Tag: Austin

Going Back to School? 2-1-1 is here to make it affordable and easy.

While back to school can be a very exciting time of year, it can also be a very trying time for many people in our community. We know that 1 in 5 children under 18 in Austin/Travis County experience food insecurity on a regular basis and that basic needs requests accounted for 54% of our total call volume at 2-1-1 in 2018. As families navigate back-to-school season, children not only need new clothes and medical check-ups, but families are additionally tasked with gathering a list of required supplies — making the cost of going back to school very unobtainable, very quickly. Thankfully, there are many programs and nonprofits geared towards helping families gather these supplies and offering these medical exams for free, and you can call 2-1-1- today for all the details. There are dozens of back-to-school events happening in our community, and there are a variety of benefits available to all families. Services that may be available at these FREE events include: -Free clothes for kids -Free school supplies -Free immunizations -Immunization records assistance -Sports physicals -Eye exams -Hearing screenings -Safety supplies (booster seats, etc.) -Food, fun, games and more! Events are happening now, and will be continue through the middle of August. For a list of events in your area, and what to expect and prepare for at each event call 2-1-1 today. When calling 2-1-1, be sure to ask about the upcoming 2019 Back to School event at Manos de Cristo that will support 2000 children over […]

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Get access to FREE food for kids this summer

“When school lets out for summer, millions of children lose access to school breakfast and lunch and are at risk of going hungry. Our summer meal programs work to make sure that doesn’t happen.” -USDA Food & Nutrition Service Did you know that 1 in 4 Austin, TX households are food insecure? Access to basic needs is a fundamental right, and United Way for Greater Austin is proud of the work our 2-1-1 Navigation team plays in ensuring that families have access to resources like nutritious, affordable food all year round. During the school year many families rely on the free breakfast and lunch program that is offered for qualifying families through the public school system. That benefit is not available when the school year ends, so funders and providers are coming together to ensure there is access to food available during these summer months. The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) is offered throughout the state of Texas. In the Greater Austin area our 2-1-1 Navigation team works hard to make sure families have accurate, up-to-date information on which locations in their area are offering food, and when. The SFSP program partners offer FREE food throughout the state to: · All children, 18 and under, no questions asked. · To individuals 19 years and older who have a mental or physical disability, and participate during the school year in a public or private non-profit school program. There are no other qualifications to receive the free meals. The program runs from […]

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Community Partner Spotlight: Mainspring Schools

Since opening its doors in 1941, Mainspring Schools has been a best-in-class nonprofit preschool that works to eliminate the early childhood school readiness gap. Their mission is “to deliver the highest quality early education and care to Austin’s most economically disadvantaged children – along with services so each child and parent have tools for success in school and life.” With a mission like that and its dedication to providing high-quality, innovative, and researched based services to all children, Mainspring serves as a model for early childhood centers in Austin and beyond. As the backbone organization for early childhood in Austin/Travis County, United Way supports more than 20 childcare centers serving children from low-income families. Mainspring envisions a future in Austin in which all students have an equal opportunity to start school with the skills, support and wellness to compete and succeed in school and life. “We firmly believe that you have to start early to build a strong foundation for at-risk kids. If you get the first years right, the path to success is clearer for our children,” says Jason Gindele, Executive Director for Mainspring. Gindele’s says of his team that they “often say, facetiously, that [their] mission is to get rid of all other charities. That’s obviously not true, but [they] do believe that if you get the first years of a child’s life right, it can prevent so many issues down the road that require the attention of our society.” In Travis County, 42 percent of children under […]

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When Dog Days Turn Into Summer Shade

The sun beats down as children from Sweetbriar Child Development Center file outside to the playground. The students, ranging in age from 18 months to five-years-old, scurry to the fence line instead of onto the playscape. Fighting for refuge from the sun’s rays, those who do not fit in the sliver of shade, provided by large oak tree branches that sag over the black iron fence, huddle under the play structure. This routine has been on repeat twice a day for more than two summers.   “We don’t want to go outside, it’s too hot,” is their rally cry. It’s something we can all relate to in the Texas summer heat.   According to an Austin American Statesman article, July in Austin was a scorcher. With 17 triple-digit days on record, the average temperature for the month of July came in just shy of 100 at 99 degrees. The last two weeks have been particularly brutal, with all 14 days in the triple digits.   “One afternoon we came to pick up our son,” Joshua Mauk, Sweetbriar parent shared “and he was huddled under the play structure because it was really hot and that was the only shade available.”   Something had to change but parents, teachers and even the Center Director alike did not know where to begin.   The Background and Beginning   Sweetbriar Child Development Center is located in the 78744 neighborhood that Go Austin Vamos Austin (GAVA), a resident-led coalition focused on community health and well-being, […]

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Company Culture that Creates Change: Texas Mutual

“Now let me start from the beginning,” Teresa Martinez, Texas Mutual Project Management, and Analysis Supervisor said. After leaving home at a young age Teresa found herself, a 17-year-old who didn’t finish high-school, working at Target with a young son at home and looking for more.   “I happened to notice a sign that read if you’re a youth and you are interested in something more than just your average job, call this number,” Teresa said. “So, I called the number on the sign and after going in and talking with counselors at the program, I called Youth Employment Services and found out that I qualified for help.”   Youth Employment Services, at the time, was a funded partner of United Way. The program helped her work towards her GED, obtain a driver’s license and most significantly, helped her get her son into childcare with Any Baby Can – a United Way affiliated partner. “That was my first introduction to United Way,” Teresa said.   Change-maker   As a 19 year Texas Mutual veteran, Teresa has eight years of United Way campaign coordination under her belt and has once again returned to the campaign as 2017 co-chair. Teresa was the volunteer special events coordinator for the United Way Campaign at Texas Mutual from 2007 – 2013 and during that time, along with the help of passionate coworkers, she organized fundraising events that allowed Texas Mutual Employees to give back to their community in a fun and rewarding way.   In […]

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United Way & Partners Award $781,000 To Six Local Organizations

When Hurricane Harvey made landfall nearly a year ago, nonprofits and businesses across Texas stepped up. In order to meet the needs of Central Texans who fell victim to the turbulent storm, United Way for Greater Austin partnered with MFI Foundation, Capital Factory, Entrepreneurs Foundation and Austin Community Foundation to coordinate efforts in the philanthropic community. On July 2, 2018 the collaborative announced grants to six community organizations totaling $781,000.

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In Good Hands, From Day One

It’s not news to us that Austin is growing at an astounding rate, with more than 150 people moving here daily. But there are other challenges that come with rapid growth, besides the traffic. A large number of those newcomers are moving here for job opportunities, and often early in their careers. This strong flow of young transplants means that many people living in Austin are far from their traditional support structures such as family and friends. When they start their own families in Austin, they’re unlikely to have access to the helpful community they’re used to leaning on.

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The Austin Summer Survival Guide, and Not the One You Would Think…

This is not your average summer survival guide. I am not here to talk about Float Fest or Amy’s Ice Cream. While both are great summer staples, the purpose of this survival guide is to provide our community with a list of resources that will make sure everyone gets the best out of their summer vacation.   Remember that you can call 2-1-1 24/7 for community information and resources. Connect with a compassionate call specialist, like Arnoldo who has been on staff for more than six years.   “2-1-1 is the most effective way of getting resources out into the community.” Arnoldo, 2-1-1 Call Specialist said. “It is a gathering of many people, many facets, that create one big jewel.”   STAY FED From breakfast to lunch to after-school snack, many kids in Austin rely on school meal programs. Often times the meals they are fed at school, are the only thing they will eat all day. According to Feeding America and the Community Advancement Network Dashboard for Travis County, 25 percent of children in Travis County are food insecure. That means more than 63,000 kids in Austin often go hungry when school is out.     Thankfully, through the Summer Food Service Program, Austin ISD will continue to serve FREE breakfast and lunch to local children and teens ages 18 and younger. Your child can get FREE meals even if they don’t attend AISD, regardless of economic status. No registration or identification is required.    To access FREE summer […]

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Who Was César Chávez?

Photo by: Wikimedia Commons   From east César Chávez Street to the César Chávez neighborhood, Chávez’s presence is obvious in our city. So who was César Chávez? César Chávez was one of the best-known Latino American civil rights activists who fought for social justice. He was born on March 31, 1927 outside of Yuma, Arizona. According to CesarChavezHoliday.org, from the young age of 10, César became a migrant farm worker; he was forced to drop out of school after completing the eighth grade in order to help his family out. As a farm worker, César was exposed to the hardships and injustices of the farm worker life. In the early 1960’s he founded the United Farm Workers Association, the nations first successful and largest farm workers union. Chávez lead the organization as president and was able to win the first union contracts for agriculture workers in the grape fields – from here millions followed his lead on his journey for equality and unity and won enormous achievements for farm workers for civil rights, political representation for minorities and environmental justice. The impact César Chávez made has positively influenced and inspired millions of people from all over the country. He had a motto ,“Si se puede!” (Yes, it can be done!), which was coined in the early 1970’s and perfectly exemplifies his legacy. In honor of César, various schools, parks, streets and other public facilities have been named after him. César Chávez Day is observed in the United States on March 31st, […]

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UWATX’s Scavenger Hunt Encourages Team-Building and Philanthropy

Looking for an innovative way to encourage philanthropy and team-bonding with your employees? Sign up for a UWATX Scavenger Hunt!   The purpose of the UWATX Scavenger Hunt is to highlight the work United Way does in throughout the community through its own programs and the work of its funded partners. This interactive, team-building exercise serves dual purposes by allowing participants to engage in community service while seeing firsthand what their donor dollars support, and even generate revenue for our organization. Over the course of four hours, teams of 4-5 people will have the opportunity to gain a better understanding of the areas we serve and the needs in our community. We believe that giving of one’s time is a valuable way to connect to local causes. Organized team-building activities have also been shown to increase employee morale and loyalty to an organization. The scavenger hunt takes teams on four different adventures throughout Austin: a trivia challenge, a photo challenge, scavenger items and a mystery clue. Mystery Clue: Teams receive an envelope that contains a clue about a mystery location. They are given a small window of time to arrive at the location and are tasked with completing a short activity, usually a small volunteer project. Photo Challenge: Teams are given a list of 20-25 local people, places and things. They must successfully photograph their entire team with as many of these items as possible to earn points. Trivia Challenge: While hustling from place to place in the car, teams will be […]

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