NMU United Way Campaign Begins
Two NMU students can personally attest that the United Way of Marquette County has made a positive difference in their lives … for two very different reasons.
Katie Collick is a business management major whose testimonial is featured in this year’s campaign video. One year ago, she was expecting a daughter and had no place to live. Collick was referred to Voices for Youth by the Women’s Center – both United Way agencies. Voices for Youth helped her obtain housing and enroll in classes at NMU.
“Without them, I don’t think I could be in college or where I am now,” said Collick, who also has a 2-year-old son. “Voices for Youth helped me get back on my feet. They set me up with a one-room apartment on Longyear pretty much the next day, and if I needed a ride anywhere, they got me there. There were people available that I could talk to, and a few nursing students from the program even came into my home and helped with the kids. Without them, I wouldn’t have a place to live and my children wouldn’t have a safe environment. I wouldn’t be in school either, and I thank them for this help. It’s boosted my self-esteem, and I feel like I’m a better person than I was. A lot of stress has been taken off because of them.”
Caitlin Ryan reaped a different kind of reward from her experience with the United Way. As a volunteer intern with the organization, she had a chance to serve on one of the panels that allocates United Way contributions to member agencies in Marquette County. What began as fulfilling a requirement for a social work class turned into much more than she expected.
“It really connected me with the community and made me realize that these agencies wouldn’t be able to offer critical services without community support,” Ryan said. “I didn’t realize the scope of what the United Way does. Many of us may not use their services now, and we should consider ourselves fortunate, but it’s nice to know they’re available. There’s a good chance that we, or someone we know, will be touched by what United Way agencies do. With the economy the way it is and government funding tapped out, community support is even more important to make sure these services don’t cease to exist.”
United Way contributions support 36 local agencies that address domestic violence and addiction services, elderly citizens and adults with disabilities, health awareness, unemployment and underemployment, and youth programs.
Many people have been compelled to go above and beyond their normal giving this year in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. NMU United Way campaign co-chairs Les Wong and Ken Godfrey (Athletics) said they are confident that the campus community will continue to play a leading role in addressing the ongoing needs of Marquette County residents.
The NMU campaign goal is $35,000 this year, and payroll deduction is available. Employees can gain free admission to the NMU-SVSU football game Oct. 22 by turning in a completed pledge form at the gate. Ticket takers will also have a list of those who submitted forms earlier, so that those individuals can be admitted to the game free of charge as well.