United Way
United Way of

August 2017

"Remember that wherever your heart is, there you 
will find your treasure. " - Paulo Coelho

Upcoming Events
Day of Caring
September 20th
(information below)

Muscatine Data
Households Utilizing DHS - 2,932

US Unemployment Rate - 4.3%

Iowa Unemployment Rate - 3.2%

Muscatine Unemployment Rate - 3.3%

Note from Executive Director

It's August, which means that in a few weeks kids will be back in school. The Summer Food Service Program is wrapping up on August 11th. Our early figures show that 350+ meals were served each day at the lunch sites this summer. We want to say THANK YOU to all of the volunteers who helped to serve these meals! While kids might be disappointed that their summer is over, many parents will be excited to get their households back into the school year routines. For some families, the start of the school year brings additional stress as they wonder how they are going to cover the cost of school supplies to get their children starting the year on the right foot. Fortunately, there are programs in town to help these families with some of these expenses. Qualifying families can receive free school supplies through Community Action of Eastern Iowa. These same families will also be able to receive new shoes for their school-aged children through a partnership with Significant Souls here in Muscatine. For families who might fall just outside of the guidelines for Community Action, there are school supplies available through our Kids First Fund as well. We're happy to do our part to make sure that students don't have to arrive on the first day of school without the tools they need to succeed. Thanks to everyone who donated supplies to any of these programs this year. This is just one more example of the generosity of our community. 

Thank you for reading.
Shane Orr
Executive Director
Random Acts of Kindness (RAK)

Hello everyone,

August has arrived, and yes it is difficult to believe that within no time, kids will be back in school. July seemed to go by in a
bit of a blur, and when I was trying to write the RAK piece this month, nothing came to me, that is, until I started writing. Not knowing exactly where this piece was going to go this month, I started, and then slowly, several acts of kindness presented themselves, as they so often do.

Many of you likely know that Maggie Curry retired from MCSA this past month after more than 20 years of service. To see so many people come out for her retirement celebration was something quite beautiful to witness. Everyone that was there shared nothing but kind words. The one thing that stood out to me, and that seemed to be a recurring theme, was that Maggie has always worked from the heart. Whether you were speaking with family, friends, colleagues or residents of MCSA, you could feel the love and kindness that each shared for Maggie. When we can drop all of our own baggage and really work, and ideally just be, from the heart, we connect with others on a very authentic level, and with this connection, there is no end to what we can do, together. Thank you Maggie for impacting all of our lives, however long we have known you.

On a slightly different note, about a week ago, an elderly couple who live down the lane from us, had an unfortunate event happen to them. Their detached garage, and everything within, including three vehicles, went up in flames. It was a Sunday morning and I was taking out the trash, when I noticed flames more than a hundred feet in the air. I quickly got Jenny, and we both rushed down to the neighbors. When we got there, the garage was engulfed in flames, and firefighters were working to put out the fire. We joined a few of our neighbors on the side, and watched as firefighters made sure the flames did not spread into the house, and down the lane. The neighbors were fortunately already safe with firefighters by the time we arrived.

It seems that the fire started due to some kind of an electrical problem. It took a couple of days for the power to be restored to our neighbors' home, but overall they seem to be doing pretty well.  Not long after, Jenny brought over a flower arrangement and some tomatoes from the garden. They invited Jenny in and were thankful not only for the gifts, but for the conversation and the connection. Now each morning as we pass, there is a reminder of just how quickly things can change, and how fortunate we are to be alive and connected.

Finally, while a little further away, we came across a story that takes place in San Diego. Shannon Wasser is a mother of three who writes inspirational notes and leaves them at random locations for people to come across them. It is a beautiful story of a woman that turned her life around and is using her struggle to make a difference in the life of others, one hopeful note at a time. Please watch the video on NBC Nightly News at the following url:

Woman's Anonymous Notes Bring Hope to Strangers

And just before we were about to publish, Shane came across this heart warming moment that the Putnam's were kind enough to share.

I'd like to report a Random act of Kindness: Yesterday, I took my family to Adventureland Park in Iowa. My wife, our 3 kids and I had a great time! Our kids are  ages 17, 14, and 12. Our 14 year old, Cannon, has Autism Spectrum Disorder. Some of our past trips have been a challenge to say the least. We've had to leave early, or one of parent would have to sit and wait with him. He was having a great day, lines were short and people were understanding. He even rode all the thrill rides without any prodding. One such ride really stands out. We had just boarded "The Outlaw" after the 3pm circus. The ride operator, Steve was checking seat belts. Steve asked Cannon, "Is your belt tight sir?" Cannon responded, "I'm not a sir, I'm Cannon!" Steve chuckled and said, "But you're still a Sir aren't you?" Cannon told him, "Nope! See I don't have a beard or mustache." Steve laughed and said, "Nope I guess you don't, how about young man then?" Cannon smiled and told him, "Yep!"

They proceeded to chat about how the day had been so far, while the other helpers were checking the others. It's such a small thing, but it really touched me because he just treated him like a regular person. Most people direct their comments to me in hopes that I will relay their instructions to him on their behalf. Well Done Steve! I'm not sure if this is the right place to post this, or if anyone will ever see it. If you do, please find Steve and let him know that this simple act of kindness meant the world to our family.

Thanks the Putnam family 
Autism Speaks
Autism Support Network

While it can sometimes be difficult to fully accept, life seems to give us exactly what we need at exactly the right moment. If we are present and trust life, life will guide us through the people we meet, the situations we encounter, the notes along the way. Not always easy to follow, but oh so true.
We would love to hear from you. Please submit your stories of Acts of Kindness to  donovan@unitedwaymuscatine.org.

In Kindness,


Partner Program: Muscatine Community YMCA Summer Art Program

Chase Koch is a 5th grader, showing off his Lego Zip Line project. Working with many parts of STEAM with this project, looks and creativity were just as important as the technological aspects.  Chase is a creative spirit who loves to go fishing and disc golfing with the Y each week. He and his younger brother have been with the Kids' Club program for several years, now Chase enjoys attending the Teen Program also. When you need a good laugh, Chase is your man. His humor leaves all the staff in stitches and his stories always leave you with an ear full (true fisherman style). He is a great kid to have around the Y.
Trinity Muscatine Public Health Spotlight - August is Breastfeeding Awareness Month

Have you ever heard the saying "The best things in life are free".  This is so true with a breastfeeding mother and baby.  The first milk a mother has to offer her newborn is called the colostrum.  Colostrum is yellow to orange in color and thick and sticky.  Colostrum is extremely easy to digest, and is therefore the perfect first food for your baby. It comes in small quantity, but is packed full of nutrients for the newborn. It also has a laxative effect on the baby, helping him pass his early stools, which aids in the excretion of excess bilirubin and helps prevent jaundice.  http://www.lalecheleague.org/faq/colostrum.html
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of an infant's life and continued breastfeeding for a year or longer.  Although many women want to breastfeed they face barriers in their communities and workplaces and are often unable to find the support they need to make breastfeeding successful.    
My name is Louise McDonough RN, IBCLC and I have been working at Trinity Muscatine Public Health for the last 17 years, 15 of them providing prenatal and breastfeeding education.  Residents in the county now have easy access to breastfeeding support.  I am an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant Certification (IBCLC) which allows me to provide breastfeeding support throughout our community.  This was made possible with the support of a Trinity Muscatine Friends Scholarship.  According to http://www.ilca.org/why-ibclc/falc  an IBCLC is a healthcare professional specializing in the clinical management of breastfeeding and lactation. IBCLCs are certified by the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners® under the direction of the U.S. National Commission for Certifying Agencies. IBCLCs work in a variety of healthcare settings, including hospitals, pediatric offices, public health clinics, and private practice, where care is provided in your home or the consultant's office in the community.
Breastfeeding is not just a mother and baby concern, but it's a team approach as much support is needed to be successful.  The ability of a mother to meet her breastfeeding goals depends on the care and support she receives during her pregnancy, child birth, hospital experience, and during her post-partum breastfeeding journey. Given the importance of breastfeeding on her baby's health as well as her own, every mother deserves information, guidance and support with her decision to breastfeed.  Support from her family and friends, the community where she lives, health professionals and her employer are essential for success. 
If you know of anyone needing education, guidance or support with this topic please call Trinity Muscatine Public Health and ask for Louise McDonough. 
Louise McDonough RN, IBCLC
Trinity Muscatine Public Health
(563) 263-0122

Imagination Library Spotlight - Miller Family

1. How did you hear about Imagination Library? We heard about the Imagination Library online.

2. What book are you reading right now? We are currently reading The Little Engine That Could.
3. What do you/ your child like about the book? We like that the book teaches the kids that if they put their mind to it they can accomplish anything.

4. What is your favorite book that you have received through Imagination Library? And why? We are new to the program so the only book we've gotten so far is The Little Engine That Could.

5. What do you like most about reading with your child/children? I enjoy reading to my son because it's giving him a head start on learning how to read.

6. Would you recommend Imagination Library? If so, why? I would recommend the Imagination Library because I think it's a great thing for kids to get books and be able to have something to do in their spare time.

7. How has Imagination Library helped grow your home library? Well we went from having no books to having a few in the house. My son absolutely loves books and he's only 2!

Thank you to the Miller family for sharing.  For more information about Imagination Library, or to share your story, please contact  Lori Dietrich a  lori@unitedwaymuscatine.org .

To register for Imagination Library online, please visit our website.
Partner Program Spotlight: Flickinger Learning Center After School Program


The  mission  of  the  Flickinger Learning  Center  is  to provide educational   opportunities   for  learners   of  all ages,  races,  beliefs,  and  abilities  for  stronger  individuals and  a  stronger  community. 
So, What do we do?
After School Program runs Monday-Friday from 3:15-5:15
We offer homework help
English Language Arts support via: Assisted reading, reading comprehension practice, guided and independent supports.
Math support via: Math based activities, games, and practice
Enrichment classes such as: STEM, Financial Literacy, Art & Music, Social skills, and Service Learning
Substantial snack served before programming at all sites
Provide a safe, positive environment conducive to learning
Why do we do what we do?
To help children become academically and emotionally successful individuals for a healthier community.
To provide a safe and secure environment between the pivotal hours of 3-5 every school day.
To create stronger family bonds by having school work done before the child goes home every night. 
Statistics: Start vs. Now
May 2016
95% of our children were considered academically 'at risk'
At the start of the year, our children were reading at a 2.5 RL.
Zero Quizzes taken
At the start of the year 42% of our children were reading independently
87% of our children are no longer considered academically 'at risk' in reading
Average increase of 4 points in reading level
10,420 Quizzes Taken: Average of 88% Correct
By May, 86% were reading independently
Strategies for Success
Keep program free, or provide scholarships to those who need it
Continue with our responsible use of grant monies
Fundraising: Jean Days, Trivia Night, Boonies
Donations: HON, Community Foundation, Flickinger Board, Howe Foundation, hometown hundreds, Marty & Ruth Carver Foundation, NAEIR, REACT, Kiwanis
Partnerships: United Way, MCSD, HON (HNI), Monsanto, Muscatine Charities.
Keep telling our story!

Interested in signing your child up or have questions? Visit our website at https://flickingerlearning.org/ or contact Danni Zumwalt
Contact Information
Flickinger Learning Center
413 Mulberry Ave, Muscatine, IA 52761
Danni Zumwalt
Executive Director
Phone: 563.288.9000
Email: Danni@flickingerlc.com

Thanksgiving in July: Community Food Drive
Thanks to the community's generosity, over 4,000 pounds of food was collected during Thanksgiving in July to help stock the shelves of The Salvation Army of Muscatine and Muscatine County Food Pantry.

Thank you to everyone for making this initiative possible, including our corporate partners:
Bridgestone, Community Bank & Trust, Fareway, First National Bank, Hy-Vee, Kent, Kraft Heinz, Members Community Credit Union, Muscatine Journal, Muscatine Power & Water, Monsanto, UnityPoint Health Trinity Muscatine.

Wii Bowling Challenge - SunnyBrook at Muscatine

The Wii Bowling team, Dicky and Bill, from SunnyBrook, challenged Kim and Lori to a game of Wii Bowling. It was a close, but Bill took home the trophy. Congratulations, and thank you for a fun afternoon.
Day of Caring 9.20.2017

Day of Caring  - Day of Caring exemplifies Living United when business partners join with local civic and community groups to connect with others in the Muscatine community who need our help. As a result of the tremendous growth in participation the Day of Caring has seen, we have continued with separate Day of Caring events for students and adults.  By hosting several annual events we are able to help more in our community and have more volunteers participate.  We host one in the fall for adults, and one in the spring for students.

Senior Resources Open House

Congratulations Senior Resources on a beautiful open house. It was great to see so many people.
College Access and Success AmeriCorps Position Openings

Do you have a passion for education and helping others? Do you want to make a difference?

Iowa College Aid is looking for motivated and passionate individuals to serve in the College Access and Success AmeriCorps Program. AmeriCorps members will be part of Iowa College Aid's Course to College Corps, supporting Iowa College Aid, Muscatine Community School District and other community organizations to expand college-access programming. Corps members will work directly with high school seniors as they navigate the steps of the college-going process and enroll in education beyond high school.

For more information, please visit the AIM website.
Volunteer Opportunity: ISU Extension and Outreach

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