Mt. Vernon Register-News

October 12, 2013

United Way focuses on Community Impact



MT. VERNON —United Way of South Central Illinois' 2013 campaign "Community Impact" is focusing on people's immediate needs and creating lasting change, according to the organization's leadership team.

Community Impact is about improving lives of people affected by pressing issues. United Way of South Central Illinois will be doing it different this year by not centering on the measuring of the money raised, but by the impact it has on the community.

"It's not how many individuals are provided for and served," stated Lynn Hutchison, the organization's community resource director. "It is not how many programs or partners that are united. While both are important, the most crucial parts of United Way's work are bottom lines results, lives changed, communities strengthened and the futures that are shaped; hence the move toward community impact."

On Friday at the Ameren building on Broadway, where the United Way's thermometer is located, Executive Director Rhonda Edmonson, Hutchison, and campaign chair Norma Fairchild raised the thermometer to symbolize the achievement of reaching its second goal. The second goal is providing special radios for sight impaired and disabled.

The Southern Illinois Radio Information Service, SIRIS is a community service of WSIU Public Broadcasting which provides reading and information for individuals who are blind, visually impaired and print-disabled. Information states any person in the WSIU (91.9) or WVSI-FM (88.9) listening area whose eyesight or physical condition makes it impossible to read a newspaper or book qualifies.

"It really connects them back to their community." said Edmonson.

The broadcast can only be heard on a special radio receiver that is pre-tuned to the SIRUS broadcast.

United Way achieved the goal by funding more than 50 radios in the community which includes all the nursing homes in Mt.Vernon. These radios are also free to the citizens in the community that qualify.

Volunteers involved in the United Way play an important part in providing this service, according to the agency.

Volunteers who are interested in getting involved, have a love for reading, an understandable voice and can spend 30 minutes weekly reading a local newspaper are needed. A required orientation and short audition with staff is required. The audition includes reading a newspaper article.

For more information on how to become a volunteer reader, contact SIRUS at 618-453-2308.

For more information about United Way's campaigns contact them at 242-8000 or visit their Facebook page or web site.