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My Turn, Jackie Harris: One Love Services able to help because of United Way

By Jackie Harris

Every six years since 1991, your United Way has conducted assessments to address the most pressing needs in our community.

In December 2018, the Rowan County United Way shared the results of its countywide needs assessment to a group of agencies and partners that have the health of our community as a top priority. It was no surprise that mental health and substance abuse rose to the very top. At the same time, United Way changed its approach to funding by leaving the member agency model to a community impact one, which began in January. 

On February 1, One Love Community Services opened its doors to the citizens of Rowan County. It is primarily a mental health and substance abuse agency. While it accepts insurance, Medicare and Medicaid, it also treats those who have no coverage at all. 

Since One Love therapists treat mental health and substance abuse, they are seeing more patients with these problems brought on by COVID-19. Due to this pandemic, many who are seeking services are now unemployed or the working poor, making it impossible for them to pay. With their current situations, most clients have other needs and One Love can provide those. One Love provides transportation, group therapy, 24-hour service and many other wrap-around services. Suicides and overdoses are rampant during these times and it is critical for these services to be available to the citizens of Rowan County.

Without Rowan County United Way, One Love would never have opened here in our community. After going through a rigorous grants process, the board of directors had the insight to integrate One Love into their funding cycle for 2020-2021, ensuring mental health and substance abuse services would be available to the people who live and work here. We are very grateful for the opportunity to assist our clients with their mental health needs and our families through some very rough times. 

Executive director and founder Steve Wideman has years of experience in the mental health field. The clinical director, Richard McDonald, has worked for years as a therapist, treating many patients. Although we began with one therapist, we currently have four. Additionally, 80% of our staff is minority and we have established a great board of directors made up of community leaders.

We are so very grateful for the support of United Way and for the community’s generosity by contributing to the annual campaign. As we are in the heat of this effort, would you please consider a gift if you have not given? Many of our partner agencies need your help too. Each one of them is providing meaningful and much needed services to our friends and neighbors. 

Now more than ever, your support ensures we build a healthy, thriving, and equitable community. As a community change agent, you and your gift to Rowan County United Way will improve individuals’ and families’ lives by making a positive impact in our community.

Jackie Harris, who formerly worked at the Rowan County United Way, now works as the resources development and marketing director for One Love Community Services. For more information about the Rowan County United Way, visit: rowanunitedway.org.

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