United Way of Westchester and Putnam helps guide important work in the community with focuses on education, income, and health by administering a survey every four years that helps the nonprofit organization prioritize these top concerns. Volunteers are needed to help spread the word about the education survey.
Every four years, United Way of Westchester and Putnam looks to the community to help guide its important work in the areas of education, income, and health. Thousands of people who live or work here will get a chance to help prioritize top concerns through three online Community Conversationsurveys.
The first survey is focused on education and will run now through Feb. 28. The income (financial stability) survey will launch in March and the health survey will run in May.
“We can’t do our work of advancing the common good unless we ask the community what makes life better in their town,” said Naomi Adler, United Way of Westchester and Putnam CEO and President. “Education is a great place to start. There are a lot of issues that students of all ages are experiencing in the community. Through the survey results we will know which ones are seen as most critical and will then direct our support through advocacy, volunteerism, and grants.”
United Way’s goal is to have 1,000 people representing every community in Putnam and Westchester take each of the surveys. To do this, they need help in the form of volunteers.
“The core of our organization is our volunteer force and they make all the big decisions regarding where funding and resources are allocated,” said Adler.
United Way is also encouraging teachers, parents, students, grandparents, and administrators to participate in the education survey. There are two ways to help:
1) Take the survey.
2) Spread the word so that others take the survey. Those interested in getting others involved are welcome to become a Community Conversations Leader, or by simply using United Way’s online resources to share the initiative through social media and email. United Way offers sample emails, graphics, Facebook, and Twitter posts for your personal use here: http://www.uwwp.org/help-promote.shtml.
If anyone is interested in becoming a volunteer Community Conversations Leader, contact Shannon Cobb at firstname.lastname@example.org or 914-997-6700 x720.
During the last Community Conversations, in 2008-2009, more than 1,500 members of the community responded to surveys indicating what they considered to be the most pressing issues and service shortfalls in Westchester and Putnam. A task force of experts and leading volunteers was then created for each of the three focus areas to identify how to work toward solutions. Nonprofits then applied to be part of the solution through grants, and worked closely with United Way and other nonprofits to measure progress on a quarterly basis. A full description of the eleven education, income, and health initiatives can be found at www.uwwp.org.
An overarching goal of the education initiative is to increase high school graduation rates through school readiness programs, support for at-risk students, and intergenerational mentoring. One in five students in Westchester does not graduate with their peers (one in ten in Putnam). Graduation rates are as low as 55% in some Westchester communities.
For information about the United Way Community Conversations, contact Susan Schefflein, 914-997-6700 x753 or visit the website at www.uwwp.org.
About the United Way of Westchester and Putnam
Celebrating its 50th anniversary, the United Way of Westchester and Putnam operates with the fundamental belief that all people deserve a quality education, enough income to support a family, and opportunities for a healthy lifestyle.
United Way works with agency partners, government, businesses and community leaders to solve problems that are too complex for any one entity alone. Contributions go toward improving the education, income, and health of the children, youth and families throughout Westchester and Putnam. United Way’s Hudson Valley Region 2-1-1, covering Westchester and Putnam as well as Dutchess, Orange, Rockland, Sullivan and Ulster counties, answers up to 500 calls and 1,000 online inquiries per day ranging from tax, heating, and mortgage questions to childcare, basic needs, natural disaster and crisis calls.
The United Way of Westchester and Putnam is located at 336 Central Park Ave., White Plains, NY 10606. They can be reached at 914-997-6700 or by visiting www.uwwp.org. Follow the United Way on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news and updates.