Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Spring blooms results in the community

With spring flowers in bloom and summer on its way, people are coming outside to landscape and plant flowers. Last weekend we picked out flowers and plants to put in hanging baskets and flower beds. I also cleared the brush off my herb patch in the backyard. It’s always exciting to see the new sprouts, but with new growth there also come weeds. The hours of hard work are rewarding once I can see the herb plants again.

Spring time at United Way calls for hundreds of volunteer hours, and they’re not spent tending a garden. Instead, people from all walks of life throughout our area give the community their time to help decide which programs will receive funding in 2008. Currently funded programs, as well as new ones, submit an application which includes mission, goals, budgets, results and number of people served in North Wood County, Neillsville, Stratford and Spencer.

These volunteers read the applications in-depth, taking time to learn about Partner Programs, our community’s needs and results accomplished in the previous years. It’s armed with this information that they evaluate applications and make recommendations. Everyone takes this role very seriously because they know they are trusted to make the decision that will make the greatest impacts in the community.

Impact means getting to the heart of a problem to create long lasting change in the lives of people and our community. United Way funding isn’t about throwing money at a quick fix. We want to find out why a situation is happening in the first place and set something in place to prevent it.

It’s like maintaining a garden; the weeds prevent my herbs from thriving. In order for the plants to get rain and sunshine, I need to get down on my hands and knees and pull out all the other weeds stealing the nutrients. This stops the problem temporarily. To prevent the weeds from coming back I need to lay down mulch to stop it from choking out the herbs again. And the results are healthy, flourishing plants.

It’s exciting to see results from the current programs and new initiatives they are undertaking. Have you seen the results? They’re everywhere in our community. Elementary students are receiving preventative dental care, youth of all ages are participating in after school activities and homebound residents are receiving daily hot, nutritious meals, to mention only a few.

We are working together to change lives and make the Marshfield area a better place for people to live and work. United Way programs and volunteers are addressing critical issues facing our family, friends and neighbors every day, during every month of the year … that’s what matters.

If you are interested in attending Vision Councils or volunteering talents and skills you would like to share with United Way or one of the Partner Programs call 394-9992. To learn more about Marshfield Area United Way’s Impact Process and how we’re at work in the community, visit marshfieldareaunitedway.org or email unitedway@tznet.com.