Blog Home > Archive (January, 2015)

“It’s all right to tell a man to lift himself by his own bootstraps, but it is a cruel jest to say to bootless man that he ought to lift himself by his own bootstraps.”
-Martin Luther King, Jr.

-A lesser known quote by Martin Luther King, Jr., but one of my favorites. He recognized and understood that poverty was a condition of the society not a condition of the person. To tell a person they ought to be able to succeed, without looking at the external factors that are keeping them down, is misleading, a “cruel jest” in the words of Martin Luther King, Jr. The reality is that moving out of poverty, especially generational poverty, is difficult. A person is more likely to fall in to poverty than move out of it, despite their attempt to work themselves out of it.


The point that Martin Luther King, Jr. makes in this quote is that we must recognize the fallacy in believing a person can make it on their own, especially a person who has so little to work with in the first place. No one succeeds alone. I would argue that in every “rags to riches” or “self-made business man” story that you hear, there was someone in their life that helped make it happen, whether it was a mentor or someone who inspired them or motivated them, they did not just “make it” in isolation.


This enduring belief-that people can just pull themselves up out of poverty- is the very thing that perpetuates judgment and continues the myth that people in poverty are to blame for being in poverty. Martin Luther King, Jr. refers to it as a “jest,” a joke, referring to the obvious- that one thing cannot be done without the other.


The United Way of Southeast Missouri shares in Martin Luther King, Jr.’s recognition that people in poverty are not equipped to move themselves out of poverty on their own. Within our Income Focus Area, not only do we support efforts to increase financial stability in individuals and families, but we also work diligently to break down the myths and stereotypes of people living in poverty so that we can begin to focus instead on breaking down those barriers that are keeping people down. One way that we do this is through Poverty 101 in which we discuss the history of poverty, causes, and current national and local facts. Attendees also explore their own attitudes, beliefs, and values about poverty and the people who live in it. Interested in attending Poverty 101?, email Melissa Stickel at melissa.stickel@unitedwayofsemo.org

I’ll end with another great Martin Luther King, Jr. quote for you to ponder on:

“People fail to get along because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they have not communicated with each other.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Donor Spotlight: Nick Dacy

1. How long have you lived in this community?

I have lived in Southeast Missouri for about ten years now. 

2. What is your occupation?

I work as a computer and network technician at CPU, Inc. in Cape Girardeau. I also do the same type of work in the Army Reserve. 

3. What are you passionate about?

I am passionate about my family and friends...providing for them, protecting them, and teaching them to do the same for themselves. 

4. What are your hobbies?

I enjoy camping, hunting, and spending time with my 8 year old son. 

5. What do you love most about this community?

I love that there is always an opportunity to grow and improve our community. There are many ways for individuals to enhance themselves within our community as well. 

6. How long have you been a United Way donor?

I have just recently began donating. 

7. Why do you choose to support your community through United Way?

I know what it's like to be just out of reach of better things, a better life...knowing that sometimes the simplest of help can make all the difference in someone's live. No matter what I may or may not have going on in my own life, I always make sure that I make myself available to help someone else who needs it. By supporting United Way, I can help others through resources that may be of greater help than what one person alone can provide. 

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1. How long has your business been in operation?

We have had our business for 68 years.

2. What services does your business provide?

We provide retail home furnishings, mattresses, and home accessories, as well as having interior design services.

3. What do you enjoy most about being a small business owner?

We enjoy the personal touch we are able to provide to our customers. We are able to work with the customers on a one to one level and get to know them by name/family. People become friends and come back often. Also, as small business owners, we are able to make our own decisions in regard to the business without having to go up a chain of command.

4. What do you love most about this community?

The community has a small town feel, with all the big city conveniences. People in our community come together when others need help and they are willing to donate their time, their materials, and their labor to get the job done. The community is family oriented and you can get to know people as individuals and not just acquaintances or customers.  

5. Why do you choose to support your community through United Way?

We choose to donate to the United Way for their continued and constant support of those who are in need in our community. They are diversified in their aspects of support from children to the elderly and help with whatever a person needs and can help point them in the direction that they need/want to go. The United Way of Southeast Missouri is community based, with our support being used right in our area and the volunteers that help give their time, help and support where needed.

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1. How long have you lived in this community?

I've lived in Cape Girardeau for more than 12 years. However, I have family here and spent a lot of time in Cape growing up, so it has always felt like my second home (now it's my first!). When I moved here, I planned to live here for a couple of years and move on for my career, but this community has a way of making you never want to leave - now I don't plan to!

2. What is your occupation?

I've been the Director of Marketing & Wellness at Broadway Prescription Shop for 7 months. This is both a new job and career for me. I was previously at KFVS-12 for almost 12 years. It has been a busy, growing, learning 7 months for me and I'm loving it! Working for a local business, as well as a place that contributes to a healthier community, is so rewarding. 

3. What are you passionate about?

I'm passionate about creating a life that I love and spreading that to others. I think too often we get caught up in the stress of every day. I definitely do that myself sometimes too, but at the end of the day I try and make sure I'm doing the things that make me happy and try to be an influence in the lives of my kids, family, and friends to make sure they're doing that too. For me, enjoying the simple things with the people I love, working at a job I'm proud of, doing the things on my bucket list now, or being part of an organization like the United Way and other worthy causes makes me feel like I am truly making a difference in people's lives. 

4. What are your hobbies?

Most of all I like to spend time with my family and friends. I have a tight knit family and group of friends and I love to be around the people I love, preferably over a meal and maybe a glass of wine! Other than that, I enjoy shopping (local, of course!), traveling, and reading. 

5. What do you love most about this community?

I love the people. Cape is big enough to give you the opportunity to meet a lot of people in many different walks of life and have a chance to be involved in so many different ways, but small enough that you don't get lost in the crowd or have trouble making those connections. People here are just friendly and you truly feel like you are part of a community, not just living in a town. I love that I can go out to dinner and see at least a couple of people I know and they'll always have smiling faces or kind words. I also love our downtown. It's the heart of the community and it has been exciting to watch it grow in so many ways...giving me more and more reasons to spend my time there!

6. How long have you been a United Way donor?

I have been giving to United Way, whether through monetary donations or volunteer time, for about 8 years. I first learned about the organization and its local efforts through a workplace campaign. I was so moved that a couple of years later, I decided to start an event that could help give in an even bigger way - the 5KFVS. My work through that event and the money it raised for United Way was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life! 

7. Why do you choose to support your community through United Way?

We all know that there are economic, social and financial needs in our community and that some of our neighbors need our support. Sometimes it's hard to figure out how you can be that help and make a real impact at solving those needs. The United Way is the perfect place to do that. I love that one organization impacts so many! From serving seniors to helping kids to giving to those in rough times, the United Way is there. They go above and beyond and learn how to fix those problems rather than just put a band-air on them, which makes our community stronger. That's a group you want to be part of!

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With the onset of a new year, people are setting their New Year’s Resolutions.  Some may have already broken them! This year, set a resolution you can actually keep by resolving to be a little kinder.

Throughout the upcoming year, take every opportunity to brighten someone’s day, be unselfish, think of others, and show kindness. No matter how small the deed, kindness has a rippling effect of positivity and we all can use more of that in our lives.

Here are 10 ideas to get you inspired:

  1. Pay it forward: Pay for the person behind you at the drive-thru or counter. This can spark a chain of pay it forwards lasting for hours! Also, if you have not seen the movie, Pay It Forward, make an effort to watch it. It is very moving!

  2. Volunteer in your community. Whether it is a one-time project or an ongoing commitment, volunteering is giving something that you can never get back-your time. Visit our website for some volunteer opportunities in your community.

  3. Leave a generous tip when you go out to eat. Most waiters/waitresses are earning minimum wage or even less and relying on tips to make up the difference. Remind your waiter/waitress that they are important and that you appreciate the hard work they are doing at their jobs.

  4. Just smile. Smiling is contagious! Even though you may not be aware, people are responding to your facial expressions. Be conscious of the vibe you are putting out and aim to smile more often.

  5. Compliment someone. It feels good to get noticed and recognized and an unexpected comment may be just what someone needs to hear at that moment.

  6. Do something without being asked. Do something just because. Why not?

  7. Bake cookies and give some to your neighbor. We aren’t as “neighborly” a society as we used to be. Do you know your neighbors? Make an effort to visit your neighbors and get to know them. They may not get many visitors and your visit may lift their spirits.

  8. Offer to return the cart of a stranger who is unloading his/her car. Simple acts like this remind people that there is still good in the world. And, if you are going in, you will need a cart anyway!

  9. Donate food to a local pantry. With more and more people relying on pantries to ensure their families are fed, food pantries have a tough time keeping up with the demand. Adding a few extra cans to your cart when you do your shopping will be greatly appreciated by those in need. Remember, it’s okay to include some yummy items too. Most donations do not include these “extra” items, but we all deserve a treat every once in a while.

  10. Ask someone you wouldn’t normally ask how their day is going and genuinely mean it. With our busy lives it is easy to go about our business and overlook people. Think about some people you see throughout their day, that you may know very little about, except for their names, and have a conversation with them.  Give them your full attention for that time and show them they do matter.

Do not wait for Random Acts of Kindness Week to come around to be kind, and rather than be random, resolve to BE INTENTIONAL!

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SERVPRO JOINS 365 CIRCLE

1. How long has your business been in operation?

Cape Girardeau ServPro has been in operation for 22 years.

2. What services does your business provide?

Our business provides fire, smoke and water damage, carpet cleaning, and duct cleaning. Basically anytime type of cleaning we can do.  We also work closely with the Police department when they need us. 

3. What do you enjoy most about being a small business owner?

The opportunity to help people when they are in a time of need.  Helping people when they have disasters, large or small, gives us a great satisfaction.  Our job is to make it “Like it never even happened.”  We can’t always succeed but we try.

4. What do you love most about this community?

The community is friendly and welcoming.  It is definitely civic minded and is willing to give where ever it is needed. 

5. Why do you choose to support your community through United Way?

The United Way helps so many different organizations that help our community.  It is a great way to give back to the area that has been so willing to help others without having to give to all the individual groups.  We feel that our business OWES the community because they have the faith in us when they need help so we try to give back when we can.

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