The Phoenix Reporter and Item (http://www.phoenixvillenews.com)

In Chester County, we are blessed with benevolence


By Tonia Kulp, Guest Contributor

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Happy New Year, Chester County! We are blessed to live in such a benevolent community. Our volunteer spirit rivals that of any in the nation and our culture of caring is recognized by all citizens and visitors to our county.
United Way raises funds year-round to make sure that the human service infrastructure in Chester County is alive and well should any member of the community need assistance at any point in time. We wanted to take a moment and remind the community at large that we are not just here to raise money; we are here to serve those in need, regardless of age, sex, income, religious denomination, etc. And we know that need comes in many forms.
Alís quality of life improved when he began attending health and wellness classes at Phoenixville Senior Center. He enjoys book club, a hot lunch and yoga with friends. His support structure has expanded, and he looks forward to starting each day.
Janeís life took a turn when she was able to return to work after finding quality, affordable day care at West Chester Area Day Care Center. She can relax and focus on furthering her career, knowing that her son and daughter are being well cared for while she is at work.
Dental work from Community Volunteers in Medicine gave Joseph the winning smile and confidence he needed to successfully land his first, steady, full-time job. He was prepared with soft and hard skills, thanks to the work of the Chester County OIC and its essential life skills programs that prepare individuals for employment and self-sufficiency.
James was diagnosed with autism at one year of age and received support in a specialized early intervention classroom before transitioning to the classroom program at his preschool at age 3. Thanks to the services provided by The Arc of Chester County, James will graduate from the First Step Program and attend a local school district kindergarten next year. Any one of the individuals above could be our neighbor, cousin, brother, sister or grandfather. They each represent the diversity in Chester County that makes this community such a special place to raise a family. And they are all supported by United Way-funded programs.
Share the Warmth is just one of the many programs offered by United Wayís network of services that addresses lifeís most basic needs. It starts with shelter, but doesnít end there. Good Neighbors and Good Works provide the resources necessary to keep families safe and warm. There are 50-plus funded partners that received an allocation last year for their work in supporting the building blocks of a good life ó education, income and health. They are working to provide the basics ó and then some. Drug and alcohol counseling, domestic violence protection, information and referral, and legal and budget counseling help to round out the services so many in our community desperately need.
And remember, United Way is here for you.
To learn more about how to get involved or if you need help for someone you know or love, please call your United Way at 610-429-9400 or visit us online at www.uwcconline.org.
Thank you, Chester County, for another amazing year!