Blog Home > Archive (October, 2019)
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Are you aware that domestic abuse isn't always violent?
 
Many times, an abuser will take things that are essential to a woman's self-confidence and independence, like dentures or eyeglasses, and withhold them as punishment or to keep her from leaving the house. Many victims in this situation do not have a network of family members or friends or may be too embarrassed to ask for help. That is why United Way of Southeast Missouri supports two programs at Safe House for Women. One helps with immediate medical and health needs, and the second is an education prevention program to create long-term impact and lasting change.
 
“This year we were able to provide five clients with eyeglasses. Many times, clients come to us without their glasses because their abusers have either taken them or broken them through violence. Being able to provide eyeglasses to our clients is a great boost to their confidence and enables them to drive and to work.” - Safe House for Women Director, Jessica Hill  
 
By supporting both Safe House programs, UWSEMO helps to address the immediate need and works to eliminate the behavior creating the need. Last year Safe House helped 68 victims of domestic violence and educated 2,298 students throughout Southeast Missouri on healthy relationships and how to safely leave one that is unhealthy.  
 
“One of the students who participated in the program wrote our educator a letter in which she stated that she had been abused by her brother. She said the program helped her to address what had happened to her and make sense of her experience.” - Safe House for Women Violence Prevention Educator
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Touching an Elephant

By now most of us have heard the story based on a poem by John Godfrey Saxe of several blind men touching an elephant for the first time, each touching a different part. The man touching the tusk believes it is a spear; the man touching the leg calls it a tree, while the man holding the tail identifies it as a rope, etc. As I begin my fifth year with United Way of Southeast Missouri, I realize our organization is the elephant in the room. Most of our community sees United Way, yet each person identifies with us differently. Despite our best efforts, very few understand the full picture, which can seem vast and complex. 

 

On the surface, what we do is quite simple. We collect resources to share with other nonprofit agencies and programs in Southeast Missouri. Primarily, these are financial resources, and many people in our community still think of us as an organization that simply raises funds. Much of the general public remains unaware of all that we give to our partners, extending far beyond writing a quarterly check. Employees at businesses that do not run workplace campaigns are equally uninformed of our efforts to give back to our workplaces that invest in our organization and network.  

 

Partner Perspective  

Throughout the year UWSEMO works hard to: 

    • Recruit volunteers and even staff for our partners who need them
    •  Host and promote drives to provide food or hygiene products 
    •  Help our partners tell their stories through our marketing and advertising and when we speak to workplaces
    •  Bring people into their agencies with our Live United bus tours and via our monthly newsletter
    •  Promote partner events and fundraisers
    •  Offer training to help them grow, such as bringing a professional to a meeting last year to discuss board recruitment and responsibilities at no cost to our partners. 

 

Workplace Perspective 

Did you know that we also give back to our workplaces? Many area employers believe it is important to encourage philanthropy in their staff. This could be based on personal values, but it also influences the bottom line: 

    • A recent national survey showed when businesses give employees the opportunity to give of their time and treasure, 64% report their experience was “one of the most positive components” of their overall job satisfaction. 
    •  Additionally, 85% of Americans have a more positive image of a company that supports a cause they believe in, and
    •  79% would switch from one brand to another if the comparable brand were connected to a good cause. 

United Way delivers volunteer opportunities to our corporate partners for individuals, as well as entire workplaces. We always share them when we are invited to a workplace kickoff, and we update them in our monthly newsletter. We also will create customized opportunities based on the passion and interest of employees, and we are eager to provide a private Live United Tour for your team. Just say the word! 

 

The Complete Picture 

Our businesses depend on the programs and services delivered by the United Way network to build a capable workforce. And our funded partners depend on our workplaces to support their work. This year we offered Leadership United to our workplaces to nurture philanthropy in emerging leaders. The program teaches the unbreakable connection between a strong economy and a strong community through professional developmentLeadership United is free to participants, thanks to funding from Montgomery Bank. The first meeting was our Live United bus tour last month; the next meeting is October 17th. If you are an employee who wants to participate or a manager committed to developing employees who lead from the heart, contact Raechel ReinitzGet more information and the full schedule here. It is not too late to enroll, and it is never too late to kick off your workplace campaign and explore ways we can engage your employees in giving back. 

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