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United Fund Part 5: Improving communities

Pat Krause • Sep 20, 2019 at 8:00 AM

The mission of the Norwalk Area United Fund is to improve the quality of life in the communities we serve. So, how do we measure the quality of life? Some may answer by saying it means different things to different people, but I propose that there are some basic ingredients that must be included.

The first may seem obvious, but the ability to provide for our most basic needs of food, shelter, and safety rise above everything else when it comes to quality of life. For most in our community, this is not a big concern but for a significant number, it’s a reality. The United Fund remains committed to helping meet these fundamental needs. Programs we support that address these necessities include Senior Transportation, Meals on Wheels, CAC Emergency Shelter, the Miriam House, the Salvation Army programs; Summer Feeding and Social Services. We will fund a new program this year at Catholic Charities that will provide emergency financial assistance in unique circumstances where there is no other help. We also provide a Basket Basics program with needed personal hygiene items and through the Red Cross we are able to help our neighbors in times of disaster. But meeting basic needs can’t stop here. Helping includes creating opportunities for people to provide for themselves once the crisis passes.

Which leads to the second ingredient in quality of life; education. Education is much more than attending school as a young person (a right we take for granted in this country). Education means having the opportunity to achieve our full potential. It means figuring out how to be the best version of ourselves in every relationship, activity, and situation. It involves learning how to take care of yourself in many ways. It means understanding the impact the choices we make have on those around us.

Education requires not only the desire to grow inwardly but having the right person or group encourage us to discover that desire and to support us as we learn. It’s been said that knowledge is power and self-knowledge promotes mastery over ourselves and allows us to use our skills to meet our basic needs and then to help others do the same. The United Fund supports Reach Our Youth, KinderCasa, Pathway to Hope, Age Exchange, 123 Read to Me, the Norwalk Childcare Center. These programs provide ongoing support and resources so that people can learn and grow and become who they are meant to be. We will also continue our Tool Time Scholarships, given to graduating seniors entering the working world and in need of a hand up to get started in a trade of their choice.

Which of course leads to the next ingredient in quality of life; community. By definition it involves people living and working and planning together. It means caring about one another. The United Fund supports programs that demonstrate this caring community; Cancer Services assistance to patients, Kidney Foundation patient assistance and Catholic Charities Adult Advocacy Services. In fact, all of the programs we support have at their core, the desire to share and impact the quality of life of those they serve.

So there you have it, my recipe for quality of life: Having basic needs met, the knowledge to help myself and to continue learning and growing throughout my life, and living in a community where people care about one another. Together, we can make our community that community. Your donation does make a difference.

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