It turns out United Way has touched my life in ways I hadn’t realized. This first dawned on me during a team building exercise at YMCA, a United Way Community Partner. I thought, “Wait a second; I remember going to YMCA camp when I was a boy!” Growing up in a household of limited means, where every dollar was precious, I wouldn’t have had that opportunity if it weren’t for the generous support of United Way donors.”
Another “aha!” moment came during a tour of United Way 2-1-1, Connecticut’s health and human service information and referral helpline. The guide was discussing the many services provided, including heating oil assistance. I thought, “We relied on heating oil assistance. That was a lifeline for us while I was growing up.”
Even as a young adult, my wife and I had unknowingly benefited from United Way. When our son was born with complications, we turned to the Connecticut Birth to Three System, through 2-1-1, for support and guidance to meet his developmental and health-related needs. He’s in his teens now, paying it forward by tutoring students to ensure they are on-track for on-time graduation, creating a new generation of “aha!” moments.
Resources provided by United Way are not a handout, but a hand up. They allow children and families to get beyond their short-term challenges and prepare them for long-term success.