At United Way, we support 22 local agencies to help our community members build a better life.
Founded in 1963, the mission of FamilyMeans is to strengthen communities by strengthening families, whether defined by blood or by bond. The agency served 61 families in their first year, and now serves around 15,000 people annually. To put that number in context, the population of Stillwater is about 18,000.
FamilyMeans is dedicated to serving the needs of individuals and families who are facing challenging or changing circumstances. They do this by providing a wide range of programs for all ages. Financial Solutions (formerly Consumer Credit Counseling Services) helps people establish financial stability and to maintain it through budget counseling, debt repayment programs and other services. Counseling & Therapy services are offered at their welcoming Stillwater offices, in many schools throughout the area, and at the Center for Grief & Loss, which is a specialized mental health clinic in Saint Paul. Caregiving & Aging is a quickly growing program that provides education, respite and support for caregivers of those with a health problem, long-term illness or disability, such as dementia. FamilyMeans also offers Youth Development in the communities of Cimarron and Landfall, providing a variety of afterschool and summer activities. Finally, Employee Assistance teams with employers in Minnesota and Western Wisconsin to bring out the best in their employees by offering all of the above programs, as well as legal consultation referrals.
FamilyMeans serves all who request their help, regardless of their ability to pay. And with the wide range of services they offer, it’s more than likely that you or someone you know could benefit from one of their programs at some point in their life. United Way of Washington County East has a strong, long-standing partnership with FamilyMeans to provide their valuable resources to local families and individuals. Funding from UWWCE helps to continue the programs needed to strengthen families, which in turn strengthen our community. To learn more about FamilyMeans, call 651-439-4840 or visit www.familymeans.org.
In July 2015, Cancel Legal Care received its first funding from the UWWCE. Since that time, Cancer Legal Care has provided free legal services to 18 individuals residing in the funding area, and a total of 31 individuals in Washington County generally. One of these clients had only $7 left to her name when the disability benefits she had long been receiving were summarily denied. She contacted Cancel Legal Care and they were able to provide her with a volunteer attorney who got the disability benefits reinstated. UWWCE's support makes this life changing legal care happen. The social determinants of health (access to health care, access to employment opportunities, ability to meet daily needs) all have legal underpinnings, but disproportionately impact those who are the least able to afford the services of an attorney. The key to ensuring these non-medical, but health determinative issues are resolved lies in receiving legal care at a vulnerable time. Legal care has historically been missing from the concept of comprehensive cancer care even though it's precisely this help that greatly enhances a cancer patient's quality of life. Since October 2007, Cancer Legal Care has been changing this reality for the 2,373 Minnesotans who have received free legal care to address the many cancer related legal issues they face. The effect of receiving legal care at a vulnerable time translates directly into enhanced self-sufficiency by way of increased financial security and family stability. Funding from United Way of Washington County East helps to continue the financial support providing legal care services to families in Washington County dealing not only with a cancer diagnosis, but an attendant legal need as well. Funding from UWWCE allows Cancel Legal Line to conduct more outreach to cancer survivors in Washington County directly through enhanced collaborations with oncology care providers located in the Valley and continue to meet the growing need Washington County cancer survivors have for cancer related legal care.
National Rehabilitation Awareness week is September 17-23, 2017. This year's focus is on "Reaching Goals, Improving Lives". In our community, Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute - St. Croix partners with United Way of Washington County - East (UWWCE), to maximize health and independence, and empower people to realize their full potential. Our focus and vision are similar. For example, at UWWCE, our focus areas are Health, Youth, Education and Self-Sufficiency. Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute, part of Allina Health, offers a full range of services that address our focus areas, particularly in youth development and enrichment as well as health and self-sufficiency. Courage Kenny offers many support services for pediatric clients who live with disabilities or chronic disabling conditions, from newborns to age 18. With a focus on fun and play, therapists and other staff offer comprehensive services for youth living with disabilities. Courage Kenny is a valuable part of our community and one which UWWCE is proud to support. Outcomes show that youth participants in services at Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute - St. Croix become healthier, more independent and more engaged in life. With the help of the United Way of Washington County -East, the Institute served 984 children in our community last[WSG1] year. About 80% of these pediatric clients reached new goals, or maintained existing skills or health. Comprehensive, integrated and person-centered rehabilitation is the philosophy of all Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute locations. Therapists and other staff work with clients and families to maximize quality of life for people of all ages and all abilities. Funding from the United Way of Washington County-East helped provide a fully integrated continuum of services for more than 3,000 people with disabilities in 2015. Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute's goal is to maximize quality of life for people of all ages and all abilities, so that one day all people will live, work, learn, and play in a community based on abilities, not disabilities. United Way of Washington County-East is proud to support Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute - St. Croix, one of our 22 partner agencies that is making a profound impact in our community.
St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church is a non-profit organization which provides community support and funds for those in need in our community. For almost 20 years, St Andrews has been providing the Washington County area with various programs and initiatives that make our community a better place to live and work.
One of these programs, the St Andrews Community Resource Center (CRC) has been in operation for over 6 years. It is a free, integrated program of services to end homelessness and hunger. With support of the United Way of Washington County East, the CRC works to promote the distribution of basic needs to people in need in our community. St Andrew’s Community Resource Center offers immediate shelter, basic needs, individualized planning, and ongoing program of counseling. In 2015, the program fed or housed 1,853 people. St Andrew’s Resource Center focuses on a permanent end to homelessness, as a result, 90% of people who complete this program achieve long term housing stability. This attention to serving the needs of our community members makes St Andrews a unique and valuable part of our area.
Homelessness is an issue not only in our urban areas but throughout Minnesota. St. Andrew’s Community Resource Center sees this growing need and works to end it with high levels of effectiveness and efficiency. A testimonial from a participant of the program speaks well to the work done at St Andrews, “we are so thankful for St Andrews… the light at the end of the tunnel is bright and beautiful!”
One of our new partner agencies this year is Serve Minnesota, they have an amazing program called Minnesota Reading Corps that helps tutor our communities youth.
"One third grader gets incredibly excited whenever he sees me coming and always wants to show off how well he is reading. I'm happy that he's now spending more time reading at home and know that he's going to continue to improve."
- Allison W., ServeMN Reading Corps Tutor, Royal Oaks Elementary (Woodbury)
" Having a stable home meant everything to us; it allowed us to work and keep our kids in school" -Melody, Solid Ground HomeAgain participant #solidgrounf #buildbetterlives
"Thanks Julia for that information and for all that you have done for (student). You have really been the one person that she has connected with I am a huge supporter of the Wellness Center at the high school and am happy to help if you ever need me to be an advocate for the program. I think it should be staffed every day." -Individual at Youth Service Bureau
"38% of Valley Outreach's clients are children. With your support, we make sure they can get nutritious food as they grow!"
"Thank you for your great and gracious guidance, oversight, advice, administration and all-around grace given to me over the last four years. Getting into debt and dealing with the stresses of debt has been among the most stressful experiences of my life. I'm especially grateful for the guidance, problem solving and charitable presence of my counselor through this journey. Having someone who I could talk to face-to-face was wonderful!" - Client at FamilyMeans
This year Community Thread celebrates 50 years of service in the St. Croix Valley. As one of the first volunteer centers in the state of Minnesota, they continue to strengthen our community by harnessing the passion of volunteers and providing services that help older adults remain self-sufficient.
Research shows that when people are more socially connected, they live happier, healthier lives. Community Thread strives to build on that by creating a community where all people are engaged, enriched and connected.
One way that United Way of Washington County-East supports Community Thread is through their Older Adult Program. With locations in Stillwater and Bayport, Community Thread’s Senior Centers are friendly places where older adults receive support to remain independent and participate in community life through activities and volunteer opportunities.
Community Thread is also passionate about volunteerism. Their Volunteer Center makes finding the right volunteer opportunity a simple process using a searchable database that links volunteers to meaningful experiences throughout the St. Croix Valley. You may be familiar with Community Thread’s signature service initiatives – Spring into Service, River Rally, Rake a Difference Day and Holiday Hope. These events engage over 1,000 volunteers each year and support older adults, low-income families and local nonprofits – all right here in our community!
Volunteers also play a central role in helping Community Thread address the aging community’s needs. Through their Chore Services and Transportation Program they engage volunteers who assist with home maintenance tasks and provide transportation to medical appointments – services that are critical to helping older adults stay self-sufficient.
Thank you, Community Thread, for your commitment to creating self-sufficiency in our community!