United Way of Knox County, Ohio Inc
Newsletter January & February, 2020
Our United Way of Knox County Annual Meeting luncheon took place at the Alcove Restaurant on Thursday February 20. Over 60 representatives joined us, including those from industry, United Way Partner Agencies, and community groups.
We featured short presentations from Community Impact Committee representative and Board member, Lisa Lloyd, and Program Director Elizabeth Doolittle of the annual report, highlights from United Way’s 2019 programs, and a note of thanks to our Volunteers and Program Partners. Executive Director, Kelly Brenneman drew attention to the accomplishments of the Women United group. A special guest, 2019 Crunch Out Essay Winner Regan Williams, supported by her parents and Centerburg local schools' PE teacher Brandon Dodrill, honored us by joining and reader her winning essay to the group. Kelly Brenneman then announced reaching the 2019 Campaign goal with a special check presentation. The top workplace campaigns of 2019 were announced and honored by Executive Director Kelly Brenneman and Board Chair Carla Byrne. Carla Byrne, Clint Bailey, and Jeff Scott were recognized for their service as United Way Board leadership by Board member Todd Hawkins. New members were welcomed to the United Way Board of Directors.
Dueling Piano Event
Stein Brewing Company hosted an event featuring the Cleveland Keys Dueling Pianos group at the Woodward Opera House. In a night of food, fun and Philanthropy, part of the proceeds were planned to benefit The United Way of Knox County. Stein Brewing Company presented a check representative of the funds allocated for donation to United Way of Knox County at the Annual Meeting.

If you were unable to attend the event, but would like to contribute, please visit our website to make an online contribution.
The overall Knox County Crunch Out Essay Winner for the 2019-2020 school year is Regan Williams, 4th grader at Centerburg Local Schools

In addition to being recognized, she received a prize bag from United Way (which included 5-2-1-0 water bottle, Crunch Out t-shirt, and resistance band to use with her ball), a one-year Family Membership to the YMCA, and a Summer 2020 pass to Hiawatha Water Park.

Thank you to Get Healthy Knox County, YMCA of Mount Vernon, Knox County Health Department, Operation Round Up, and Hiawatha Water Park, Mr Clinger for contributions to the program.

We hope that the celebration helps these kids remember and inspires others to learn about the 5-2-1-0 guide to living healthy.

Photos from the event are available on United Way's Facebook page.
Crunch Out
Winners Celebrated

On January 11, the Knox County community celebrated the 2019-2020 school year Crunch Out program. United Way invited all of the Knox County Crunch Out Essay winners to the The Glenn A. Gallagher Centre, where we recognized their efforts, introduced families to PE Teachers and program supporters from Get Healthy Knox County and enjoyed healthy snacks.

The six-week Crunch Out program is held in the Fall during physical education class. Students learn how to use an exercise ball as a fitness tool and practice different ball exercises. Students receive their own exercise ball to take home and keep and are encouraged to share program information with their family. The program culminated in the completion of an essay "How I am Living Healthy" in which students reflect on their participation in the program.

Essay contest winners were invited to the ceremony where they received a certificate recognizing their achievement, a Live United t-shirt, 2-day passes to the YMCA and a bag of fun prizes donated by the Get Healthy Knox Coalition and the Knox County Health Department. In addition, the School winners received a 1-month Family Membership to the YMCA and extra 5-2-1-0 themed prizes from United Way.

To learn more about the program or to become a supporter, click the link below
United Way of Knox County will also be hosting a College Intern to support our Tax Preparation Assistance Program. In partnership with the Kenyon College Community Internship Program. Senior Kenyon College student Lucy, joins us this year. A double major in Sociology and Art Studio with experience in self-employment and bookkeeping, Lucy is business minded and feels this volunteer opportunity will help build her financial literacy. She is also a quick study, swiftly learning new processes and navigating through the Taxslayer software. We are happy to have her on our team.
Tax Preparation Assistance Program

In tax year 2018, our team of staff and tax volunteers assisted 546 clients in filing federal income tax returns using The Ohio Benefit Bank.

This year, we will serve as an IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance site to offer similar services to the community.
Our program make life a little easier for workers by alerting taxpayers about a special tax credit that can put money in their pockets. The goal is to increase the financial stability of residents by offering this free service and help them claim the Earned Income Credit and Child Care Credit whenever possible. The EITC helps individuals and families with low to moderate income keep more of what they earned. This is money that can be used to purchase necessities and boost savings.

Our IRS-certified United Way staff and volunteers can assist individuals in the community to prepare and e-file (file electronically) returns at no cost. To set up an appointment, phone 740.397.5721, Monday through Friday, 8:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M.

My Free Taxes is a free online software that United Way also helps promote to the community. Instead of paying for software, try filing for free.
Career Navigator Program

United Way is excited to announce involvement in a pilot project to introduce a Career Navigator to local public high schools.

The project comes as a result of a timely grant project through partnership with The Knox County Foundation, Education Service Center,  and Area Development Foundation. The Career Navigator will engage Knox County's future workforce in a variety of community-based experiences and expand their awareness of local career and education options. This support may encourage traditional high school students to consider local careers in Healthcare and Manufacturing.

After a rigorous application and interview process by a community team reflective of education, industry, and funding agencies Sean McCutcheon was selected as the Knox County Career Navigator. Mr. McCutcheon will be introducing students to Knox County job opportunities as well as specific employers and trade schools and scholarship opportunities.
New Partner for 2019

Centerburg Senior Services is a new United Way Partner in 2019. CSS offers free community and activities for seniors 60 years and older living in the Village of Centerburg, Hilliar, Liberty & Milford Townships.

United Way supports the CSS Health and Wellness Program this year. This program includes Step Into Fitness, Gentle Yoga, Exercise Room, Arthritis Exercise, Tai-Chi, and once a month Blood Pressure Check. This is the only free place to exercise within Centerburg for seniors on a fixed income. Classes are lead by certified instructors and tailored for seniors and their unique needs. The yoga class has grown so large, that CSS has moved it to the Centerburg Local Schools gymnasium! (see picture)

The Exercise Room includes Curves equipment donated by the Centerburg School's system, a Crystal Spring water dispenser in the room, and a new air conditioner. This room is free to anyone that wishes to use the room. With the help of United Way funding, CSS has the ability to offer equipment for the Gentle Yoga class and Exercise Room, and to offer healthy snacks and plenty of fresh water to support seniors and maintain blood sugar.

Research shows that enrollment in an exercise program in the setting of a community senior center will improve physical, emotional, and social health scores while abstaining from activity leads to deterioration in these measures. Exercise classes lead to significantly better (by 10%-30%) health status for seniors participating in a University of Washington study.

The Health & Wellness Program has brought in a "younger" crowd of seniors at the beginning of their retirement years. CSS clients are enjoying the benefits from regular exercise. A few of CSS clients have even started to share more about their mental health. The group exercise classes have help to lift their spirits. Exercise helps senior move easier, improve balance, and be happier. It offers them a reason to get up and get out of the house.
Save the date:
Women United presents's
2020 Power of the Purse!
Event planned for Friday, May 1st 2020
More information to come!
Eagles' Nest After School Tutoring & Enrichment
Monday through Thursday, 3:30-5 pm at East Elementary School.

Tiger Pride Club After School Tutoring & Enrichment 
Monday through Thursday, 3:30-5 pm at Dan Emmett Elementary School

Bulldog Pound After School Tutoring & Enrichment
Monday through Thursday, 3:30-5 pm at East Knox Elementary School.

Free Tax Preparation Assistance Program at United Way of Knox County, 
Program active, call the office to learn more!

The Winter Sanctuary
Volunteers will oversee the guests and assist to operate the shelter

YMCA of Mount Vernon
is seeking volunteers to support their child watch services. 
Stop by the YMCA's front desk to fill out an application.

Interchurch Social Services Knox County Locations
Opportunities vary

SPI Science and Play Space 
utilize volunteers to help deliver programming to Knox County children

We aim to make United Way activities a reflection of Knox County's priorities. We rely on community volunteers to lead the process, we strive to LIVE UNITED.