As we embrace the arrival of March, we also celebrate the start of Women's History Month—a time to honor the incredible contributions, achievements, and legacies of women throughout history. It's a month close to my heart, not only for its significance on a global scale but also for the personal reflections it evokes.

Growing up as a seventh-generation Iowan, the women in my life shaped my journey in profound ways. They are not just family; they are pillars of strength, wisdom, and resilience. As we embark on this month of celebration, I find myself reflecting on the lessons and values instilled in me by my mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother.

My mother, a single parent in my early years, worked tirelessly to provide for our family. Despite the challenges she faced, she never wavered in her commitment to ensuring that I had everything I needed to thrive, especially access to quality education. Her incredible dedication and sacrifice are the cornerstones of my journey, reminding me of the power of determination and perseverance.

My grandmother, a dedicated second grade teacher in rural Iowa, ignited my love for learning and literature. Her passion for education transcended the confines of the classroom, inspiring me to pursue higher education and embrace the transformative power of knowledge. Through her guidance and encouragement, she showed me that education is an important pathway to empowerment and fulfillment.

And then there's my great-grandmother, a remarkable woman who balanced her roles as a nurse and a farmer in rural Iowa. Her commitment to health care left an indelible mark on me, emphasizing the importance of compassion, community, and accessibility for all. Her tireless efforts to care for others serves as a constant reminder of the impact we can have when we extend a helping hand to our neighbors and community members in need.

As we celebrate Women's History Month, let us not only recognize the remarkable achievements of women throughout history but also pay tribute to the unsung heroes in our own lives—the mothers, grandmothers, great-grandmothers, and friends who have shaped us into the individuals we are today. Their stories remind us of the power of resilience and the value of compassion.

Let us honor their legacies by continuing to champion and empower future generations of women and strive for a world where every girl and woman has the opportunity to fulfill her potential
709 individuals were provided crisis intervention and supportive services.*

6,986 underserved learners were reached with programming from our partner agencies.*
Financial Stability
255 families were able to access child care with the use of sliding fee scales funded by UWSC.*
Ames Community Preschool Center
"Our life story is a testament to resilience, a journey marked by hardship, but defined by the strength to endure. In March 2022, amidst the looming shadows of war in Ukraine, I made the courageous decision to flee with just one backpack, two precious souls, and a stroller—my two young children. Our life in Ukraine was once prosperous, a world where we lacked nothing. Yet, fate took an unexpected turn, stripping us of our home, our possessions, and our financial security, leaving only the invaluable gift of life.

Upon arriving in a foreign land, I found myself grappling with a language barrier that seemed insurmountable. My infant daughter, Kateryna, was a mere four months old, and my son, Mykhailo, a 1.10-year-old boy, carried the scars of the horrors they had witnessed—missiles, attacks, and bombs that had shattered their sense of security. Desperate for support, I reached out to daycares in Ames, and amidst the silence, only ACPC responded, a lifeline extended by fate.

Thanks to ACPC's benevolence, facilitated by the sliding-scale tuition made possible through the generosity of the United Way of Story County, they played a pivotal role by providing the sliding-scale tuition for my children. This crucial assistance not only enabled my children to attend ACPC but also alleviated the financial strain, allowing us to afford rental apartments and my education process. United Way's support became the cornerstone that empowered us to rebuild our lives, providing stability and hope in the face of adversity. The year 2023 brought with it a new chapter, where my 1.5-year-old daughter, Kateryna, and my now-thriving son, benefited from the same sliding-scale tuition at ACPC. The transformative impact of this haven became evident as my son, who had withdrawn into silence, began to speak and grow in the nurturing environment provided by ACPC.

The teachers at ACPC are not merely educators; they are architects of hope, crafting a safe haven where my children eagerly anticipate each morning. In a country where we lack familial bonds, ACPC has become our surrogate family. Gratitude fills my heart for the opportunity to witness my children blossom in an environment that is not only safe but also affordable, thanks to the unwavering support of the United Way and the ACPC family.

To United Way, to ACPC, and to the countless individuals who form the threads of this safety net—thank you. Your generosity is a beacon of light in the tapestry of our lives, one of the most extraordinary blessings to grace our journey."
Why It Matters

United Way of Story County funds sliding fee scales at four accredited childcare centers in our community. Families that qualify for assistance pay tuition based on their household income, allowing access to high quality early childhood education for all.

Women United Annual Breakfast
March brings our annual Women United Breakfast back for a fun morning of great food and our much anticipated purse raffle! Join us for a short program about what's to come for Women United! Purse sponsorships are available and tickets to attend are on sale now. Contact Kristin at [email protected] with any questions. We'll see you at Sweet Caroline's on March 29!
Salir Adelante: Pathways for Our Future
In January and February, the Ames Middle School Media Center was filled with laughter, learning, delicious food, community-building … and a delightful mix of Spanish and English. Why? Ames Community School District’s English Language program partnered with ISU Extension and Outreach to bring an evidence-based and popular 6-week workshop series, “Salir Adelante: Pathways for our Future,” to our community. This 6-week workshop series covered topics from financing secondary education to options available post graduation. Given our focus on educational opportunities for underserved learners, United Way was part of the community planning team along with Ames Schools, Story County Extension, YSS, and EL programs at Gilbert and Nevada Schools. In order to support this engagement, United Way leveraged its Story County College Access Network (SCCAN) grant to support a culturally-appropriate meal, obtained needed supplies and materials for the series’ activities, arranged and paid for HIRTA bus transportation, and provided fuel gift cards to reduce barriers to transportation and attendance. United Way also worked to bring additional collaborators to the table and arranged for other SCCAN partners to help with meal costs; Ames Chamber, Nevada Community Schools, Story County Board – thank you! Check out our socials for more info on Salir Adelante!
A Goodbye from Jean
Today marks Jean's last official day in the office. We will definitely miss her, and we think she'll miss us too. 😉 Congratulations Jean, enjoy your well deserved retirement!

"Thank you to the Story County community for the dedication you have shown and will continue to show to United Way of Story County. It has been a privilege to serve as the President and CEO for the past 13 ½ years! I was recently asked what the best thing was about leading United Way. The answer is easy – the people! The staff, board, agencies, volunteers, and the donors. Each one contributes to ensuring that the United Way that began in 1953 remains strong 70 years later. I am honored to be part of this community and to be part of the United Way history.

You have a great leader in Ashley Thompson. If her time at United Way is as wonderful as mine has been she will be serving this community for decades to come!"
Mark Your Calendars - Upcoming Dates
March 6 - FAFSA Completion Night at Nevada High School

March 21 - Hunger Collaboration at 3pm at UWSC office

March 28 - Food Pantry Collaboration at 3pm in Huxley

March 29 - Women United Annual Breakfast

April 22-May 2 - Save the date! LIVE UNITED Food Drive