Last year we provided 139 free sessions of individual counseling for in house and community clients.

If you are thinking how fortunate we are to have an agency that is available to serve the victims of sexual assault and domestic violence, your next thought should be, how can I help?

Right now you have the opportunity to make a difference in Rowan County by giving to the United Way so they can provide the much-needed funds for the 16 agencies that serve Rowan residents. Whether it is providing a hot meal to a homebound individual through Meals on Wheels, or daycare for the elderly at Trinity Living Center or emergency services through the Rescue Squad, these are just a few agencies that you can support by giving to the United Way.

Make that commitment today. It’s the right thing.

If you would like to contribute during this year’s campaign, call the United Way at 704-633-1802.

Renee Bradshaw is executive director of the Family Crisis Council of Rowan County.

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