We will be frequently profiling one of our newly funded programs. This week, we look at Hospital Visitation to the Parents of Newborns, under our Education (Early Childhood) focus area. Our friends at Family Connections have provided us with some great Parent Educator stories about the work they are doing. The Parents of Newborns Project provides parenting education and resources to families within 48 hours after childbirth to help ensure optimal mental and physical health of parents and infants and to encourage positive parent-infant interactions. Parent educators follow up with families to provide further resources and support. Parent Educators with the Parents of Newborns Project are staff, contractors and volunteers who work with families to provide support during the newborn period. Parent Educators come from diverse background and go through extensive training on varied topics that are essential in supporting new families such as: Child development Positive Parenting Health and Safety (car seats, safe sleep guidelines, etc) Infant Feeding Breastfeeding Postpartum Adjustment and Depression Community Resources Hospital Procedures Perhaps the most important skill Parent Educators have is active listening and providing peer support. Parent Educators literally provide a shoulder to cry on and a heart to listen to new parents who are adjusting to life with a new baby. Comments from ParentsFrom a Dad: “I call your notebook of information, the manual, the Baby Manual.” One mom told us that our book had the most useful information she had, that she had 10 other reference books that she had gotten […]Read More
Honoring the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
One of my favorite quotes from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is “Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve.” It’s not because it’s my job to get people involved but because it’s a part of who I am. You can say that volunteering or helping out is “my gospel” and I know it because it feels good and it feels right. I feel it almost everyday when I think about Dr. King’s legacy and when I talk to people like Julie “No Se Que” (Español for Nordskog), who has a million ideas a minute and calls me every time she has them, and Monica who wants to tell the stories of Central Texas’ shining stars – volunteers & nonprofits through her start up blog and magazine – GoodCauseMagazine and Gator, a young man who is using Hip Hop music as a vehicle to inspire hope and healing with other youth though The Cipher-Austin’s Hip Hop Project. These are the kinds of people that inspire me everyday and truly are keeping Dr. King’s dream alive! Will you help keep Dr. King’s dream alive? You can do your part by helping us build MLK Peace Benches at our MLK Day of Service. We’re going to build them, paint them, add MLK quotes on them and give them away to community centers in East Austin. We also have 8 other projects available so there’s plenty of room for everyone. Before we get started on doing some good in the community, we want […]Read More
United Way Capital Area’s 2007 “Online Fall Fundraising Drive” Winner
First, we would like to thank everyone who participated in our inaugural fall fundraising drive—your generous contributions will help make an enormous difference as we work to Build a Better Central Texas in 2008. The lucky winner of the iPhone giveaway isShizad Jawani, of Dell. Shizad was extremely pleased to receive the Christmas gift that was on everyone’s wish list this year.Shelly Priebe, President of McElroy Translation (R), and Debbie Bresette, Executive Vice President of United Way Capital Area (L), were on hand to present the iPhone to Shizad. Our inaugural online fundraiser was extremely successful, during the two weeks that it ran. We are grateful to McElroy Translation for their generous sponsorship of the iPhone and docking station. Stay posted! We will be running a similar fundraiser/contest in the spring. Subscribe to our newsletter to be among the first to know about it.Read More
Bah! Humbug — Why are so many charities ineffective?
In a recent issue of The Economist, an informative article takes a look at social entrepreneurship–the new trend in philanthropy–and asks if social entrepreneurship lives up to its hype. The key, of course, is to know which organizations can and will make the most impact with philanthropy dollars. “Six keys to success” are identified in the article, that help a potential philanthropist measure the effectiveness of a given non-profit. United Way Capital Area, with its new Community Impact Model and ongoing mission seeks to put these six keys to success in practice–as we build relationships with the Central Texas community, be they government, non-profit, or corporate sector relationships. We know that with all of these groups combined we can make Central Texas a better place to live. It can’t just be up to one person or one group to create a thriving community. So, what are the Economist’s six keys to success? Advocate and serve. Delivering a good service is not enough; they need to campaign for political action if they really want to drive massive social change. We see this reflected in our Community Agenda Project and in our voluntary state organization, United Ways of Texas. The great non-profits do not rely on traditional giving; they work with market forces, generating income where possible. Our work in the area of Financial Stability is designed to help individuals and families maximize and increase their current income, build savings, and gain and keep assets like a home. Inspire evangelists. Volunteers are […]Read More
More on United Way Capital Area's new funding
For more than 80 years, United Way Capital Area has been investing community dollars in worthy causes: feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, helping people make it to their next paycheck, etc. We’re proud of that work. One of the top concerns expressed by many Central Texans in response to the announcement of United Way Capital Area’s new funding decisions is that we are no longer supporting “agencies that provide very basic needs services.” This is a valid concern, and it merits a more detailed explanation of how our funding model has changed, how much is still going towards basic needs and the other ways that we will continue to support those agencies. From the ever expanding traffic to the tall cranes building all those shiny new downtown condos, our region is changing and growing rapidly. The data (the US Census or Central Texas Sustainability Indicators Project, 2006 Biennial Data Report are great places to start) are showing that the number of homeless grows, more and more kids drop out of school, the poverty rate has increased 35% since 1999, fewer children enter school prepared to succeed, and so on. To think that addressing these same problems—problems that are getting worse, not better—with the same approach is somehow going to make those problems disappear permanently…well, that’s a popular definition of insanity. United Way Capital Area is not simply adjusting to “a hip, return-on-investment, individualistic culture,” but to the needs and goals of the Central Texas community itself. You, the community, […]Read More
ExxonMobil employees make time to volunteer in Bastrop, Texas!
On December 5th during their visit to Bastrop, Texas a group of ExxonMobil engineers from the Houston area took time from their busy work schedule to work on a community service project together. They volunteered at a transitional housing apartment managed by the Family Crisis Center in Bastrop, Texas. The Family Crisis Center is a nonprofit that provides safe refuge and comprehensive services responsive to the individual needs of women, children, and men who are experiencing domestic violence, sexual assault, or child abuse in Bastrop, Fayette and Lee Counties. The ExxonMobil team painted a two-bedroom apartment, cleaned four flower beds and planted bushes; they also painted several front door frames of the apartment complex. Some of the residents were so excited they joined in the fun! The special treat was when the children arrived from school and personally went around thanking the volunteers for making their home a nice place to live! What a wonderful Team! While they had a great time teambuilding, networking and bonding, they left behind a lasting impact on the residents and the Bastrop community. Diana SantosCorporate and Volunteer Relations Director Exxon volunteers please share your stories!Read More
Hands on Central Texas' Gifts In Kind team recognized in international newsletter
Gifts in Kind International headlines the amazing work of our Hands On Central Texas Gifts-in-Kind team, Diana Santos and Iris Graebner, in its latest newsletter. Because of our team’s hard work and commitment, we’ve met our two major goals for the year: $1 Million in in-kind goods and recruiting 100 nonprofit members! Three months ahead of schedule Hands On Central Texas (United Way Capital Area)—a Gifts In Kind International affiliate—announced in September that they had reached their 2007 goal of collecting $1 million worth of products for local nonprofit organizations. The local Gifts In Kind® program was launched earlier this year in Austin, Texas. Read the entire article here.Read More
Celebrating the 2007 State Farm Loaned Executive
Business is built on relationships. A company’s success is directly related to its people. These are just two reasons why a company might flinch at the thought of loaning their very best talent out to the community. Yet State Farm, a company that puts great emphasis on its people, does just that. They select among their top talent and send them to join United Way staff in raising much needed resources for the community. It is a national program, with State Farm Loaned Executives joining local United Way’s in nearly every community all across the nation each autumn. Loaned Executives gain exposure to community needs and solutions, key business and social leaders, public speaking, and the opportunity to participate in critical work that affects the lives of those in our community. Loaned Executives sharpen different skill sets in a new environment, and in the process gain a new perspective on community and leadership. They leave behind a lasting impact on United Way and the community. Tracy Dove, PHR, the 2007 State Farm Loaned Executive, was an incredible gift to United Way and to our community. Tracy has been with State Farm for six years, and has over 15 years of experience in Human Resources. Reaching out to local market leaders, working with dozens of volunteers and speaking to numerous organizations, Tracy helped to deepen relationships and raise many thousands of dollars to address root causes of our community’s most pressing issues. In addition, Tracy used his Human Resources expertise to […]Read More
Call for Projects for KING FOR A DAY – MLK DAY OF SERVICE!
I know people are in the thick of the Holiday Season but the staff at Hands On Central Texas is staying busy, not only with the Holiday stuff but also with our upcoming service day – KING FOR A DAY – MLK DAY OF SERVICE. And we can’t do this by ourselves, we need projects from the community; they can be from nonprofits to civic and neighborhood groups to Volunteer Leaders. We’ll take them all as long as you preach the MLK gospel of service, nonviolence and social justice! You won’t want to miss out on “Reflecting on the Dream” either; we’ll have poets, singers, dancers, djs and volunteers living Dr. King’s dream! Stay tuned for more details.Read More
Women's Giving Network Holiday Party
On Saturday, December 1, 2007, members and friends of the Women’s Giving Network (WGN) came together at The Allan House to celebrate the holiday season and to give back to those in need. The holiday party was a wonderful time to visit with old and new friends, fill up on hot apple cider and peppermint cookies, and experience a joyful ‘Ho, Ho, Ho” from Santa Claus! But, this event was also a time for the Women’s Giving Network to support the Success By 6 Play and Learn Groups. In the Play and Learn Groups’ inaugural year, WGN has committed both financial and volunteer support of the project that will enable low-income children and parents to receive early childhood education. Members of WGN brought an assortment of school supplies to donate and assembled gift bags to be passed out to the students in the new year. The generosity of the guests was overwhelming. The assembly table was full of crayons, markers, and Play-Doh galore! In total, the gifts allowed for the initial 30 gift bags, one for each family, and plenty of extra supplies to be used throughout the program. In fact, all the donations would have provided for more than 50 gift bags! A big THANK YOU to the Women’s Giving Network! The Play and Learn Groups will surely benefit from the generosity!Read More