Theme for United Way reflects principles

Published 5:15 pm Saturday, July 19, 2008

“Live United.”

This is the new slogan for United Way of America, and we have adopted it this year for Freeborn County.

What does “Live United” mean to us? It means advancing the common good in Freeborn County. It is creating the opportunities for a good life for all by focusing on three things.

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1. Education: We need to help children and youth achieve their potential with education. This is done through quality child care, school readiness and academic completion, helping youth achieve their potential, and learning English.

2. Income: We need to promote financial stability and independence. This is done through increasing self-sufficiency among working families, maximizing income, increased savings, promoting independence, and financial assets for long-term stability.

3. Health: We need to improve people’s health. This is done through maternal health and infant well being, health care coverage and preventive health, and healthy youth development. We all need an education to be able to make a good income and without our health, it is hard to do either.

United Way volunteers have just finished the Week of Caring. Several projects were completed including washing windows for several seniors, cleaning carpet and walls at the Arc, and painting at the YMCA.

Tiffany Hagan and I would like to thank everyone who helped us with the float for the Third of July Parade. We want to especially thank Jody Larson, Galen Berg, the press room and paint room employees at Lou-Rich for making the sign for the float. We would also like to thank everyone who walked in the parade along side the float. People from Crime Victims Crisis Center, the Girl Scouts, Cedar Valley employees, Angie Eggum (last year’s co-chairwoman), and her daughter, and Corrine Applegate walked with the float.

Other events coming up will include the actual campaign kickoff on Sept. 11 at the Albert Lea Inn. The campaign will end on Dec. 31. We will have a dunk tank at the fair from 5 to 9 p.m. Aug. 1 and from 2 to 9 p.m. on Aug. 2. We are still looking for some more “dunkees,” so if you are interested in participating, please contact the United Way office. Keep the Fires Burning date has been set for Nov. 21 and the second Bowl-A-Thon family fundraiser will be Dec. 7.

As campaign chairwomen, my daughter, Tiffany Hagan, and I, are looking forward to participating and having fun with these activities. As the campaign begins, we plan to visit many businesses and local clubs to promote the “Live United” theme.

United Way has a policy against coercion. The United Way believes that the most responsive contributors are those who have the opportunity to become informed and involved. Well-planned campaigns with an effective communication program, conducted by committed volunteers, will ensure responsive contributors.

While the board of directors for the United Way of Freeborn County has always been unalterably opposed to coercion, the board recognized a responsibility to state the beliefs of the organization formally, as freedom of choice is a basic tenet of our democratic society.

With regard to all charitable solicitations, the United Way believes:

1. Giving is a personal matter and decision; whether individuals wish to give and how much they choose to give are up the individuals.

2. No form of coercion is acceptable, particularly that which includes any stated or implied effect on personal employment status.

The “Live United” focus this year will be on creating opportunities for people in Freeborn County to advance the common good for everyone. We will be focusing on giving, advocating and volunteering.

Through the United Way, we can do much more together than we can alone. Our gift, regardless of its size, when it is combined with the gifts of others, the resources of the United Way and United Way agencies, makes a real difference in the community so we can “Live United.”

Sue Berg is a 2008 campaign co-chairwoman for the United Way of Freeborn County.