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Most cases are never reported to police. Most cases we never hear about. Most domestic violence happens in homes behind closed doors. The average woman will take the abuse and attempt to walk away 7 times before gathering the courage to flee. With support from United Way of Southeast Missouri, 84 women and 37 children were given refuge in 2019 at the Safe House for Women, and 635 phone calls were made to the hotline for women experiencing abuse. 

October is Domestic Abuse Awareness Month. UWSEMO supports two programs at the Safe House. One helps prevent abuse by educating students about safe relationships, and the other helps with medical expenses for abuse victims fleeing to the shelter. This VIDEO offers a tour of the newly constructed Safe House for Women from the eyes of a woman seeking shelter, and this article shares a success story of a pregnant victim of abuse.

This year, a pregnant woman arrived at the shelter after her other children had been placed in foster care. The Safe House for Women employees were able to assist the client with initiating prenatal care and preparing for the arrival of her baby. After her delivery, she returned to the Safe House with her baby boy, where the staff connected her with Educare, another partner in our network, and she completed parenting classes. After seeking housing assistance with another UWSEMO partner, Community Partnership, the mother and baby are safe and thriving in their own home.

To help prevent the need for refuge in the first place, United Way of Southeast Missouri invests in the Choose Respect healthy relationships program for students in Southeast Missouri. Last year, 1,539 youth in 14 area middle and high schools were educated on what a healthy relationship looks like and how to recognize and leave one that is unhealthy. A Safe Dates program is offered in the shelter to help connect residents with one another and gain confidence in their ability to recognize unhealthy relationships. The goal is to empower residents as they rebuild their lives and stop the cycle of abuse. You can help victims who need shelter and other services within the United Way Network by choosing to Round Up your credit card expense or make a monthly donation 

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"The Salvation Army is a place of hope. When every other light is extinguished, and every other star has gone down, this one gleam shines steadily and clearly out in the darkened sky: ‘if I could only get to The Salvation Army, they will do something for me.'’ - William Booth

United Way of Southeast Missouri invests in The Salvation Army.

United Way of Southeast Missouri invests in three programs at TSA in Cape Girardeau. One provides a free meal to our neighbors in need; a second helps disaster victims in Southeast Missouri, and one cares for area youth after school. ‘The Army’ is similar to UWSEMO in that the large majority of their revenue goes directly to services that assist people in need, .82 of every dollar donated. 

“Doing The Most Good” is The Salvation Army’s national brand strategy and distinct identifiable message. Moreover, it is a promise the organization makes to its contributors, clients, associates, officers and employees. The Salvation Army pledges to Do The Most Good with your contributions of time, money and resources. 


United Way of Southeast Missouri’s support of The Salvation Army falls into our focus on income, although health and education certainly play a role in our collective efforts.


Meals with Friends  provides a free meal the last full week of every month except November and December to anyone in need. Lt. Matt DeGonia explains, “This lunch program allows us to meet the needs of those looking for a hot lunch and offers a place for the community to come and feel welcomed and loved. This program also allows for people to give back to the community, as volunteers are needed to help serve. Sign up yourself or your business by contacting The Salvation Army at 573-335-7000 or go to and in the search field type "Cape."


Emergency Disaster Services - while every disaster is unique and creates its own special needs, the core of The Salvation Army's disaster program consists of several basic services thats address many of the typical needs of a disaster survivor. Their services also can be adapted to the specific needs of individuals and communities and scaled to the magnitude of the disaster. When tragedy strikes in our community, The Salvation Army is on the scene, needing volunteers for behind-the-scenes and frontline work. Donations to UWSEMO enable Salvation Army personnel to assist disaster survivors right here in Southeast Missouri


Youth Ministries -Many participants in the after-school program supported by UWSEMO are able to experience opportunities they may not find anywhere else:  to play a musical instrument, create art, and play competitive games in a protected setting. The Salvation Army gives all youth a chance to experience educational enrichment, life skills development, and spiritual and physical wellness. Such experiences allow these at-risk children and adolescents to envision and pursue better futures. Salvation Army youth programs place special emphasis on activities that encourage character and life skills development. Through mentoring and education, disadvantaged children and teens are shown the possibility of a better life. It's often said that our youth are our leaders of tomorrow, we say that our youth are our leaders of today or there won't be a tomorrow.


The Salvation Army also helps with: 

Addiction Recovery 

Community Care Ministries 

Older Adult Ministries 

Missing Persons 

Salvation Army Camps 

Social Services 

Women's Ministries 

Youth Ministries 

Emergency Disaster Services 

Meals with Friends 

Family Store


During the holidays you most likely will see a red kettle and hear the ringing of a bell or two by a volunteer. This is one of The Salvation Army’s biggest fundraisers, and they need ringers! If your business is looking for something to do for the holidays as a group, adopt a kettle and ring the bell for Southeast Missouri 

If you don’t have two hours to ring a bell, set up an online red kettle and help them raise money from the comfort of your couch! 


We are proud to partner with an amazing organization doing great things for the less fortunate in our community. We hope when budgeting your donations for the holidays, you will consider the work of The Salvation Army and the 34 other programs vetted and supported by United Way of Southeast Missouri 


Happy Holidays from Team United

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"We've been able to rebuild who we were and regain who we are. Thank you," said a recent graduate of the Work Life program UWSEMO supports at One City.

Housed in a beautifully renovated white brick building with an eye-catching yellow door at 610 Independence in Cape, One City is a relatively new nonprofit of only two years. The building supports a dance class, occasional community events, and the Work Life program, which brings employment and dignity to its graduates.

On October 17th, One City held their Work Life Graduation and thanked United Way donors for contributing to the success of the Work Life program and, more importantly, to the success of its graduates. Christina Cheek started as the program coordinator in early August just as a new class of participants began their journey. The class met every Tuesday and Thursday from 9 AM –12 PM, frequently leaving with homework and accumulating 40+ hours of curriculum in six weeks. Participants cover a broad age span, and many have been unemployed for years.

What is extremely unique about Work Life is their curriculum; they do not start with interviews or resume building but something deeper. They begin with balance. They talk about what it takes to know who you are before you can go out and give others what you have to offer. Balance in life is compared to a house--there is a foundation with walls that hold you up as an individual. The foundation of the Work Life program is God, followed by your relationship with yourself, others, and your Work Life. If you can find a balance between these four relationships, then you are preparing yourself for greater success in life.

 Work Life students discuss how mistakes from their past have destroyed their house. In some cases, it was not even their own mistakes but the environment they were raised in or people they let into their lives. The students accept their mistakes as they embrace their self-worth and the gifts they have to offer. All of the graduates have found jobs and are proud of the work and talent they are able to contribute.

United Way of Southeast Missouri is proud to be part of a program that is lifting people up in such an amazing way. We believe in their mission and can’t wait to see what they and their graduates do next! 

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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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