By: Jenni Marsh, President and CEO, United Way of Delaware County—
Muncie, IN—United Way of Delaware County kicks off its 2018 campaign next month with a downtown celebration and concert reunion of Voices United.
This is the first time the full group has come together since it performed in front of a full-house at Emens Auditorium in late 2007.
The concert will include two sets – the first an opportunity to feature each artist more individually and the second which includes classic tunes by your favorite artists, performed together as the Voices United team.
The concert – on Sept. 13 – will feature all five Voices United artists – Cook and Belle, Jennie DeVoe, Keith O’Neal, Jennifer Stanley, and Carl Storie.
“United Way is one of the most effective ways to change the trajectory of our community in the long run, while still providing safety net services to those most in need,” said Jennifer Stanley, who has appeared in all five previous events. “Bringing together our entire community for a night of music and message is inspiring to me, and I’m honored to play a small role.”
The concert, sponsored by Ball State University, Magna, Old National Bank and Ontario Systems, goes 6:30 to 9 p.m. with brief remarks from Jenni Marsh, United Way president and chief executive officer, 2018 Campaign Chair Jeff Lang and other community leaders.
Last year’s event drew more than 2,000 to the downtown. Once again, Local brewers, The Heorot, Elm Street, and The Guardian Brewing Company will be on hand.
The community’s focus on ending generational poverty through United Way inspired the performers to want to contribute to the Kick Off concert. The campaign’s annual “Day of Action” follows on Sept. 14 when hundreds of volunteers – representing dozens of companies – canvas the county, spending the day making a difference for local nonprofits and seeing first-hand the work that United Way agencies perform each day.
Today, nearly half of Delaware County households live in poverty or are one crisis away from it. It’s often a vicious generational cycle. These working families face obstacles in reaching health, education, and financial stability.
To conquer generational poverty, UWDC has adopted the bold goal that by 2024 all third graders will be reading at grade level—the single greatest indicator of a child’s success in school and life. Campaign contributions will be strategically invested in local programs to help put children on a pathway out of poverty through better educational outcomes.
“By providing children with the early education opportunities they need, we are developing future economic growth, a strong workforce with employee retention, and a more prosperous community for all,” explained Jeff Lang, 2018 Campaign Chair. “Kick Off is also a chance to celebrate who we are as a community and who we want to become.”
UWDC has made huge strides in providing free, educational resources to local families last year. These strides include bringing Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library—a program providing children (ages newborn to five years old) with a free monthly, high-quality book—to Delaware County residents. There are almost 1,000 children enrolled in the program.
Additionally, UWDC created Reading Clubs, placing passionate community volunteers in afterschool literacy clubs. Volunteers share their love of reading, while working alongside the students to improve their reading and comprehensive skills. UWDC runs three reading clubs for third graders at local elementary schools. The interventionist clubs change the trajectory of students’ reading skills early on.
About United Way of Delaware County
United Way of Delaware County, Indiana engages the community to improve lives by focusing resources on education, health, and financial stability. The nonprofit fights to create lasting change in community conditions. As the sponsoring organization for the community’s Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, United Way works to help children read at or above grade level by the end of their third-grade year. It is during this critical time that children transition from learning how to read, into being students who read to learn in order to be successful in school and life. United Way strategically invests in local programs that provide services that contribute to children’s success with reading and ultimately aim to end generational poverty in Delaware County. Learn more at invitedtoliveunited.org.