August / September, 2018
  United Way of Knox County, Ohio

In This Letter

2018 Campaign
Kickoff Week Calendar

Welcome Campaign Chair Steve Oster

Women United Announces Grant Recipients

Online Presence

Coaching Boys into Men Facilitator Training

Rotary Club Supports Imagination Library

Equipment Donated to the YMCA

Volunteer Spotlight

Kickoff Week!

United Way Campaign Kickoff Week Schedule 

September 10, Noon 
Kiwanis Club
Gallagher Centre
By Invitation

September 10, 5:30 p.m. 
Serve Hot Meals
First Presbyterian Church of Mount Vernon, 
Join us to serve a healthy, free community meal

September 11, Noon 
Rotary Club
The Alcove Restaraunt
By Invitation

September 11, 3:30 p.m. 
Volunteer Round-Up
East Elementary School in Mount Vernon
Learn about the afterschool elementary school programs in Knox County supported by United Way and find out how to get involved

September 12, 11:30 a.m. 
Lunch Break United
Huntington Bank portico 136 South Main St 
Mount Vernon, 
Enjoy a free lunch complete with Velvet Ice Cream for dessert

September 13, 5:30 p.m. 
Free Meal Experience
Salvation Army,
206 East High Avenue
Experience Hot Meals as a recipient

September 13, 6:30 p.m. 
Sleep-In Experience
The Winter Sanctuary,
401 West Vine Street
Learn about the services available to homeless shelter guests with option to spend the night
By Invitation

September 14, 1:30 a.m. 
Kickoff Luncheon
Foster Hall, Ariel Arena, MVNU
 Join us for a complementary lunch as we officially begin the 2018 Campaign!
RSVP Required

September 14, 5:30 p.m. 
United We Brew
Stein Brewing Company Tap Room,
10 West Vine st
Unwind with us after a busy kickoff week

Email for more details.

Join us!

United Way events
August and September

Fall 2018
Crunch Out 
Knox County's 4th graders will begin the Crunch Out program, delivered in classrooms and Physical Education classes. What are some habits you could crunch out this fall?
Essay Competition Award Winners to be honored in January 2019
Call 740 392 5721 or visit our website for program details

September 17
Drive 4 UR Community Fundraiser Event
YMCA of Mount Vernon
103 North Main Street
Call 740.392.9622 for more information

October 18, 9-11:30 a.m. 
Poverty Simulation
Register to attend by calling United Way at 740.397.5721 or email

October through May
Afterschool Elementary Tutoring and Enrichment
East School Eagles' Nest and Dan Emmett
To Volunteer, email

Every Tuesday 6-7 p.m.
YMCA Youth Enrichment
YMCA, OSU Extension and United Way join forces: Get a workout while you child learns something new each week! Free for YMCA members, $5 non-members
Call 740 392 9622

Edible Knox
305 E High Street and along Main Street and Downtown Mount Vernon

Email for more details.

Join Our Friends!

Community Events

September 1
Ariel Foundation Park
TAC & New Directions
Color Run
Ariel Foundation Park 
Schnormeier Event Center
Registration is Open!

September 30
Muskingum Valley Council
80th  Anniversary C
1st Presbyterian Church
Contact your local BSA support staff for more information

1st Monday Each Month, 5:30 p.m. - 7 p.m.
the Freedom Center
Family Education Session
106 East Gambier St Mount Vernon

Saturdays May-October
9 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Mount Vernon Farmers Market
Open Market
1 Public Square, 
Mount Vernon.   

During the School Year
Ohio Job and Family Services
New online Child Care Resource tool to find childcare before and after school.

Get Healthy Knox County

Email for more details or to share your organization's events in the next newsletter!
In the News!

Recent Partner Events

The Freedom Center
initiated their new program promoting wellness community activities. 

Muskingum Valley Council Cub Scouts 
held 'Jurrasic Journeys' Twilight Camp in June at Apple Valley's Floral Valley Community Center. For five nights, 55 Knox County troops enhoyed dinosaur-themed crafts, games, and more!

The Knox Health Planning Partnership  has finished the 2018 Knox County Community Health Assessment, which is due for release online. This document summarizes the findings of the county-wide health assessment survey from January to March 2018. Results will guide the community health improvement plan (CHIP) and well as community and agency priorities. Read a draft

Girl Scouts held a STEM themed a Mad Science Event at the Mount Vernon Middle School. Mad Science is focused on STEM  and aims to spark the imagination and curiosity through fun, interactive activities that instill a clear understanding of what science really is and how it affects the world.

Email for more details or to share a story or event for the next newsletter.
Get Involved!

Active Volunteer and Enrollment Opportunities

Women United 
Utilizes the power of women to advance the common good in our community.

Imagination Library 
Encourages learning by providing free books to children birth to age 5.
 Email us to register, become a sponsor or to donate to the program

SPI Where Science and Play Intersect Discovery Play Space,  
Is  offering 

Knox County YMCA
Promotes health & fitness programs for all ages.

Muskingum Valley Council
Scouts are actively recruiting Boys AND girls for their scouting programs. Visit and enter your zip code to find a troop 

Touchpointe KnoxWorks
Removes barriers for Neighbors in need of a second chance to transition to the workforce.
This is a win-win for both 

Email and tell us if you have an active program to include in our next letter.

uway knox
Like us on Facebook

"United Way has been a very integral part of my life and teaching me values in my career"

- Steve Oster
Superintendent of  Knox and Coshocton Counties  Board of Developmental Disabilities. 
United Way of Knox County, Ohio's 2018 Campaign Chair

United Way 
of Knox County, Ohio 
is dedicated to being an agent of change, creating opportunities that move individuals and families to self-sufficiency, while eliminating barriers for future generations. 

2018 Campaign Kickoff
September 10 through 14

Our Campaign theme this year is "Hear Our Stories, your gift changes their stories." We can not wait to share some incredible stories that we have collected from our program participants and partner agency clients with all of you. You will be inspired, moved, and proud of being a part of the United Way movement here in Knox County.

Our Campaign Kick-off Week will take place September 10th through the 14th. The schedule of events is pictured and link is provided below. We will also be releasing client stories, volunteer features, and program overviews online and in the news throughout our kickoff week. 

The  2019 Investment Agenda  includes $409,384 supporting the 13 Health programs administered by 8 partner agencies, United Way will also fund 6 Education Programs, supported by 5 agencies, who will receive $113,500 and 7 agencies will receive $220,500 for 7 Financial Stability Programs in 2019. United Way of Knox County is also unique as it also runs several programs directly. These include Crunch Out, Poverty Simulations, and Dolly Parton's Imagination Library amongst many others. 

this link to make an online Donation to the 2018 campaign.
Thank you Campaign Sponsors! 

Campaign Week Sponsor
Central Ohio Technical College

Luncheon Sponsors
CES Credit Union
Conway's Eastside Pharmacy
Donley Ford
First-Knox National Bank
Huntington Bank
Knox Community Hospital
Murray, Rauzi Kidwell and Cunningham, Ltd
Riverside Recovery Services
Ross Brothers

Community Sleep-In Sponsors
CES Credit Union
Info-Link Technologies
Janet Chandler
Ross Brothers

Hot Meals Sponsors
CES Credit Union
Conway's Eastside Pharmacy
Dean's Jewelrry
Owl Creek Title Agency

After-School Sponsors
CES Credit Union
Danville Veterinary Clinic
NAMI of Knox and Licking County, Ohio
Ross Brothers

Welcome Campaign Chair Steve Oster

United Way welcomes Steve Oster, Superintendent for the Knox and Coshocton County Boards of Developmental Disabilities, to serve as the Campaign Chair for 2018. Oster is thrilled to take part and focus on the health initiatives that United Way supports. "A healthy community is also a strong and vital community, able to sustain its vitality and accomplish even greater things in the future. That strength is built on the health of all of its citizens, from the newborn baby to the oldest and wisest among us and everyone in between. It is important that we continue to invest in, maintain and improve the health of Knox County so that we can continue to be the amazing place we are." In 2019, United Way plans to raise $1,150,000.00 and invest $743,384 in 17 partner agencies, who will run 26 programs.

A natural leader, Steve served as past president to the United Way of Knox County and many other groups in Knox and Coshocton Counties. Steve grow up in Ontario, Ohio and earned his undergraduate degree in Psychology and Public Communications and his Master's Degree in Public Policy and Management under the John Glenn College of Public Affairs.  Steve has a wide variety of work experiences working in Mental Health, Aging, running a county home and also currently the Executive Director of the non-profit PAR - Professionals, Advocates, Resources, all which lead to his passion of developmental disabilities.
"We are thrilled to have Steve carry the torch. He is a true advocate of our work at United Way and knows directly how important United Way is to supporting agency programming in Knox County." Remarked United Way of Knox County Ohio, Inc. Executive Director, Kelly Brenneman.
Oster will be traveling around the county and educating the communities on the importance of United Way in Knox County beginning in September and serving through the year until the Annual Meeting in March. To donate to United Way, visit or phone 740.397.5721 or text UWay2018 to 41444.

Women United Announces 
Grant Recipients at Annual Luncheon

On August 2, members of Women United, an affinity group of the United Way of Knox County, met for lunch in Foster Hall, on the campus of Mount Vernon Nazarene University. There they celebrated past accomplishments, reviewed the proposed budget allocations and recipients, and ended the meeting by stuffing bookbags with school supplies and taking them to the Salvation Army in Mount Vernon for distribution to children in need in Knox County.

The meeting highlights include
  • 55 Women United members and 6 guests in attendance
  • 200+ bookbags were filled with school supplies
  • $63,000 project budget was announced for 2018

Programs funded in 2018-19 are: Chris-Fit Program, Mount Vernon Municipal Court, $3,000; Girls on the Run, Participating Elementary Schools, $1,000; Mount Vernon Farmer's Market Senior Food Vouchers, OSU Extension, $500; Sew Special Network, $2,500; Santa' Workshop, Knox County Career Center, $1,000; Business Luncheon Experience, Knox County Career Center, $500; Personal Safety and Awareness, Central Ohio Safety Solutions, $800; Refrigerator and Supplies for the Escape Zone, $3,796; Family and Community Water Station for Foundation Park, $3,915; Career Intelligence, Knox County Career Center, $5,000; New Directions Shelter Aesthetic, $2,500; Inclusion Playground at Memorial Park, $5,000; Tactical Communications for First Responders, $2,500; Be the Nice Kid, all elementary schools in Knox County, $1,000 and the Freedom Center Recovery Atmosphere Welcome Area and Children's Space, $1,750. Women United will also fund 6 internal programs which are Ruling our Experiences, Stuff the Bookbags, Bags of Love Diaper Bags and Women in Recovery Breakfasts.

Activating Our Online Presence

Many of you may have noticed our new and more active online presence. We have increased our communications on 
Facebook, made it a priority to create new content on 
our website, and have implemented a bi-monthly schedule for our newsletter.  Please take a moment to check out the website

Coaching Boys Into Men 
Facilitator Training

On August 9, our partner agency, New Directions, hosted two Coaching Boys into Men facilitator training sessions at Mount Vernon Nazarene University. The session included a program overview, dynamic Q & A, and information on next steps to implement and support a CBiM program.

New to United Way's Investment Agenda in 2018, Coaching Boys into Men (CBiM) is administered by our partner agency, New Direction. Representatives from New Directions train and support program facilitators who deliver the program to young men of Knox County. In CBiM, young men learn healthy relationship skills through a curriculum which uses sports analogies and is administered in a team or group setting by a trusted adult (such as a sports coach or guidance counselor).

The evidence-based programming addresses masculinity, aggression, consent, digital disrespect, and other topics to create school climates that promote development and maintenance of healthy relationships.

To learn more about participating in the program - as a student or a facilitator, contact  

Mount Vernon Rotary Club Supports Imagination Library

Mount Vernon Rotary Club made a donation to Dolly Parton's Imagination Library -
an Early Learning program administered by 
United Way of Knox County. The program is open to all Knox County children from birth to age five and delivers free age-appropriate books through the mail.
Executive Director, Kelly Brenneman, was presented the check at a June Rotary Club meeting. Thank you, Rotary Club, for choosing to make a difference in children's lives in Knox County.

United Way Equips the YMCA 
United Way and the YMCA of Mount Vernon have a long history of strong partnership. When their adult fitness class grew to include more participants than there were supplies for, United Way stepped up to provide additional exercise balls. 

United Way supports the YMCA's Community Wellness program, which includes Community Events, Goal and Progress Tracking, and Financial Assistance, which allows the YMCA to not turn anyone away due to an inability to pay for programs or membership. We also partner in delivering the Youth Enrichment Program, held weekly and providing kids with STEM lessons while their parents workout in the gym facilities.

Volunteer Spotlight
We are proud  to introduce you to......

Steve Oster
2018 Campaign Chair

What is Steve's United Way Story?


Worked at the YMCA in college in the weight room, teaching swimming, and running the summer camp programs

Excelled in scouting, proudly becoming an Eagle Scout

Set up and worked Blood Drives for American Red Cross, Gives blood, and helps with American Red Cross classes 

Trained as a lifeguard and lead swim classes,  taught CPR and First Aid

Had a relative whose house burned down and  received  services through the Disaster Relieve Program

Helped install door hangers for 211 in the community

Participated in Poverty Simulations

Painted the Born Learning Trail with staff in Danville

Volunteered countless times to paint, serve food, and provide services at the Salvation Army

Serves or has served on several United Way Partner Agency Board such as Behavioral Health Partners and New Directions

Has served on United Way's Board of Directors

When he thought about it, Steve was surprised by how deeply his United Way involvement ran. 

How are you involved in United Way programming and partner agencies?

Contact us to find out more about our programming and partner agencies, to volunteer, or to donate.