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United Way of Whitley County gears up for annual campaign

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(Talk of the Town photo provided)

Above, from left, the United Way of Whitley County 2017-2018 campaign leadership team includes Jo Robertson, Pete Allen and Katie Dewitt.

From reports

The United Way of Whitley County (UWWC) 2017-2018 campaign is underway! The official campaign kicked off during the United Way Day of Caring on September 26 at the Whitley County 4-H Fairgrounds.
Pete Allen and Katie Dewitt will serve as co-chairs this year, and Jo Robertson will serve as vice-chair for the campaign. Also serving on the campaign team this year are: Jody Baber, Tiffany Careins, Dana Day, Shawn Ellis, Mary Hartman, Karen Hedrick, June Keiser, Deanna Kissinger, Deb Lee, Shelby Longenbaugh, Dr. Laura McDermott, Jason Meyer, Mike Ott, Austin Pappenbrock, Michele Porter, Samara Qureshi, Jon Shew II, Lori Shipman, David Smith, Cara Starkey, Dane Starkey, Jeff Walker and Leslie von Seggern.
"We have a fantastic group of community leaders working on our campaign team this year. Several who have been involved for many years but also new volunteers, as well, who are looking for ways to connect with our community and give back through serving on the campaign team," said Cindy Baker, executive director of United Way of Whitley County.
Last year, Allen served as co-chair of the campaign alongside Shawn Ellis, now executive director of The Lighthouse homeless shelter, and Dewitt served as the vice chair of the campaign.
"Over the past few years we have intentionally worked to have a strong leadership team for the campaign, consisting of a lead chairperson, a co -chairperson who works in tandem with the lead chairperson and a vice-chairperson who is very involved, as well, but sort of sits back to see how the entire campaign process works so they then can move into the co-chairperson role the following year. Creating a strong leadership team and then moving individual volunteers through the leadership process provides United Way of Whitley County with a steady line up of qualified volunteers to eventually becomeour campaign chairperson," says Baker. "Through this process, volunteers learn about United Way and the impact our organization has on the community and why we run a community campaign each year. It allows us to provide our campaign chairperson with a solid foundation of knowledge about United Way before they go into the community to represent our organization among their peers. The more our volunteers understand United Way, the stronger they will beat representing the organization throughout the community campaign."
Last year, UWWC granted funding to the following local programs and organizations: B.A.B.E. of Whitley County, Camp Invention, Cancer Services of Northeast Indiana, CASA of Northeastern Indiana, Children First Center, Churubusco Childcare Center, Gradway, One Community, Passages, Inc., The Center for Whitley County Youth, The Lighthouse and TROY Center Alternative School and YWCA Domestic Violence Services.
Any Whitley County nonprofit organization is eligible to submit an application for grant dollars awarded by the United Way. The grant dollars are awarded through an interview process with the United Way Board of Directors and a panel of community members. The funds raised during the campaign are used to fund those grants.
"United Way provides opportunities to give dollars where it's most needed in the community, and as the needs of our community change, United Way can adapt and continue to serve as a conduit to help channel those dollars to make the greatest impact," said Allen.
Dewitt, who served on the campaign team last year as the vice chair, is excited about the volunteers serving on the campaign team this year.
"It's rewarding to serve alongside so many volunteers who are choosing to give their time to serve others in our community. And I think it's important to rememberthat all of the dollars raised here in Whitley County through the United Way campaign, stay here, so the more helping hands we have, the more lives we're able to impact right here at home," said Dewitt.
Robertson, the campaign vice chair added, "In today's world, we all live busy lives and we are pulled in so many different directions. However in Whitley County, we are blessed with a large group of volunteers who step up and supportthe efforts of the United Way. Our community strongly believes in the United Way."
For more information about supporting or becoming involved with United Way of Whitley County visit www.unitedwaywhitleycounty.org or call 244-6454. Be sure to "Like" us on Facebook for exciting campaign and community updates.

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