April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month
Sexual Assault Awareness Month is an annual campaign to raise public awareness about sexual assault and educate communities and individuals on how to prevent sexual violence.

Did you know? Every 73 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted. And every 9 minutes, that victim is a child. Meanwhile, only 5 out of every 1,000 perpetrators will end up in prison.*

Here in Northeast Louisiana, we have access to two Sexual Assault Centers: The Wellspring Sexual Assault Center in Monroe and Pine Hills Advocacy Center in Ruston. Both of these centers are providing awareness and services to victims of sexual violence and assault by way of highly trained and certified staff. United Way of Northeast Louisiana is proud to collaborate with these agencies as we address the issue of sexual violence in our communities.

If you or a friend or family member are facing a situation of sexual or domestic violence or assault, you can call 211 to be connected to information and certified professionals who can help navigate your situation. Don't wait – call today.

*Statistics from RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network).
Campaign Cabinet Orientations

We're gearing up for a brand new Campaign Year! On Tuesday, April 27th, newly-appointed Campaign Cabinet volunteers from Lincoln, Union, and Jackson Parishes and our Regional Parishes attended a Campaign Cabinet Orientation. Excitement filled both rooms as United Way staff and volunteers discussed plans for Campaign 2021.

Tuesday morning, the LUJP Campaign Cabinet met in Ruston, where the orientation was facilitated by BJay Durrett of Durrett Law & Title, 2021 LUJP Campaign Chair.

"United Way is a lighthouse that is always there as a stable force in Lincoln, Union, and Jackson Parishes, but our impact work is constantly shifting to meet new and pressing needs in our community," Durrett said. "I know I speak for the entire Campaign Cabinet when I say that we are ready to talk with our workplaces and local business leaders about the important work that United Way is doing and all the ways they can get involved."

At lunchtime, Keith Biedenharn, Sales Center Manager of Monroe Coca-Cola Bottling Company UNITED and 2021 Regional Campaign Chair, led the Campaign Cabinet Orientation in our Regional market.

"Our goal is to get our community engaged with the work that United Way is doing. We know that people are hungry to get involved and give back to Northeast Louisiana," Biedenharn said. "That’s why we’re setting the bar even higher for Campaign 2021. We have a Campaign Cabinet full of energetic and talented leaders who stand at the ready to advance the mission of United Way.”

If your company is interested in running a workplace campaign, contact Michelle Tolar, Director of Development, at [email protected].
RideUNITED Vaccines

United Way NELA 211 launched the Ride United Vaccine Access Campaign on Monday, April 19th!  

This campaign will provide access to free rides for COVID-19 vaccination transport with Lyft for those who lack transportation. Residents can access this transportation assistance or learn more by calling 211. This effort is made possible through a grant from the Blue Cross Blue Shield Louisiana Foundation in partnership with United Way Worldwide and the Louisiana Association of United Ways.
  • If someone does not have transportation to their vaccination appointment, community members can dial 211 for help. 

  • Lyft rides are provided through Lyft ride credits activated on a Lyft smart phone app or can be scheduled online for the caller/client by 211. 

  • A roundtrip ride to/from vaccination appointments will be covered. If credits are used, the credits cover up to $50.00 ($25.00 credit X 2 rides)

  • Lyft rides are subject to availability across the state and 211 can help determine Lyft availability in the caller/client’s geographic area. (Your headquarter cities have Lyft services. Not all rural towns/communities have consistent Lyft services.)
Our call specialists will be asking callers/clients if they have Medicaid/Medicare transport before issuing Lyft credits or scheduling rides. This is meant to empower the caller/client to use that mode of transport, but we will still issue codes or schedule a ride for people if it can create any easier pathway/remove a barrier.
Ready4K Results

We aspire to help children with social, emotional, cognitive, and physical readiness as they enter the educational system. Through Ready4K, one of our evidence-based engagement programs, we are empowering and equipping families with the knowledge and skills to support child development.

Since November 2020, we have delivered 25,972 Ready4K text messages to parents of school children! Of a small group of parents who were surveyed, 100% said that Ready4K text messages helped them feel supported in their role as parent, and 100% of the same group said the text messages have helped their children learn and grow.
The Heirship Project Results

On Thursday, March 18th and Thursday, April 1st, we hosted workshops for The Heirship Project, a pilot project in Ouachita Parish created to educate and assist residents who need help obtaining a clear title to their heir property. Wesley Eby Johnson of E & P Consulting Services Inc. facilitated both educational workshops. The attendance breakdown for the events is as follows:

A total of 39 individuals were in attendance at the workshops. Local agencies/organizations represented at the workshops, who will provide training for their clients and others, include the City of West Monroe, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, and Elisha Ministries 

Attendees received a printed PowerPoint from the workshop presentation, an Affidavit of Death and Heirship Guide - Ouachita Parish, Affidavit of Death and Heirship Form - Ouachita Parish, application for Birth/Death Certificate, and a Ouachita Parish Assessor Brochure.

Two of the attendees have already followed up with a consultation with Wesley Eby Johnson of E & P Consulting Services Inc. to review their documents and complete the filing process. A post-events assessment revealed that 100% of attendees felt that the workshops were helpful and 100% said they learned something new about protecting their property.

We look forward to continuing our plans to expand this project to surrounding parishes in Northeast Louisiana! Stay tuned for more information in the coming months.
National Volunteer Week

Today, we're honoring the volunteers who serve on our Board of Directors. What better place to start than with our Board Chair, Amy Price Sawyer? As an attorney at North Delta Title Company, a wife, mom, and long-time community member, Amy believes in the work that United Way does in the 12-parish region of Northeast Louisiana.

"Supporting United Way was modeled for me from a very young age by parents who truly believed in fighting for every person in our community,” Amy said. “I continue to support and serve this organization because I'm seeing the long-term impact in Northeast Louisiana. Together, we're creating change that will bring about a better quality of life for our seniors, our neighbors, and our children.”

Amy and her husband, Michael, are proud residents of Monroe and love raising their two children, Claire and Will, in this community. Amy, we are grateful for your leadership!

From resource and relationship management, strategic planning, reputation building, and beyond, our dedicated and highly skilled Board Members work hard to advance the overall mission of United Way. THANK YOU for your commitment to this organization!

For a complete list of our 2020-21 Board Members, visit unitedwaynela.org/leadership.

Be sure to tune in to Facebook every Friday for a VolunteerUNITED spotlight!
Is your workplace or group interested in volunteer opportunities?

To build a volunteer project best suited to your group or company's needs, contact Jessica Hughes, VolunteerUNITED Manager, at [email protected].
FamilyWize is merging with SingleCare!

Our partnership with FamilyWize for prescription drug savings has now merged with SingleCare, but maintains the same mission – to help people afford their prescription medications. SingleCare works directly with pharmacies to negotiate up to 80% off prescription prices. SingleCare then passes these savings onto its members, free of charge. For more information, visit the SingleCare website below.
Connect with us!
United Way of Northeast Louisiana | unitedwaynela.org