Archive for Newsletter – Page 2

A Mother’s Day Tribute

United Way of Southwest Colorado’s Most Active Volunteer

Meet Christine, though she’ll tell you that you can call her Chris.

Although her first job was working for the telephone company, she worked many volunteer hours before that in the thrift store that my grandma owned. In her early 20’s, she gave birth to me and by her late 20’s she had become a single mother. In looking for work, she applied to both the Police Academy in Denver and to the local Air Force recruiter at the same time. The Air Force called her back first and so we spent the next 15 years of her Air Force career in San Antonio, Texas. Determined to keep me in the same high school during this period, she successfully changed fields in the Air Force multiple times: supply, recruiter, and contracting. Her time in service also helped pay for her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, all while working part-time as a waitress and nightclub singer to help make ends meet. I never knew we were poor until I looked back and realized the dark apartment with the tiny black and white television on a plastic table were not ideal. For instance, though I had a bed, my mom slept on an inflatable mattress on the floor. After retiring from the Air Force, she went to work for the Federal government, retiring for a second time just a few years ago. After a month-long visit to the area, I helped convince her to relocate from Aurora to Cortez, where she has now resided for nearly two years as she hones her skills as a leadership and life coach.

In this past year, by my calculation, she has worked well over 300 volunteer hours for United Way of Southwest Colorado: picking up items for our Radiothon, working a full day for the Bloomers Chocolate event, helping with registration and photos for our Archuleta golf tournament (as well as taking photos for our Prohibition party), repeatedly loading and unloading event materials, stuffing hundreds of envelopes and folding piles of letters. Although I’m sure her first motivation was to simply hang out with me and be my encouraging sounding board, she also gave her hard-earned money for every donation request I made to support a cause she believes in. She also offers her life coaching skills for free to veterans and has recently completed domestic abuse training so she can volunteer as an advocate. I know how extremely blessed I am to have her in my life after my recent stroke. Not only did she drop everything, hop on my emergency transport flight, and spend every day with me for a month at a hospital in Grand Junction, she also cared for me herself for an additional month in her home while I recovered.

Chris is about service to her country, her family and her community. I call her Momma.

Jodi Jahrling
Marketing, Events, and Digital Initiatives Manager
United Way of Southwest Colorado

On this Mother’s Day United Way of Southwest Colorado pays tribute to all mothers who make daily sacrifices for their family and still find time to give back.

FEAT on Facebook Live

The Team UP Southwest Colorado Family Engagement Action Team (affectionately known as FEAT), in Dolores County, has had great success over the past year hosting Facebook Live events on a wide range of topics that are beneficial to families. Some of the topics covered have been:

Each event is hosted by Kay Daves, long-time Dove Creek resident and active community member, and features a community member expert on the topic at hand.

The most recent event was “How to Manage Stress Without Losing Your Mind,” with Annie Stiasny, Dove Creek School Counselor. While this was recorded pre-COVID-19, the tips and information are very pertinent to the current time.

Check this video out, or any of the other past topics at: https://www.facebook.com/TeamUPSWCO/videos/

Contact:
​Jessica Randell
Team UP Coordinator
919.414.4860
jessicar@unitedway-swco.org

Team UP is a Collective Impact Initiative in Montezuma and Dolores Counties, bringing together a wide range of individuals and organizations, all working towards a common goal – improving outcomes for kids from cradle to career. Since this is a broad goal, Team UP Action Teams focus on more specific topics, such as Family Engagement, Child Maltreatment Prevention, Behavioral Health, Food Security, Youth Mental Health, the importance of Early Childhood development, and Early Childhood Education Expansion. United Way of Southwest Colorado serves as the backbone organization for Team UP.

Help us continue our work. DONATE

AmeriCorps: Turning Service into Education

Did you know that, in addition to receiving a living allowance throughout their Term of Service, AmeriCorps members also receive a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award upon successful completion of their term? The Segal Ed Award amount is tied to the U.S. Department of Education’s Pell Grant, so the exact amount changes but last year it was just over $6,000 for full-time members. That’s $6,000 that members get to put towards past and/or future educational expenses!

    • Members have up to seven years from the end of their service to use their Segal Ed Award.
    • Members aged 55+ may transfer their award to a child or grandchild.
    • Members may use their funds to repay student loans or pay current expenses at eligible higher-ed institutions or training programs.
    • Many institutions offer a match award to AmeriCorps members.
    • During their Term of Service, members are eligible to have the repayment of their qualified students loans postponed while serving (loan forbearance).
At Team UP AmeriCorps, we understand that education can look different for everyone, so we encourage our members to get creative using their funds. While our members still have four months left of their Term of Service, they’re already starting to brainstorm how to use their Segal Ed Award.
Leah, our Food Security Champion in Cortez, plans to use the funds to support her goal of traveling to Spain to get her Master’s Degree in a Global Innovative Management Program. Leah plans to use her degree to continue in Food Security by working on agriculture and food security projects in Spanish-speaking communities.
Jamie, our Early Learning Champion in Cortez, has been going to school to earn her degree in Early Childhood Education while serving as an AmeriCorps member. (She’s been one busy gal, and we can’t thank her enough!) She plans to use her funds to pay off school loans so she can join the Early Childhood Education workforce after her term.
Lexi, our Food Security Champion in Pagosa Springs, is thinking about using her funds get her Wilderness EMT certification so she can combine her love of the wilderness with her commitment to helping people.
There are so many ways that AmeriCorps members choose to use their Segal Education Award. Just as the service that AmeriCorps members perform during their Term of Service affects our community for years to come, we also believe that the benefits AmeriCorps members receive (both tangible and intangible) also affect their lives for many more years!


If you are interested in learning more about how to become an AmeriCorps member with Team UP AmeriCorps, please contact Team UP AmeriCorps Program Director Al Huckins @ alh@unitedway-swco.org.
OPEN POSITIONS

CAN YOU HELP? A full-time AC member costs about $32,000 per year.
United Way secures grants and contributions to cover approximately $18,000. We ask host sites to raise/obtain the other $14,000 (which is a bargain for a full-time person with benefits). Donors can contribute to further reduce the cost for a non-profit to obtain this wonderful support. Recommended contribution to offset the AC cost = $500 or more. DONATE

Team UP’s Food Security Action Team

Food Efforts Update

In response to Covid-19, Team UP’s Food Security Action Team has joined forces with The Montezuma Food Coalition to address the community’s food needs through multi-agency collaboration. The Coalition has expanded its network and breadth of work to include Montezuma and Dolores Counties and Tribal and Indigenous Communities in The Four Corners region. Through weekly team meetings, and bi-weekly regional calls, emergent needs are discussed, resources combined, and food distributed. The Coalition strives to be attentive to the current and ever-changing needs of our community during this crisis and to provide support to individuals and organizations as efficiently as possible. If you would like to support these efforts, please feel free to join one of our calls, which are open to the public.

Contact:
​Jessica Randell
Team UP Coordinator
919.414.4860
jessicar@unitedway-swco.org

Team UP is a Collective Impact Initiative in Montezuma and Dolores Counties, bringing together a wide range of individuals and organizations, all working towards a common goal – improving outcomes for kids from cradle to career. Since this is a broad goal, Team UP Action Teams focus on more specific topics, such as Family Engagement, Child Maltreatment Prevention, Behavioral Health, Food Security, Youth Mental Health, the importance of Early Childhood development, and Early Childhood Education Expansion. United Way of Southwest Colorado serves as the backbone organization for Team UP.

Help us continue our work. DONATE

Team UP AmeriCorps

What is AmeriCorps?

AmeriCorps is a network of national service programs committed to addressing critical community needs. Approximately 75,000 people across the country commit to AmeriCorps each year. When someone decides to commit their time to the greater good by becoming an AmeriCorps member, they take the following oath:

I will bring Americans together to strengthen our communities.
Faced with apathy, I will take action.
Faced with conflict, I will seek common ground.
Faced with adversity, I will persevere.
I will carry this commitment with me this year and beyond.
I am an AmeriCorps member, and I will get things done.

AmeriCorps Member Update

United Way of SWCO currently hosts eight AmeriCorps members, all of whom took this oath on their very first day of service. The current pandemic has brought challenges and adversity to every community, and our members have served as beacons of light in these difficult times as they have continued to persevere. They have found ways to adapt their service to respond to needs arising from COVID-19. One member, serving in Food Security in Pagosa Springs, sent take-home garden kits to her students to share with their families during the stay-at-home order. Many AmeriCorps members in Cortez have come together to collect and distribute food and resources to community members in need. Through all of this, members are also adapting their original programming to be done virtually in order to continue to be able to support their clients while maintaining distance. As we all continue to adapt our lives to the changing times, our AmeriCorps members continue to serve as an example to our community.

Learn more about UWSWC’s current Team UP AmeriCorps members here. These members will continue to serve their communities through the end of August, and a new cohort of members will take their oath and start their year of service in September 2020. If you are interested in serving with Team UP AmeriCorps, contact Team UP AmeriCorps Program Director Al Huckins @ alh@unitedway-swco.org.

CAN YOU HELP? A full-time AC member costs about $32,000 per year.
United Way secures grants and contributions to cover approximately $18,000. We ask host sites to raise/obtain the other $14,000 (which is a bargain for a full-time person with benefits). Donors can contribute to further reduce the cost for a non-profit to obtain this wonderful support. Recommended contribution to offset the AC cost = $500 or more. DONATE