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Contest: “I Called. I Got Answers.”

I got answers

United Way Marion County is hosting a contest this week on Facebook!

Starting now and ending 6/27 at 5pm, you can enter a drawing to win a LIVE UNITED t-shirt! Here’s how to enter:

1. Visit the United Way of Marion County Facebook Page and “Like” the page.

2. On the UWMC Facebook page, find the image on the right which will be posted on our wall. Share it on your wall.

That’s it! We will announce the winner on 6/30 on our Facebook page and the winner can come to the United Way office in Ocala to get their t-shirt.


Fight Summer Brain Drain!

books“… the best predictor of summer loss or summer gain is whether or not a child reads during the summer. And the best predictor of whether a child reads is whether or not he or she has access to books.” – Allington, Richard L. and McGill-Franzen, Anne. “Bridging the Summer Reading Gap,” Scholastic Instructor (2003, May/June).

This summer Marion County is arming our children with books to battle Summer Brain Drain! Did you know  (more…)

“Be The Change You Want To See In The World”

mentorWe have shared how volunteering is great for your health and for your career. Even with all this information about how being a volunteer can benefit us personally, we may still be hesitating.  Are you thinking, “Ok, I’m sold… but where do I start?’  Well, you’re in luck. The United Way Worldwide is asking you to take a pledge and we are going to help get you kick started with some tips on what to do and what not to do when getting started volunteering as a mentor.

What to Do:

1. Practice Active Listening

2. Try not to use the word “Should”  with yourself or your mentee.

3. Show up – Be on time and stay committed.

4. Have your own mentors – push your own growing edge.

5. Celebrate – During every interaction make sure there is at least one step of progress that is celebrated.

Are You Worried About Fraud?

SvsCAccording to a 2011 Assessment of the Needs of Elder Floridians,

“A majority of survey respondents (87%) expressed a considerable degree of concern about being a victim of consumer fraud or swindle. Despite high levels of concern for this issue, over one-half of elders surveyed (54%) were not familiar with programs to educate and protect them from abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation.”

Did you know that if you suspect fraud or have experienced fraud, 2-1-1 can connect you to your local, regional and national resources who can help you? (more…)

Do You Just Wanna Have Fun?

Special Olympics World Summer Games - Day SevenDid you know that there are dozens of opportunities to volunteer in Marion County and have fun through recreation programs? Volunteering is a great way to get exercise, laugh and relieve stress! This month you can volunteer with Marion County Special Olympics to help prepare for this summer’s 42nd annual Special Olympics Summer Games.

Oh But It’s Cold Outside

Cold Weather ShelterWith the temperatures dropping below 45, the Salvation Army has added in some extra cots to their community shelter to make more room for community members who are homeless to come in out of the cold.

Alice Hodgkins, the Director of the Center of Hope, let us know how all of us can lend a hand. They currently need donations of blankets, gloves, winter jackets, and knit caps. They also need volunteers to help out at the shelter for a variety of needs, please consider volunteering

When cold weather is in the forecast, it is important to remember the 5 P’s of Cold Weather Safety:

People: Dress in layers and wear a hat and gloves. It is important to try to stay out of the wind and to stay dry. Also, remember to check on young children and the elderly who are the most sensitive to cold weather.

Pets: Bring outdoor pets inside or give them a warm shelter to stay in.

Plants: Cover cold sensitive plants to protect them from the dangerous temperatures.

Pipes: Cover pipes and allow outdoor faucets to slowly drip to prevent from freezing and breaking.

Practice Fire Safety: Use safe heating sources indoors. Do not use fuel-burning devices such as grills; they release carbon monoxide, which is a deadly gas. Also, make sure to use space heaters according to their instructions and be attentive to open flames.


Happy-New-YearThe New Year is just a few short days away, consider making an early resolution and LIVE UNITED by giving to the United Way!

Here are a few great reasons why:

  • Your donation, combined with thousands of others, has the greatest possible impact.
  • All donations stay in the local community to address local problems.
  • Our grant process is led by community volunteers to ensure the greatest impact.
  • All funded programs are thoroughly reviewed for effectiveness and accountability.

LIVE UNITED: Volunteer Spotlight VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance)

KenVitaRetirement hasn’t put Ken Harper on the sidelines. Instead, for the past three years he has devoted himself to volunteering as a tax preparer with United Way’s VITA program. His 32 years as general manager of the Army and Air Force exchange service and 13 years with H & R Block as a tax specialist and trainer has proven to be invaluable to our VITA program. Ken assists with training new volunteers and mentors them as they prepare their first returns assuring accuracy and compliance with tax law. Additionally, Ken is a “Golden Hammer” with Habitat for Humanity, helping to build homes for families in need of a hand up.

Because of Ken’s dedication and that of a team of other VITA volunteers, Marion County residents saved over $234,300 in filing fees and $2,183,888 in federal tax refunds were returned to Marion County. Thank you Ken, for your faithful service to United Way’s VITA program!

What’s new at 2-1-1? Give Help: Live United

WhatsNewMost people think of 2-1-1 as a place to get help, but remember, it’s also a great place to Give Help! Are you a teacher looking for a one time event for your students to lend a hand? Dial 2-1-1. Are you recently retired and want to lend your expertise and wisdom to the community in your spare time? Dial 2-1-1. Are you changing careers and need some hands on experience to help transition? Dial 2-1-1.

We have opportunities ranging from support group facilitation, event planning, board of director positions, fundraising, answering phones and more!

Simply dial 2-1-1 at any time from any phone, or if you prefer looking online, visit our website.

LIVE UNITED: Marion Senior Services Volunteer Spotlight

HelenThis week we are joined by Marion Senior Services as they spotlight one of their phenomenal volunteers, a Meals on Wheels driver, Helen Helvenston.  She shares in her own words below why she loves to LIVE UNITED.

It was many years ago when a friend suggested that I ride along with her on her Meals on Wheels delivery route. I had just retired and was bored. It seemed like a different way to kill time. Little did I know that that invitation would open a new door in my world. (more…)

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