Dec. 4, 2018


Family Guidance Center Executive Director Ann Peele looks through the agency’s scrapbook, remembering years of 
the staff working to improve the lives of local families. The center celebrated its 60th anniversary on Dec. 5. 

Family Guidance celebrates 60 years of providing a circle of support

 

BY JOHN BAILEY

Catawba County United Way

 

It’s probably a moment every therapist hopes never to experience, a client threatening to kill themselves.

For Ann Peele, the moment came in 1982 while on staff at the Family Guidance Center (FGC) in Hickory. A 15-year-old girl wasn’t dealing well with her parent’s divorce, quickly spiraling into a deep depression. She became resentful of her mother and eventually everyone else.

The girl would go entire sessions at Family Guidance without even speaking. Then at one session she locked herself in the bathroom.

“She said she was going to take pills, she was going to kill herself,” Peele said. “I was able to talk her down and bring her back out, and we hospitalized her for a brief time.”

Peele reminded the teen there were always paths of hope, and the Family Guidance Center staff would always be there to help.

This is the kind of community impact and legacy of service, the Family Guidance Center celebrated its 60th anniversary on Dec. 5 at the Lake Hickory Country Club.

Established in 1959, the center started as a family counseling agency by community leaders and the Hickory Service League, according to fgcservices.com. As needs changed, it evolved into a multi-services agency.

In addition to individual and family counseling, other programs now include domestic violence services, a shelter for battered women, sexual assault services, consumer credit/housing counseling services and a Nurturing Adolescents program.

Originally, Family Guidance focused on individual and family counseling. In the 1970s, the state decided every county should have a mental health center, and the county urged Family Guidance to expand and provide those services. The new entity came under the name Family Mental Health Services.

Then in the 80s, Family Guidance Center broke off and became a standalone agency again. Peele said one reason for the split was because FGC was beginning to lose its identity as a private non-profit.

The next significant change to the agency was the addition of a shelter for battered women.

Peele has been the executive director since 1983 and describes Family Guidance Center, a Catawba County United Way funded partner since the 1960's, as a circle of support.

“It takes a lot of guts to come into a place and say you need help,” Peele said. “They may be seeing a therapist and begin to trust us, so when they disclose to their therapist they’re having financial problems, it’s not difficult to say let’s just walk across the hall and talk to our financial counselor.”

The consumer credit program was born out of the financial problems the country faced in the 1970s. More recently, Family Guidance Center helped more than 160 families stay in their homes during the 2008 recession.

Even though the economy has rebounded in recent years, the FGC staff has learned to stay vigilant.

“We’re seeing an increase in the use of credit cards again,” Peele said. “We’re finding people are still doing the same things they were doing before the recession. They’re charging up to their eye balls, so we know what’s going to happen there.”

To stay ahead of this problem, Family Guidance is refocusing on its debt management program to help families pay off their debts and get financially stable.

Peele is looking to retire at the end of this year, but she’s thankful for all those individuals and families she’s helped, including the teen who tested her so many years ago. 

Eventually through counseling, the girl accepted her parent’s divorce and Peele continued to work with the teen, earning the girl’s trust.

Their relationship came full circle seven years later when the girl, then a mother herself, went back to Family Guidance looking for some family counseling advice for her and her husband on being brand new parents.

“She said she came back because this was the place where she was accepted. This was where she found a reason to live,” Peele said.

Family Guidance is all about building trust and Peele knows the staff will continue to succeed one life at a time for another 60 years and beyond.

For more information about Family Guidance Center, visit fgcservices.com or call 828-322-1400.

 

Nov. 21, 2018

The Catawba County United Way has its vintage 1920s sleigh set up at the Hickory Furniture Mart, 2220 Highway 

70 SE, as a toys drop-off point for this year’s Christmas Bureau.

 

Local non-profits and businesses work together to bring some holiday cheer


BY JOHN BAILEY

jbailey@ccunitedway.com


While many of us count our blessings as we shop for the perfect spiral ham or a Christmas tree, it’s a good time to start thinking about having an impact in our community by helping those who may be struggling this year.

One way to do this is to support the 2018 Christmas Bureau.

The Catawba County Christmas Bureau is a collaborative effort by several Catawba County agencies and organizations focused on letting local families in need know they are not alone.

The Bureau pools its resources to provide toys, clothing and coats to children and teenagers during the Christmas season.

The Salvation Army of Hickory is one of the agencies who collect the items directly, using the Angel Trees. They can be found at all the area Walmart Super Stores and in Valley Hills Mall.

The Angel cards are available as well any time at The Salvation Army’s administration office – 750 Third Avenue Place SE in Hickory off Lenoir Rhyne Boulevard – and there are stockings available at the office to pick up, fill and bring back.

The Salvation Army’s goal is to provide every child with at least two gifts and an outfit through help from the community, Hickory Salvation Army Captain Bethany Delaney said.

The Catawba County United Way also has its vintage 1920s sleigh set up at the Hickory Furniture Mart, 2220 Highway 70 SE. It is another toys drop-off point for this year’s Christmas Bureau. The sleigh will be at the site from Nov. 19 to Dec. 14.

The local U.S. Marine Corps Reserves Toys for Tots program collects for the Christmas Bureau and the Hickory Police Department’s Cops for Tots campaign.

However, the coordinating officer for the local Toys for Tots, Derek Dawson, said the group never turns down requests from an orphanage, school or social organization where under privileged children need of toys for Christmas.  

“Our motto is every child deserves a little Christmas and our mission is to make that happen,” Dawson said in an email to the Catawba Co. United Way.

Visit https://hickory-nc.toysfortots.org/ for the nearest Toys for Tots drop-off site.

The Salvation Army also sponsors a coat drive for the Christmas Bureau.

The cleaners they use as drop-off points for the Coats for Kids drive are:

A Cleaner World - 1009 2nd St. NE in Hickory,

Highland Cleaning Center - 1031 16th St. NE in Hickory,

Kelley's Village Cleaners - 232 S. Main Ave. in Newton

Professional Cleaners - 133 3rd St. NW in Hickory,

Quality Cleaners & Laundry - 2643 NC-127 in Hickory,

Wyke's Cleaners - 1413 2nd St. NE in Hickory,

Wyke's Cleaners - Hwy 127 S in Hickory,

Modern Cleaners  - 113 E B St. in Newton,

CV Cleaners - 508-1 10th St. NW in Conover.

There are drop-off spots as well at Valley Hills Mall in Hickory and at local schools.

For more information visit www.salvationarmycarolinas.org/hickory/ or call 828-322-8061. You can also call the Catawba County United Way’s office at 828-327-6851.


 

Nov. 13, 2018


Major Steptoe shares his story of living homeless in Hickory and finding hope at the Hickory Soup Kitchen.

 

Hungry and homeless, looking for a hand up


BY JOHN BAILEY

jbailey@ccunitedway.com


For the last four months Major Steptoe, 58, has been homeless in Hickory, bouncing from shelters to the streets.

In that time, he’s had to have seven of his teeth pulled and had a bout with pneumonia. He’s slept in the rain, in the cold but he still has a reason to smile – the Hickory Soup Kitchen.

It’s important to have at least one person believe in you, and he said he’s found several at the soup kitchen.

“Keep your donations coming because it provides a lot of hot meals, clothing and it provides hope for people who feel like they’re on their last footing in life,” he said.

Steptoe is one of many homeless in Catawba County and an example of why the National Coalition for the Homeless and the National Student Campaign Against Hunger and Homelessness started Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week in 1975.

Their goal was to raise awareness of these issues across the country the week prior to Thanksgiving and inspire more people to get involved in trying to help, according to hhweek.org.

“Nobody deserves to feel hopeless…but some people just don’t care. They stick their nose up at you and look at you like you’re trash,” Steptoe said. “We’re all human. God put us here to love one another, help one another.”

In Catawba County there are many resources like the Hickory Soup Kitchen who help create an immediate bridge between needs and resources.

Then there is the Housing Visions Continuum of Care group made up of several local agencies and programs who address the overall picture of hunger and homelessness in the county.

One of these agencies is the Western Piedmont Council of Governments (WPCOG). It deals with helping those in need find affordable housing, an issue their addressing this Thursday with its annual Landlord Information Workshop.

The housing market has changed considerably in recent years. Regional Housing Authority Specialist Kala Guido has seen the number of people who get a housing voucher compared to the number who actually use them decrease in the last four years. The numbers have gone from 34 percent to 15 percent.

“A lot of the times the reason they’re not submitting any paperwork on where to live is because they can’t find something affordable or they can’t find someone who accepts a voucher at all,” Guido said.

There are 1,074 vouchers allocated this year for all four counties.

Guido said the problem is the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) hasn’t increased its standards in several years while the fair market rent has gone up.

It’s hard to ask someone to rent their unit for $800 when their mortgage is $850.

One way the WPCOG works to increase the number of landlords and renting agencies who accept Section 8 housing choice vouchers is through its landlord workshop. For more information call 828-485-4282.

Between the four counties, the housing authority pays between 500 and 600 landlords every month.

Last year, more than 8,000 calls were placed to the United Way’s 2-1-1 community help line asking for information about low-cost housing and more than 11,000 calls were made about shelters, according to nc.211counts.org.

To help understand the scope of the issue in the county, the Housing Visions Continuum of Care is preparing to conduct the annual count of homeless individuals. It’s an attempt at collecting data to identify gaps in services as well as barriers that prevent individuals and families from becoming successfully housed, according to a Housing Visions release. 

During the process, homeless individuals and families are provided with some much-needed items which are collected from the community. For more information about making a donation, call the Catawba County United Way at 828-327-6851 or Partners Behavioral Health Management at 828-323-8084.

According to last year’s count, there were 283 homeless individuals living in the county.

Steptoe doesn’t hesitate to explain how he got to where he is, living on the streets. He had a drug problem that took control of his life. He admits there were times when he felt like throwing in the towel, but he found help.

It was just a month ago when he walked past a local church one evening and it was having a service on exposing your inner enemies and something compelled him to go to the church and dedicate his life to Christ.

“Don’t treat me like a piece of dirt. I may be dirty but I’m not a piece of dirt,” he said. “I greet everybody with a smile and a kind of word. You never know but that kind word at that moment may uplift that person and give them hope.”

LOCAL RESOURCES

Food Pantries

DSS Meals on Wheels:828-695-5610

Greater Hickory Cooperative Christian Ministry: 828-327-0979

Eastern Catawba Cooperative Christian Ministries: 828-465-1702

Good Samaritan Food Pantry – Mt. Pisgah Church: 828-495-8251

Crisis Pantry – Women’s Resource Center: 828-322-6333

Christian Community Outreach Ministries (by appointment only): 828-328-1803

Sherrills Ford Community Food Pantry and Clothes Closet: 828-478-9625 

Hot Meals

Salvation Army – Shelter of Hope, breakfast and dinner: 828-322-8061

Hickory Soup Kitchen: 828-327-4828

The Corner Table Soup Kitchen (Newton): 828-464-0355

Safe Harbor Rescue Mission (women and children only): 828-326-7233

Highways and Hedges Ministry:  twice monthly dinner meeting with a gospel message and distribution of free groceries or toiletries/cleaning supplies, 828-781-8095/highwaysandhedgesnc.com

Shelters

Salvation Army: 828-322-8061

Family Guidance Center (domestic violence shelter for women):  828-228-1787

Safe Harbor Rescue Mission (day only/women and children only): 828-326-7233

Exodus Homes (men or women exiting treatment programs or prison): 828-324-4870

Sipe’s Orchard Home (homeless teens): 828-256-5056

Affordable Housing

Western Piedmont Council of Governments (HUD Section 8): 828-322-9191

Family Care Center (families with children/emergency and transitional residential program): 828-324-9917 or fcchickory.org.

National Center for Homeless Veterans: 1-877-424-3838

City of Hickory Public Housing Authority: 828-328-5373

NC Housing Search: www.nchousingsearch.org

General Help Line: United Way, dial 2-1-1 or visit NC211.org

 

Nov. 6, 2018


Volunteers who helped with this year's Giving from the Heart Volunteer Awards, from left: Linda Wright, Patsy 

Carver, Diane Hawn, Peggy Townsend and Alverta Stephens. John Bailey/CCUW


United Way recognizes volunteers who give from the heart


BY JOHN BAILEY

jbailey@ccunitedway.com

 

From mentoring local students, to feeding the hungry and homeless, to providing emotional support where it’s needed the most, volunteers are the backbone of any community.

Every year the Catawba County United Way Volunteer Center encourages local non-profits, not-for-profits, churches, individuals and local businesses to shine a light on some of their most impactful volunteers through the annual Giving from the Heart awards, held at the Catawba Country Club in Newton.

This year’s winners included: Individual Volunteer – Paul Loftin, nominated by Senior Nutrition Services; Group Volunteer – Augustine Literacy Project tutors, nominated by Patrick Beaver Learning Resource Center and Youth Volunteer – Alex Fisher, nominated by The Corner Table.

There were a total of 20 individuals, six groups and five youth nominated for their work.

“We couldn’t do it without them,” Hickory Soup Kitchen Director Austin Pearce said of the volunteers at his agency.

Pearce nominated David Blodgett this year, pointing out Blodgett’s unwavering dedication to helping others, a common trait in all the 2018 nominees.

“When you need him the most, he’s always there,” Pearce said.

Overall, he said his volunteers all have “skin in the game” and a sense of ownership in the mission of the soup kitchen.

“They inspire me and the staff to take what we do and push it to another level, moving forward every day,” Pearce said.

The 2018 Giving from the Heart individual nominees include: Marian Baer – nominated by Family Guidance Center, Gayle Barnwell – nominated by Safe Harbor Rescue Mission, David Blogett – nominated by Hickory Soup Kitchen, Cindy Boger – nominated by Council on Adolescents, Bruce Deese – nominated by Eastern Catawba Cooperative Christian Ministry, Kelly Fulcher – nominated by Safe Harbor Rescue Mission, Thomas Griffis – nominated by Patrick Beaver Learning Resource Center, Gail Hildebran – nominated by Historical Association of Catawba County, Becky Less – nominated by Children’s Advocacy & Protection Council, Paul Loftin – nominated by Senior Nutrition Services, Stephanie Logan – nominated by Hickory Public Schools, Chrisanne Mitchell – nominated by Patrick Beaver Learning Resource Center, Janice Poovey – nominated by Safe Harbor Rescue Mission, Darlene Sanders – nominated by Exodus Homes, Jerri Sherril – nominated by Safe Harbor Rescue Mission, Deana Simmons – nominated by Safe Harbor Rescue Mission, Charles Stinnett – nominated by Greater Hickory Cooperative Christian Ministry, John Watts – nominated by Catawba County Partnership for Children, Jimmy “Cowboy” Weaver – nominated by The Corner Table Soup Kitchen and Alice Williams – nominated by Patrick Beaver Learning Resource Center.

Group nominees include: Alvin and Debbie Benge – nominated by Safe Harbor Rescue Mission, Augustine Literacy Project Tutors – nominated by Patrick Beaver Learning Resource Center, Hickory Police Department – nominated by Council on Adolescents of Catawba County, Lenoir Rhyne University Athletics – nominated by Council on Adolescents of Catawba County, Lisa and Will Johnson – nominated by Catawba County 4-H and Woodlawn Baptist Church Student Ministry – nominated by Safe Harbor Rescue Mission.

Youth nominees include: Alex Fisher – nominated by The Corner Table, Joanna Kanupp - nominated by Cooperative Extension 4-H, Tessa Phelps - nominated by Safe Harbor Rescue Mission, Jasmine Thao - nominated by Safe Harbor Rescue Mission and Alexy Trott - nominated by Centro Latino.

The 2018 NC Governor’s Medallion nominees from Catawba County were recognized: Youth Category – Katherine Ellis; Individual – Debra Farrer; Goup – ECCCM Food Pantry volunteers and Lifetime Achievement – J. Don Coleman, nominated by Hickory Choral Society.

This year’s guest speaker was Maggi Woods, a policy and program manager at the Institute for Emerging Issues at NC State University.

Sponsors for 2018 include Premier Partner – Piedmont Natural Gas, Gold Partner – Peoples Bank, Silver Partner – Century, Bronze Partner – Rink & Robinson Certified Public Accountants and Consultants.

 

 

Oct. 26, 2018

Renee Neal, CVCC Student Advocacy Response Team director, introduces the guest speakers at a Family Guidance 

Center’s First Step Domestic Violence Program. Back from left: Director of the FGC’s Sexual Assault Program Britnee 

Varguson, District Court Judge Amy Walker and Superior Court Assistant District Attorney Jamie Adams. Not pictured: 

LaWanda Brown, Interim Executive Director for the Family Guidance Center. John Bailey/Catawba Co. United Way


Round-table discussion shines light on domestic violence awareness

 

BY JOHN BAILEY

jbailey@ccunitedway.com

 

Listening to a 9-1-1 recording of a crying six-year-old girl describing how her step-father was beating her mother suddenly pushed the issue of domestic violence beyond a stack of facts and figures for the audience at Catawba Valley Community College on Oct. 24.

The round-table discussion was part of an October domestic violence awareness month event organized by Family Guidance Center’s First Step Domestic Violence Program.

Guest speakers included: Renee Neal, CVCC Student Advocacy Center; District Court Judge Amy Walker; Jamie Adams, Superior Court Assistant District Attorney; LaWanda Brown, Interim Executive Director for the Family Guidance Center (FGC) and Britnee Varguson, Director of the FGC’s Sexual Assault Program.

The 9-1-1 call Brown played for the audience illustrated the point she wanted to make about hidden victims of domestic violence, children.

“They might not have been directly assaulted, but they’re certainly secondary to the trauma,” Brown said.

Last year, 1,548 new clients were helped by the First Step Program with staff responding to 2,116 crisis calls overall, according to a FGC report.

The program kept 147 women and children safe in its domestic violence shelter with 80 percent of shelter residents eventually exiting into safe homes.

In 2017, there were 79 domestic violence related deaths in North Carolina with two in Catawba County, according to the North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

While physical violence is the most obvious side of this issue, Brown said emotional abuse is equally damaging.

She described what is known as “gas lighting,” where the abuser tricks the victim into distrusting his or her own memory or perceptions, making them easier to control.

“It’s a slow grooming situation where that power is taken by one partner over the other,” Brown said. “Sometimes it can blindside the other partner.”

Judge Walker knew what domestic violence looked like first-hand. She had a high school friend who died in a murder-suicide.

She and Brown have worked together for years to help judges have as much information as possible when somebody is arrested in Catawba County, and a bond is going to be set.

“We want to know whether or not a person has a history of being violent,” Walker said. We want to know whether or not there is a pending civil protective order or if there is a pending custody case.”

These help a judge avoid letting someone out who is dangerous.

“We’re not a perfect system, but we’re working on it,” Walker said.

She explained a Civil Protective Order is an important step in helping shield victims financially and emotionally and separating them from their abuser, but it has its limitations.

“It doesn’t stop bullets. It doesn’t stop bats,” Walker said.
This is why she stressed the importance of having a safety plan for anyone preparing to seek this kind of action. It would include having a safe place to go, having a support system through agencies like Family Guidance and knowing where shelters are located.

Assistant District Attorney Adams said she was surprised by what she learned during her time in Mecklenburg County where she sat on the domestic violence fatality review team.

“One thing that was really astonishing to me, is the majority of the time, there were more people who knew about the nature of that relationship than just the abuser and the victim,” Adams said. “Nobody said a thing, nobody acted as a resource.”

A mistake some people make is thinking an abuser can be spotted easily. Adams said she’s heard victims describe their abuser as a charming, amazing and thoughtful person.

“Gradually, things take a terrible turn and before they know it, they look around and they’re in an extremely abusive relationship,” Adams said.

Some red flags she told the audience they could look for in someone who could be abusive include: controlling household finances, isolating the victim from friends and family and play fighting.

“What an abuser is doing in their mind when they do that is thinking about the limits they’re able to push with you,” Adams said.

The one fact everyone on the panel stressed to the audience was domestic violence can happen to anyone.

The FGC will host its annual candlelight vigil on Oct. 30 at 7 p.m. at Discovery Church in Newton to celebrate survivors and remember victims of domestic violence.

The Family Guidance Center, a Catawba County United Way funded partner, provides support to families and children in times of stress. Founded in 1958 as a counseling agency, it has evolved into a multi-services agency. Visit fgcservices.com for more information.

 

Oct. 22, 2018


The Catawba County United Way recently helped Shurtape Technologies donate a dozen Automated External 

Defibrillators by connecting the Hickory company with Adult Life Programs. Pictured: Mark Bumgarner, executive 

director of Adult Life; Meghan Lawton, director of development; Deb Hill Adult Life board member and Rick Kilpatrick, 

Shurtape safety manager.


Shurtape donates a dozen AEDs to Adult Life


BY JOHN BAILEY

jbailey@ccunitedway.com


Peace of mind is what Adult Life Programs’ Executive Director Mark Bumgarner said he and his staff recently got when they received the gift of 12 Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) from Shurtape Technologies.

“We serve a number of very medically fragile and medically vulnerable persons. We actually recognized some time ago, we needed the type of infrastructure that AEDs provide, and we could only afford one unit,” Bumgarner said.

The reality was they wanted to have enough AEDs for all three centers (Conover, Maiden, Hickory) and spread them out among its fleet of 14 passenger vans used to transport between 190 and 200 clients a week. The AED units can cost more than $1,200 each.

The devices will complement the Adult Life staff’s CPR training they already receive.

The agency’s programs provide a safe, supportive environment through a variety of activities for individuals, 18 or older, who generally cannot be left at home alone during the day. 

The Catawba County United Way (CCUW) helped connect Shurtape with Adult Life, a CCUW funded partner, when the Hickory company decided to look for a new home for its one dozen Physio-Control LIFEPAK 500 AEDs. Shurtape Technologies manufactures adhesive tape and consumer home and office products.

Safety Manager Rick Kilpatrick said Shurtape had an opportunity this year to upgrade and replace all its existing units.

Kilpatrick said the AED is one of the best tools to have in case of a cardiac arrest, and it’s one anyone can use in an emergency.

“It gets the rhythm of the heart back into its normal rhythm and typically allows the individual to have a recovery they might not have without that immediate response,” Kilpatrick said.

Sudden cardiac arrest is one of the leading causes of death in the U.S with more than 350,000 people expected to suffer from it this year, according to redcross.org. For each minute defibrillation is delayed, the chance of survival is reduced approximately 10 percent.

“While many of our participants may not have specific cardiac conditions, they have other conditions that compromise their heart,” Bumgarner said.

Adult Life Programs provide services to individuals with a disability of any kind such as cerebral palsy or Down Syndrome, accident victims, the elderly, Alzheimer/dementia patients and adults who are socially isolated.

“As other United Way agencies will tell you, we are dependent on support from the community to really accomplish our mission, so this kind of connection the United Way gave us, to a company that wanted to invest in their community, is vital to the well-being of our participants,” Bumgarner said.

For more information about Adult Life, visit adultlifeprograms.com or call 828-326-9120.


 


Oct. 16, 2018

 


Family Guidance educates public during domestic violence awareness month

 

Throughout the month of October, Family Guidance Center’s First Step Domestic Violence Program holds several events and educational activities to help increase the awareness and understanding of this issue.

Last year, 1,548 new clients were helped by the First Step Program with staff responding to 2,116 crisis calls overall, according to a Family Guidance report.

The program kept 147 women and children safe in its domestic violence shelter with 80 percent of shelter residents eventually exiting into safe homes.

Family Guidance Center, a Catawba County United Way funded partner, kicked off the month’s activities with a special event on Oct.9 on the lawn of the center’s main office in Hickory.

The Center revealed the purple purse designed by Serena Williams to be used throughout the month in conjunction with the annual Allstate Purple Purse Challenge.

It unites nonprofits in a competition to raise funds for life-changing services to help domestic violence survivors, according to purplepurse.com.

At present, over 260 domestic violence programs nationwide are involved in the challenge.

Family Guidance Center’s First Step Services include a Crisis Line, shelter, court advocacy, support and advocacy, lethality assessment, safety planning, legal aid assistance, case management, domestic violence classes, address confidentiality program, individual therapy and an abuser intervention program. 

All the services to victims are at no charge.

Upcoming FGC events:

Oct. 20 – Blue Jean Ball at Lake Hickory Country Club with food, music, silent auction, cash bar. Cost: $50/person.

 

Oct. 24 – Domestic Violence Roundtable at Catawba Valley Community College, starting at 12 p.m., this will be a panel discussion about domestic violence and related legal issues. Free to the public.

 

Oct. 30 – Annual Domestic Violence Candlelight Vigil at Discovery Church on Startown Rd. Begins at 7 p.m. Names of the 2017 homicide in North Carolina will be read by Hal Rowe of WHKY. A $5 donation requested to cover desserts for everyone.

For more information about any of the provided services, call the Family Guidance Center at 828-322-1400 or the crisis line at 828-228-1787 or visit fgservices.com.



Oct. 15, 2018

The boys’ teams celebrate a break in the rain before starting their race at the Catawba County United Way Cross 

Country Invitational in Newton. Visit ccunitedway.com for more photos from the event.

 

Students compete and give back at cross country meet


BY JOHN BAILEY

jbailey@ccunitedway.com


There was no stopping the rain or the runners during this year’s Catawba Co. United Way Cross Country Invitational at Southside Park in Newton last week.

With 28 teams and more than 600 athletes registered, it was the 26th year of the event.

Michael Zapherson from T.C. Roberson was the top runner in the boys 5K championship race with a time of 15.43.47 while Jonna Strange from North Iredell scored the top time for the girls, with 18:56.08 in their 5K championship.

T.C. Roberson dominated the team side of the standings as well finishing first in the boys’ and girls’ championship rounds.

Visit https://nc.milesplit.com/meets/327657/info#.W79kcHtKiUk for complete results from the meet.

While this was an athletic competition, its other focus was on encouraging the young competitors to find ways to positively impact their community with service projects.

Teams took part in everything from community clean-up projects to helping at local soup kitchens. Hickory High decided to start a project they plan on continuing long after the invitational, collecting books in Spanish for grades K-12.

For event organizer, John Hall, the projects have been the center of the event, “emphasizing good life values.”

The projects were judged, and this year’s winners were Patton High (1st) $250, North Iredell (2nd) $150 and Hickory High (3rd) $100.

This year’s guest speaker, Dean Otto, offered an inspiring story about forgiveness and making a difference that fit the event’s theme as well.

“He made a great point of giving back, of counting our blessings and paying it forward,” Hall said. “That’s the message we wanted the students to have.”

Otto suffered serious spinal cord injuries when he was hit by a truck while cycling in 2016. 

Not only did he defy the odds with a near complete and very rapid recovery, he also forgave the young driver who hit him, and just a year after the injury that young man, Otto’s neurosurgeon, and Otto ran a half-marathon together.

“The only thing we have control over are our attitude and actions,” Otto said prior to the event. “If we stay positive, great things will happen for us, if we dwell on the negative, that’s where we will end up.

“It’s important to accept life on life’s terms and to forgive others. We all make mistakes and so many positive things can come out of forgiveness.”

Catawba County United Way Executive Director Jennie Connor said she’s amazed each year by the dedication and she sees from the students on the course and in their service projects.

“These young student runners are the next generation of leaders and philanthropists,” Connor said.

Along with Catawba County United Way staff and volunteers, the event was helped by several sponsors who contributed to the costs of food, t-shirts, items for athlete gift bags, awards and project awards along with providing other services.

Sponsors included: Catawba Valley Medical Center, CT Management, Guy M. Turner Inc., Dr. David Hamilton, Century Furniture, Wells Fargo Advisors, The Rotary Club of Hickory, Publix, Sharp Business Systems, Drum Funeral Home, Quality Water, Big Kahuna Timing, Catawba Sox, Premier Screen Printing Inc., A Signco, ING, Pepsi. The LRU cross country team helped with the course, Catawba Co. Emergency Medical Services had a crew on site and the City of Newton provided additional help directing parking and helping set up the venue.

For more information about the Catawba County United Way visit its Facebook page or ccunitedway.com or call  828-327-6851.

 

 

Oct. 2, 2018


Dean Otto


Catawba County United Way Cross Country Invitational


BY JOHN BAILEY

jbailey@ccunitedway.com


With teams registered and service projects completed, nearly 30 high schools are ready to compete in the 26th annual Catawba County United Way Cross Country Invitational.

The event is scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 10 at Southside Park in Newton.

Along with being a chance for athletes across the region to compete, it is a community service project-oriented event as well.

Event organizer, John Hall said the race has always been about more than just the competition.

“It has emphasized good life values, and our requirement of service projects is a natural fit,” Hall said. “The young people have embraced it. Each year they are doing important and creative work in their communities across western North Carolina.”

Teams have taken part in everything from community clean-up projects to helping at local soup kitchens.

This year’s guest speaker is Dean Otto who suffered serious spinal cord injuries when he was hit by a truck while cycling in 2016. 

Not only did he defy the odds with a near complete and very rapid recovery, he also forgave the young driver who hit him, and just a year after the injury that young man, Otto’s neurosurgeon, and Otto ran a half-marathon together.

He said he’s grateful to have the opportunity to share his story with local students.

“The only thing we have control over are our attitude and actions,” Otto said. “If we stay positive, great things will happen for us, if we dwell on the negative, that’s where we will end up.

“It’s important to accept life on life’s terms and to forgive others. We all make mistakes and so many positive things can come out of forgiveness.”

The Catawba County United Way Cross Country Invitational started in 1993 with 11 schools from three counties and more than 100 athletes. In 1994, the race moved to Southside Park and has grown in numbers ever since.

Former winners include several state champions and NCAA All-Americans.

For more information contact John Bailey at 828-327-6851 or visit ccunitedway.com.

Sept. 24, 2018

Cynthia Lingerfelt and her ECCCM case worker Lucy Thacker have become close friends as Lingerfelt used the agencies 

resources to get back on her feet financially. John Bailey/CCUW

 

ECCCM client ready to “pay it forward”


BY JOHN BAILEY

jbailey@ccunitedway.com


Through the month of September, The Hickory Daily Record's Notable Neighbor feature shined a spotlight on the importance of giving back to your community through organizations like the Catawba County United Way and its funded partners. This week the focus is on 

an Eastern Catawba Cooperative Christian Ministry client.

Cynthia Lingerfelt, 61, admits she’s a “prideful person” so it wasn’t easy for her to ask for help when she found herself struggling financially after her mother died two years ago.

It was the case worker she met at Eastern Catawba Cooperative Christian Ministry, Lucy Thacker, who reminded her there’s always hope.

“Miss Lucy was so sweet to me,” Lingerfelt said. “She made me feel so good about myself and encouraged me in so many ways.”

The Eastern Catawba Cooperative Christian Ministry (ECCCM), a funded partner of the Catawba County United Way, serves all the eastern part of the county. It provides emergency financial assistance for mortgage and rent payments, assistance with utility bills, fuel oil and kerosene purchases, emergency food and clothing and life-necessary pharmaceuticals, according to ECCCM’s website, ecccm.org.

Lingerfelt took advantage of many of these resources.

Twelve years ago, she put her life on hold to take care of her mother, who had gotten sick and needed the help. They managed their household off her mother’s social security benefits.

When Lingerfelt’s mother died, she had to go back to work and the cost of the bills: rent, utilities and food, quickly began stacking. She worked every minute she could, but it was only for minimum wage and even picking up some odd jobs on the side, it was never enough.

Things began getting bleak when a friend of hers suggested she reach out to ECCCM.

“They feed me. The food program was really important,” Lingerfelt said. “I was at the point where I just had barely enough money to make the bills and not always. Sometimes I had to put one back to try and pay another.”

There were times after she paid all the bills, rent and put gas in the car the “cupboards were empty.”

Thacker said ECCCM’s food pantry helps supplement food stamps.

“For those who aren’t on food stamps we have a different program for them where they can come more often for food,” Thacker said.

ECCCM lets its clients know about job fairs in the county and works with local staffing agencies.

“We have someone who talks about health insurance too, in the financial classes we offer. It’s a wealth of information we go over,” Thacker said.

With her caseworker’s guidance, Lingerfelt eventually got hired on fulltime at Shurtape and has been there for a year.

“Life has turned around for me and am just so proud and happy, but I don’t think I could have made it without the help I got here,” she said. “All my family had passed on and I didn’t have anybody to turn to but (ECCCM) is my family now.”

It’s not enough to just get their clients back on their feet though.

Thacker said another one of the goals she sets with her clients is to give them the tools they need so they don’t have to seek out assistance in the future.

Lingerfelt was especially glad for the financial counseling and classes where she learned how to make and stick to a budget and how to create savings. It came down to having a “game plan” for life.

“Putting back a little nest egg in case something happens is very important and unfortunately my mother had gotten so sick, so fast and I had to come out of work to take care of her, so I didn’t have that then,” Lingerfelt said.

She’s been equally inspired from all the help she’s gotten to “pay it forward.”

Lingerfelt has even gone on United Way speaking engagements to talk to employees at local companies, sharing her story and explaining how ECCCM helped her.

Before her troubles, agencies like ECCCM wasn’t something she gave much thought, but she understands the importance of them now.

“There’s so many people out there who really do need help and who are really trying and struggling and they’re not aware of this,” Lingerfelt said. “I feel like part of my responsibility now is to let others know that this is here and there are things you can be taught to help you manage your money and get you on your feet and get you on the right track.”

For more information about the services at ECCCM visit ecccm.org or call 828-465-1702. For more information about other Catawba County United Way funded partners and their services visit ccunitedway.com or call 828-327-6851.


 

Sept. 17, 2018

Checking out some the United Way shirts, Eddie Hoover recalls the different programs he’s been involved with like 
The Salvation Army’s Boys and Girls Club and the Community Ridge Day Care Center. John Bailey/CCUW


Eddie Hoover, driven to connect with his community


BY JOHN BAILEY

jbailey@ccunitedway.com 


There are a lot of ways to make a difference in your community from tutoring at an elementary school, delivering for Meals on Wheels or giving a monetary donation.

Through the month of September, The Hickory Daily Record’s Notable Neighbor feature will shine a spotlight on the importance of volunteerism and giving back through the Catawba County United Way (CCUW).

This week’s CCUW volunteer is Eddie Hoover.

The combination of nature and nurture helped develop Eddie Hoover’s belief that everyone should lead by example when it comes to making a difference in your community.

The drive to be connected to his community started with what his mother taught him.

It was reinforced by the world outside his front door.

“I came from one of the poorest points in the city (Hickory), a little community called ‘Little Berlin,’” Hoover said. “There were bootleggers back in the early days and then drugs, you name it.”

The neighborhood is gone now after a cable company bought up the property to put up towers but growing up there showed him all the reasons why it’s important to be an active voice in your world.

Not long after he graduated from Lenoir-Rhyne University in 1997, Hoover’s former employer Bert Brinkley at Plastic Packaging, now Sonoco, encouraged him to go even further by getting involved with the United Way.

It was at this point when he saw the value of pooling local resources to deal with local problems.

“As a matter of fact there were some people, a brother and sister, in my neighborhood who were struggling with finances,” Hoover said. “They were very poor, and I went to our company and asked Bert what we could do for them and he said get the United Way involved.”

Through its funded partners, CCUW helped the family get better housing and clothing.

“I could look at their house some days and I could see light coming through the walls of their house,” Hoover said. “It was a blessing to make their world a better place.”

Since then, he donated 13 years of his life being actively involved with the Catawba County United Way, including being the campaign leader for his company.

Hoover rolled up his sleeves and volunteered with several programs directly including The Salvation Army’s Boys and Girls Club in Hickory and the Community Ridge Day Care center.

The day care was especially meaningful for him because it’s where he attended elementary school.

Another agency he enjoyed working with was Rising Hope Farms, which helps children with disabilities improve their lives physically and emotional.

“After seeing what those young children had to go through and seeing what United Way was giving back to them, it meant a whole lot that I got involved,” Hoover said. “I realized this could be someone’s grandchild, or they could be my child.”

The combination of all those experiences convinced him people need to be more, do more, if they want to think of themselves as a community.

“We got to dive in with all the people and all the resources we can to help our neighbors better themselves,” Hoover said.

He’s even explored other opportunities to help through the years by volunteering with Habitat for Humanity and mentoring teens through sports programs.

“Up until nine years ago, I always had a travel basketball team or football team and you wouldn’t believe all the kids who didn’t have anywhere to go once they left practice. I would have to take them home,” Hoover said.

“It’s very important we stay involved with our community so we can keep our community growing. If we’re not impacting our community, it’s going to die.”

Some fun facts about Eddie Hoover

1-What is your funniest moment as a volunteer? 

One year we had a United Way kick off at Plastic Packaging Inc. and all the mangers had to get in a dunking booth.

2-What is your favorite inspirational quote?

“From which much is given much is required.”

3-Who inspires you? 

My Mother, Clovine Hoover.

4-What’s your favorite hobby?

Cutting grass



 


Sept. 10, 2018



Glenn Barger takes a look at this year’s collection of school supplies donated by local businesses during the Catawba 

County United Way’s annual Stuff the Bus campaign John Bailey/CCUW



Glenn Barger, inspired to make a difference through United Way

 

BY JOHN BAILEY

jbailey@ccunitedway.com

 

There are a lot of ways to make a difference in your community from tutoring at an elementary school, delivering for Meals on Wheels or giving a monetary donation.

Through the month of September, The Hickory Daily Record’s Notable Neighbor feature will shine a spotlight on the importance of volunteerism and giving back to your community through the Catawba County United Way (CCUW).

This week’s CCUW volunteer is Glenn E. Barger.

For Barger, doing more for his community through The United Way, “just seemed to be the right thing to do.”

He originally got involved in 1966 with the Eastern Catawba County United Way prior to the merger of it with The Greater Hickory United Way.

Barger has filled several rolls since then, including as a donor, community volunteer and a committee member. He even served a term as president of the Catawba County United Way board.

While Barger has years of experience as a former educator, administrator and a Catawba County Schools superintendent, his work with CCUW drilled home for him the importance of connecting the dots between needs and resources in the community.

“As an educator I saw first hand the many challenges many of my students experienced that hindered them from reaching their dreams in life,” Barger said. “Then, I saw first hand, that many of the agencies supported by United Way helped students, their parents and the public receive those needed resources and support to overcome many obstacles which hindered them in reaching their dreams and improving their lives.”

He’s seen the faces of children receiving a present at Christmas and seen medical issues being resolved.

“But the most memorable (moment) comes from a person in one of the agencies supported by United Way,” Barger said. “He was trying to reestablish his life from a substance abuse issue which had cost him his career and family.

“Through the help of many, he overcame his issues, was gainfully employed, served on several county boards and started a very effective outreach program for youth.”

More about Glenn Barger:

Why helping in your community is important?

“We have a great community to live, work and raise a family. That is not to say that we do not have our share of issues which threaten our community,” Barger said. “We must work together as a community to resolve these issues. If we are to continue to grow and be prosperous as a community we must work to strengthen our defenses against drug abuse, homelessness, illness and other social issues.”

What is your funniest moment as a volunteer?

This moment occurred when he was serving as a volunteer at a local soup kitchen. One of the guests approached me and asked, “Do you remember me?”

He didn’t, but she was a former student of his 25 years earlier.

“The lady was there with her granddaughter to have a meal. I remembered her as being a popular student with many friends,” Barger said. “She shared with me some of her hard luck during recent years and said, ‘you are only one paycheck away from being self-sufficient to being homeless.’”

She then said, “I can’t believe my former high school principal is here serving me lunch. You were old 25 years ago and you are still able to get around”

Who inspires you?

“We all have our own personal Board of Directors who helps us be who we are. That Board changes as we go through life,” Barger said. “Many times, these individuals may not be aware that they inspire you. I will list some of those who have influenced me the most:

“My parents - I was fortunate to have parents that taught me the value of honesty, dependability and respect. They modeled these traits for me and my sister as we grew up.

“Teachers - They not only influenced my dreams but help me to determine my life ‘s career of becoming a teacher

“My wife – For the past 53 years she has been my rock. She has supported me in my career and my life. She has kept me grounded and encourages me to keep on going with the reminder that it is not over.”

For more information about the Catawba County United Way, visit ccunitedway.com or the Catawba County United Way Facebook page or call 828-327-6851.





Sept. 6, 2018



Employees from the Publix in Hickory pitched in and helping to sort the mounds of school supplies collected for 

the annual Stuff the Bus campaign. The company brought in dozens more boxes from its own collection effort as well

John Bailey/CCUW



Catawba County United Way stuffs the bus with school supplies

 

BY JOHN BAILEY

jbailey@ccunitedway.com

 

Who doesn’t remember the smell of crayons, the feel of a brand new three-ring binder in your hands or the weight of a brand-new book bag over your shoulder?

With more than 4,000 individual items, the Catawba County United Way, in partnership with nearly a dozen local businesses, made sure students in all three of the county’s school districts (Hickory, Newton-Conover, Catawba Co.) had the tools they needed to be academically successful.

This year’s “Stuff the Bus” school supply drive brought in more than two dozen separate school related items, not including those related to personal hygiene.

“I have new students that come to school scared and overwhelmed by a new environment.  Lots of times they come empty handed.  Rene Huntsinger, counselor at Jenkins Elementary School in Hickory Public Schools said.

“When I bring them to my office and hand them a fresh set of school supplies or a backpack, it instantly makes them smile and feel welcomed at Jenkins.”

Being able to give school supplies to those students removes a barrier to learning and the financial burden for parents.

“Catawba County Schools greatly appreciates the community’s support in helping our students have a successful start to the school year,” CCS Director of Student Services Maria Ballard said. “Through the United Way’s Stuff the Bus campaign, many students receive school supplies that they would not have been able to access without the donations.” 

The local companies and organizations involved in collecting all those thousands of school supplies were equally excited about being part of Stuff the Bus this year.

For the employees of Alex Lee Inc., it was about imagining what it would be like to start the school year without those basic supplies.

“By sharing your dollars and fulfilling those needs, how much excitement could you instill in a child’s approach to a new school year?  The team at Alex Lee and MDI wanted to help get children excited about school,” according to a statement from Alex Lee Inc.

Other organizations who were collection sites for Stuff the Bus included: Century Furniture, CommScope, St. Aloysius Catholic Church, WestRock, ZF Lemforder, Publix, APICS, Catawba Valley Medical Center, MDI, Hickory Texas Roadhouse, Catawba County government, City of Newton and City of Claremont.

While school districts are several weeks into their new year, the Catawba County United Way will continue to gather school supplies to share in the upcoming months.

Most students have supplies at the beginning of the year, but the supplies are quickly used, Huntsinger said.

“Students from families on very tight incomes, or no income at all should not have to worry about how they are going to do their homework because they do not have pencils and paper,” she said. 

Call John Bailey at CCUW,828-327-6851, for more information about available school supplies.





Sept. 3, 2018

The 2018 Catawba County United Way Campaign Chair Keith Mackie reviews some of the donor packets sent out 

to local companies earlier this month. John Bailey/CCUW


Hickory Daily Record spotlights United Way with Notable Neighbors


BY JOHN BAILEY

jbailey@ccunitedway.com 


For Keith Mackie, giving back is just a way of life he believes we should all adopt.

The executive vice president for Catawba Valley Community College and this year’s campaign chair for the Catawba County United Way, first began donating to CCUW several years ago.

But it was when he was invited to join the United Way board, that Mackie was introduced to the full scope of what it means to be part of connecting the dots between needs and resources in a community.

“All of us have times in our lives when we need the care and support of others. The UW provides both at the times when the needs are the greatest,” Mackie said. “We are responsible for making our community a great place to live.

“Helping others builds their self-esteem, enhances productivity and builds a sense of being valued. Life improvements for our citizens enhance our community and life for all.”

 

For the rest of the HDR story follow the link at: The Hickory Daily Record



 

Aug. 23, 2018

Shantea Ramseur

Shantea Ramseur benefited from the after-school program at The Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club in Hickory when she 

was a child. Now part of the staff, she’s looking forward to being the one providing the tutoring. JOHN BAILEY/CCUW

 

United Way makes improving literacy a priority


BY JOHN BAILEY

jbailey@ccunitedway.com

 

HICKORY – We’ve all heard the phrase, “reading is fundamental.”

Whether it’s downloading a recipe to cook a meal or searching for a YouTube video to teach you how to use your iPhone, functioning in today’s digital age is difficult if you can’t read.

For this reason, The United Way has focused on improving reading skills for students, pre-K through 12th grade, with various literacy programs.

Locally, the Catawba County United Way (CCUW) does its part with help from several of its funded partners.

The Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club in Hickory offers tutoring help through its after-school and summer programs.

The Catawba County Partnership for Children operates the local Imagination Library which mails free age-appropriate books every month to any child from birth until age five.

The Patrick Beaver Learning Resources Center’s Hickory Augustine Literacy Project provides free, one-on-one instruction to children primarily in grades K-3 who are identified as economically disadvantaged and read at least one year below grade level.

“The United Way understands that without strong literacy skills, the potential for a student to fall behind and eventually drop out increases exponentially,” Newton-Conover City Schools Superintendent and CCUW board member Aron Gabriel said. “Relative to the mentoring programs that UW supports, countless children are provided with positive role models who help shape a positive self-awareness and appreciation for others.

“In the area of education, both literacy and mentoring support have always been favored by the UW board because of its value relative to future outcomes for each kid helped and society as a whole.” 

The superintendent used Newton-Conover City Schools own Kid Connection program and the Leader in Me Program as an example of his district focusing students on self-awareness, self-regulation and responsibility.

Shantea Ramseur works at The Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club now but remembers the value of its after-school program. She attended it herself as a child, starting in the second grade.

Along with the one-on-one tutoring, the after-school program insured Ramseur and the other students had a regular time to study every day.

Ramseur admits she was “horrible” at math, but always enjoyed reading.

“We would have staff constantly come between us to make sure we were doing our work and make sure it was being done right,” she said.

In the end, the value of the program for her was having someone providing that little additional boost of encouragement when she was having a bad day. Ramseur is looking forward to being on the other side of the conversation and inspiring a new generation of students.

“Showing them they have the potential at excelling in math, reading or science really makes them want to continue to try to get better,” Ramseur said.

She went on to earn an associate degree and is pursuing a bachelor’s degree at Appalachian State University.

Visit ccunitedway.com for more information about these and other Catawba County United Way funded partners and their programs.

For more information about The Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club in Hickory, visit salvationarmycarolinas.org/bgchickory/.

 

 

Aug. 16, 2018


Catawba County United Way campaign volunteers review the material they will be sharing with local organizations this month.  

JOHN BAILEY/CCUW


Catawba County United Way prepares for 2018-19 campaign


BY JOHN BAILEY

jbailey@ccunitedway.com


From youth mentoring programs, to crisis assistance counseling, to disaster relief services, the Catawba County United Way is ready to make a difference with its 2018-19 campaign.

The group’s board recently approved the allocation recommendations made by the volunteers on its community investment panels.

Catawba County United Way will use the donor dollars pledged during this year’s campaign to help support 21 programs ran by its 14 funded partners.

“Our work is focused on building better lives and a thriving community by increasing educational opportunities, fostering financial stability and independence and improving healthcare access and understanding for all,” Campaign Chair and Catawba Valley Community College executive vice president Keith Mackie said.

United Way volunteers recently picked up campaign packets and will be taking them to local businesses and other organizations this month.

This is a “call to action” Catawba County United Way Executive Director Jennie Connor said.

“It’s time to ask how you want to be involved in your community, how do you want to have an impact in helping your neighbors,” Connor said.

Ann Peele, executive director for the Family Guidance Center in Hickory, talked about the impact her organization has had locally, during a Catawba County United Way campaign volunteer meeting.

The center provides individual and family counseling along with being a domestic violence shelter.

“We don’t know what kind of tragedy or what kind of upheaval will happen tomorrow,” Peele said. “I can tell you based on many of the parents I’ve worked with, whose teenager is being traumatized by domestic violence, they will all tell you how horrendous it is, how it’s impacted their child.”

She reminded the group that while their lives may be comfortable now, they could be the ones looking for help at any moment.

“Domestic violence knows no boundaries. It can impact anyone, and it does,” Peele said. “Please let’s all be on the campaign to prevent some of these problems.”

She reminded everyone they all have an investment in their community.

“We do what we do because it’s part of us and our desire to give back and support our neighbors,” Peele said.

2018-19 funded partners and their programs include:

Adult Life Programs: adult day care - $41,000

ALFA: HIV/AIDS counseling, prevention education and testing - $21,800

Catawba Valley Chapter American Red Cross: emergency/disaster services - $22,367

Catawba Co. DSS Senior nutrition services: meals on wheels - $22,429

Catawba Co. Public Health, Breast Health: breast health education, preventive and screening services - $5,000

Community Ridge Daycare: child care subsidies - $40,571

Council on Adolescents: healthy youth education - $35,148

Council on Adolescents: mentoring programs for at-risk youth: $33,364

ECCCM: crisis financial assistance - $40,194

ECCCM: crisis assistance coaching - $16,833

Exodus Homes: transitional housing for homeless after release from treatment centers/prison - $33,333

Family Guidance Center: consumer credit counseling - $86,047

Family Guidance Center: first step domestic violence shelter - $136,366

Family Guidance Center: Individual and family counseling - $98,750

Family Guidance Center: sexual assault services - $19,929

Partnership for Children:  Imagination Library - $22,107

Patrick Beaver Learning Resource Center: tutoring programs for children grades K-3 - $15,000

The Salvation Army: crisis financial assistance - $24,462

The Salvation Army: Shelter of Hope - $33,893

The Salvation Army: Boys and Girls Club after-school and summer programs - $24,500

Sipes Orchard Home: transitional housing for ages 17-21 - $17,385

If you or your company would like to participate in Catawba County United Way’s 2018-19 campaign call Sylvia Long at 828-327-6851 or visit ccunitedway.com.

 

 

 


Winners Announced at Campaign Celebration Donor Event

Over 150 Catawba County United Way (CCUW) donors attended the 2017 Campaign Celebration and Annual Meeting event held April 18 at the Catawba Country Club.   The United Way celebrated, shared client success stories and thanked individual donors, retirees, schools and corporate leaders and elected officials for their support during the 2017 campaign.

Philip Moore, Vice President PNC Financial Services Group and CCUW Board President welcomed the attendees and spoke about United Way’s impact areas of health, education and financial stability and their grant process. He also reminded the attendees that dollars raised locally are used for local programs.  He encouraged anyone interested in participating in this volunteer-based process scheduled for May 1 and May 8 to contact CCUW.  Also recognized were CCUW Board Members, staff and elected officials as well as the 2018 CCUW funded partners.  Those partners are:  Adult Life Programs, AIDS Leadership Foothills-area Alliance (ALFA), , The Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club of Hickory, Meals on Wheels, Imagination Library, Catawba Valley Chapter American Red Cross,  Community Ridge Daycare, Council on Adolescents of Catawba County, Eastern Catawba Cooperative Christian Ministries, Exodus Homes, Family Guidance Center, The Salvation Army and Sipe’s Orchard Home.   The group was also encouraged to visit CCUW’s new mobile friendly web page where a new link, the Money Needs Calculator, can project costs incurred by families for basic needs i.e. housing, childcare, food, health care, etc.

Moore also focused on another important part of United Way’s work is to make available a resource that links people with needs to the valuable health and human services in our community.   2-1-1 the 3-digit phone number is a quick easy call available 24 hours 7 day a week, which links people to resources.  You may also go to the website www.nc211.org to access this information.   Many resources afforded the citizens of our community would go unutilized without this important tool provided by your United Way. 
Moore also recognized, Mr. Benny Yount and Paramount Automotive for their recent announcement of the donation of a brand new car to be given away this December to one lucky fair share donor.  2018 marks the seventh year of Yount’s donation for the Fair Share Donor Car Giveaway.  All CCUW Fair Share donors will be entered in a weekly drawing. The finalists come together for a final event in December where each person will draw a key from a bag and attempt to start the car. The key that starts the car wins. The winner can choose between a Kia, Hyundai or Volkswagen.

Henry Morphis, 2017 CCUW Campaign Chair, thanked the campaign cabinet for their involvement with the workplace campaigns.  With focus on the United Way’s impact in the community, Morphis introduced three of the cabinet members - Humberto Rojo, Century Furniture; Siobhan Loendorf, Catawba County Library and Dr. Jenny White, Hickory Public Schools to come forward to read true ,client success stories provided by three of the funded programs.   

 Morphis announced the winners for awards to three schools. There is a traveling plaque given annually to the winning schools. The winners are the following in the three categories: Elementary school awarded to Conover Special Education, Middle school awarded to River Bend Middle and High school awarded to Catawba Rosenwald Education Center. The schools were rated based on employee participation and employee per capita giving. Schools from all three districts in Catawba County are eligible including Hickory City Schools, Newton-Conover City Schools and Catawba County schools.

Morphis and Board President, Philip Moore presented Community Impact awards to corporations that ran workplace campaigns. There were four divisions. Division 1 winner for 1 to 199 employees was new campaign, Publix, Lake Hickory Crossing.  Division 2 winner for 200 to 499 was Duke Energy.   Division 3 winner for 500 to 799 employees was Shurtape Technologies, LLC. Division 4 winner for 800 plus employees was Corning Cable Systems. Award winners in these divisions were selected based on employee per capita, percentage of participation, volunteerism, engagement with United Way functions and events, participation on United Way committees and panels and where applicable corporate support.

In 1944, the Catawba County United Way began as the Community Chest Fund and War Fund. The name has changed a few times over the 74 years to keep up with our changing community. However, the meaning behind the Community Chest is still relevant today. The Community Chest is provided by the people for the people to benefit the community. 
Century Furniture was presented with the Community Chest Award for their year-round involvement with United Way, their exceptional use of best practices for the workplace campaign, volunteerism and their impact through the United Way on the community.

The Catawba County United Way would like to thank all the donors to the 2017 campaign including corporations, schools, organizations, individual donors and retirees. 

25th Annual United Way Cross Country Invitational

 

October 5, 2017

Catawba County United Way - 25th Annual Cross Country Invitational 

It’s Big Kahuna time! More than 800 high school runners will compete in the 25th Annual United Way Cross Country Invitational races on October 11 at Southside Park in Newton. More than thirty high schools across the state will be represented in this sanctioned event organized by the Catawba County United Way and John Hall. The first of many races begins at 2:40pm.The event emphasizes the importance of volunteerism and community service among teenagers. This is a highly competitive well-attended event. Runners will receive a meal prepared by United Way volunteers and event t-shirts.

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Self-Sufficient in Catawba County


October 22, 2017 

Catawba County Organizations Work Against Poverty

HICKORY — In January 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson declared a war on poverty that sparked an interest in calculating how many people were impoverished across the nation.The following year, the Office of Economic Opportunity adopted Mollie Orshansky’s poverty thresholds, which were derived from the cost of a minimum food diet multiplied by three to account for other family expenses, according to the United States Census Bureau.In the mid-1990s, Dr. Diana Pearce, the director of the Women and Poverty Project at Wider Opportunities for Women at the time, created the Self-Sufficiency Standard (SSS).The SSS was a measure that provided realistic and detailed data on what clients individually needed to be self-sufficient,...

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Prescription for a Healthy Community



March 31, 2017

Prescription for a Healthy Community (Feature Hickory Daily Record)

By Pamela Josey Pope, Director of Resource Development, Catawba County United Way

What is your idea of healthy? Eating right and exercising? Excellent! What is your idea of a healthy community? That’s a much bigger question with a much more complicated answer. Catawba County United Way focuses on the health of the community as one of its main impact areas. What does that mean for the community? 

It’s not all apple slices and exercise plans. Improving the health of people in our county means promoting healthy lifestyles. The prescription must include safe environments, healthy beginnings, healthy lifestyles, access to health care, and prevention. The plan for a healthy community requires many paths to improved health.  It is important to be targeted and accountable. 

Safe and secure environments include homes free from physical hazards and a support system to maintain it this also includes helping victims of abuse. Recovery and advocacy services must be provided for all ages. It also means support for seniors and those with disabilities so they have the ability to remain safe and independent for as long as possible.

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2016-2017 Spirit Awards

April 19, 2017

Winners announced at Spirit Awards Donor Event


Hickory, NC – Rain did not keep the faithful Catawba County United Way donors away from the Spirit Awards and Annual Meeting event held April 19th at the Catawba Country Club. More than 150 were in attendance as the United Way celebrated, reflected and thanked individual donors, retirees, schools, and corporate leaders for their support during the 2016 campaign.


The event began with a video reflecting moments from the past year. Dr. Aron Gabriel, Asst. Superintendent for Newton-Conover Schools and CCUW Board Member led the group in a moment of reflection. Debra Bechtel, County Attorney and CCUW Board President welcomed the attendees and spoke about the power of the collective efforts in our community to improve education, financial stability and health. Bechtel also recognized CCUW Board Members, staff and special guests.


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February Article- Financial Stability is Important

 

 

February 28, 2017

Make Sure Your Head Isn’t in the Sand. Improving the financial stability of Catawba County residents is a critical impact area.

(Feature Hickory Daily Record)

By Pamela Josey Pope, Director of Resource Development, Catawba County United Way

We all have goals in life. Some people want to build a mansion while others want the comfort of knowing they can pay their bills. Financial stability should not only be a goal but also a reality for anyone who seeks it. Your head is in the sand if you think the lack of financial stability will not touch you or someone you love. 

Catawba County United Way considers financial stability to be one of three main impact areas for our community. Being financially stable means you must create economic security. The road to stability includes mile markers such as securing the costs of daily basic needs, creating an emergency savings fund, and choosing the appropriate asset-building economic security pathway(s). Without financial stability long-term sustainable results in areas of education and health are at much greater risk of failure. 

One does not become financially stable by consistently receiving emergency assistance. While assistance provided through United Way programs will help in times of crisis, it is not intended to sustain an individual or family long-term. The focus is on helping others to become financially stable. Success of this type is a process. The solution takes awareness of the problem and the constant collaboration of many organizations and individuals to have an impact. When Catawba County residents are able to find good jobs, provide for their families and save for the future, they and their children are more likely to lead healthy lives and succeed in school. Financially stable individuals and families lead to a more competitive workforce and a stronger community. Everyone benefits from a stronger community.

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Catawba County United Way - Volunteer Center & Corning Leaders


January 31, 2017

Catawba County United Way welcomed more than 95 Corning Optical Communications Technology leaders for an afternoon of volunteer time with Adult Life Programs. Corning Incorporated graciously asked if their group could participate in a volunteer activity through the United Way Volunteer Center. 

The Corning guests divided into two smaller groups and traveled to the Hickory and Conover Adult Life locations. They were paired with program participants for an afternoon of BINGO, crafts, a little dancing, games and fellowship. Corning guests had a terrific time interacting and getting to know the program participants. They learned that Max is a great Checkers player, Johnnie cannot be beat at Scrabble and Sarah makes beautiful Valentine’s. More importantly they showed compassion and enthusiasm no matter what the activity. There was no shortage of laughter and smiles. 

Participants were eager to learn more about the Corning volunteers too. Many Corning guests were visiting from other countries. Corning leaders from across the region were also a part of the afternoon volunteer time. Corning guests came in carrying gift bags for the participants filled with coloring books and toiletries. They left knowing they had made new friends. 

 Catawba County United Way coordinates volunteer activities between businesses and those in the community. CCUW brings together groups to create great impact in areas of education, health and financial stability. United Way’s mission to improve lives and strengthen communities is fueled by the passion and hard work of volunteers. 

“Meaningful community solutions require more than money, programs or policies. The kind of lasting change that benefits everyone is only possible when people from all walks of life are willing to roll up their sleeves and go where their time and talent is most needed. “ said Jennie Connor, Executive Director of CCUW. 

Tyesha Smith, Corning employee and the event coordinator commented, “Thank you so much for all of the coordination.  It was a wonderful event and experience.  I heard lots of positive reviews and I saw quite a few of our leaders really enjoying themselves.  The time spent was invaluable.  We will definitely seek out more of these activities in the future, with United Way, to serve our community.” 

Adult Life Programs is a Catawba County United Way community partner. They provide support, respite and education to caregivers and affordable, quality day and treatment services enabling adults to remain in their communities. They operate three centers in the county: Hickory, Conover and Maiden.  

Corning (www.corning.com) is one of the world’s leading innovators in materials science. For more than 160 years, Corning has applied its unparalleled expertise in specialty glass, ceramics, and optical physics to develop products that have created new industries and transformed people’s lives. Corning succeeds through sustained investment in R&D, a unique combination of material and process innovation, and close collaboration with customers to solve tough technology challenges. Corning’s businesses and markets are constantly evolving. Today, Corning’s products enable diverse industries such as consumer electronics, telecommunications, transportation, and life sciences. They include damage-resistant cover glass for smartphones and tablets; precision glass for advanced displays; optical fiber, wireless technologies, and connectivity solutions for high-speed communications networks; trusted products that accelerate drug discovery and manufacturing; and emissions-control products for cars, trucks, and off-road vehicles.  

For more information about volunteerism, community impact or resources contact Catawba County United Way 828-327-6851, www.ccunitedway.com
Catawba County United Way Volunteer Center-Homeless Count

 

January 30, 2017


Peanut butter, socks, flashlights, and HOPE.

How do you begin to address the needs and numbers of homeless people in our community? You come together and you find a way to connect with them. How do you connect? You give them incentive to be seen and heard. 

Several groups working with the Continuum of Care met at the Catawba County United Way to organize the 2017 Homeless Count also known as the Point-In-Time survey. Teams of volunteers went out into the community last week to find the homeless, the unseen and “count” them. Participants willing to speak with volunteers were provided a backpack full of essential items such as apple sauce, peanut butter, tarps, socks, flashlights, batteries, toiletries and more. Supplies were donated and provided by several collaborative agencies. Wells Fargo employees from across the region packed the bags for the project at the United Way.

The homeless situation in our community is real. Don’t turn the page. The issues our homeless face are not in some other community, county, state or country. It’s right here. The reasons a person becomes homeless are as complex as the solutions. Job losses, mental health, domestic issues, physical health, education, learning disabilities, trauma, PTSD are only a few reasons…and that doesn’t even scratch the surface. 

Homelessness is not only an adult issue. Homelessness touches every age group. Your child may be attending school right now with a child that spent the night in a car or shelter. This is the same young student we expect to perform well in school despite their great disadvantage. Many people in our area would be homeless if they had to do without a pay check for more than a month. Not everyone is fortunate enough to have a strong family network to fall back on during tough times. Simply saying, “get a job!” doesn’t add up either. You need an address to get a job. You might even need transportation. Public transportation can be a challenge in a community of our size. 

Teena Willis, Housing Manager at Partners Behavioral Health Management explained,” the homeless Point-In-Time survey helps us identify gaps in our services for the homeless population. The data is extremely important when planning for future housing and transportation solutions as well as applying for grants. It gives us the opportunity to connect, supply basic provisions and provide resources they may not be aware of locally.”

Seek first to understand. The Homeless Point-In-Time project is a national project that counts and reports homeless population numbers across our country. The information assists the shelters, food banks, local government and the United Way to better understand the problem so we together can find solutions. We understand the tremendous impact Education, Heath and Financial Stability have on a person’s life. Tomorrow’s outcome begins today. HOPE must start today. Everyone deserves to have HOPE. Don’t you think?

Thank you to the volunteers and the following groups for your work with the homeless. The Continuum of Care is made up of community leaders from ABCCM, ACCESS Care, ALFA, Catawba County Schools, Catawba County United Way, City of Hickory, Community Link, CVCC, Dept. of Social Services, ECCCM, Exodus Homes, Family Care Center, Family Endeavors, Family Guidance, GHCCM, Greenway Transportation, Hickory Fire Dept., Hickory Police Dept. , Hickory Soup Kitchen, Highways & Hedges, Our Father’s Pavilion, Partners Behavioral Health Management, Safe Harbor Rescue Mission, Salvation Army, Sipes Orchard Home, St. Albans Episcopal Church, Veteran’s Transitional Advocacy Board, and WPCOG- RHA. 

The Catawba County United Way is honored to be a part of the process of bringing HOPE and future resources to our homeless population.For more information on human and social services in our county call 2-1-1 hotline.

Article by: Pamela Josey Pope, Director of Resource Development, Catawba County United Way

Catawba County United Way Accepting 2018 Funding Requests


Catawba County United Way Accepts Funding Requests
 
The Catawba County United Way is accepting Pre-Requests for Funding Proposals for 2018  (Pre-RFPs) that are targeted to address the identified Impact Areas of Health, Education and Income. Health defined as safe and secure environments, healthy beginnings, healthy lifestyles and  access to health care and prevention. Education defined as school readiness, academic achievement, parental/guardian engagement and productive young adults.  Income defined as family-sustaining education and employment, income supports, affordable housing and savings and manageable expenses. Pre-RFP proposals will be accepted for programs identifiable under these impact areas that address the needs of the residents of Catawba County.  
Pre-RFPs will be considered from organizations who are either incorporated as a not-for-profit, tax exempt entity or who have a 501-C3 legal status, within Catawba County, who comply with applicable legal, federal state and local operating and reporting requirements (e.g. government approved accounting practices, annual audit, 990, nondiscrimination). Pre-RFPs for consideration must be operated by an active, responsible and voluntary governing body and adhere to a locally developed and adopted code of ethics for volunteers and staff, which include provisions for ethical management, publicity, fundraising practices and full and fair disclosure. Those organizations selected to complete final Requests for Funding will be notified. All grant amounts are contingent on funding. 
It is important to note, all programs seeking funding by CCUW, who wish to submit a Pre-RFP, must complete a Notice of Intent in order to be assigned access information to the electronic applications. This Notice of Intent is due by 5:00 p.m. February 1, 2017.  
    Pre-RFP applications will only be received electronically, via our website, and will require pre-assigned access information. Deadline for completion of the Pre-RFP is 5:00 p.m. February 09, 2017 in order to be considered for 2018 funding. Late applications will not be accepted.  
For additional information, please contact Sylvia Long at 828/327-6851 or by email to slong@ccunitedway.com.
Catawba County United Way Accepts Funding Requests
 
The Catawba County United Way is accepting Pre-Requests for Funding Proposals for 2018  (Pre-RFPs) that are targeted to address the identified Impact Areas of Health, Education and Income. Health defined as safe and secure environments, healthy beginnings, healthy lifestyles and  access to health care and prevention. Education defined as school readiness, academic achievement, parental/guardian engagement and productive young adults.  Income defined as family-sustaining education and employment, income supports, affordable housing and savings and manageable expenses. Pre-RFP proposals will be accepted for programs identifiable under these impact areas that address the needs of the residents of Catawba County.  
Pre-RFPs will be considered from organizations who are either incorporated as a not-for-profit, tax exempt entity or who have a 501-C3 legal status, within Catawba County, who comply with applicable legal, federal state and local operating and reporting requirements (e.g. government approved accounting practices, annual audit, 990, nondiscrimination). Pre-RFPs for consideration must be operated by an active, responsible and voluntary governing body and adhere to a locally developed and adopted code of ethics for volunteers and staff, which include provisions for ethical management, publicity, fundraising practices and full and fair disclosure. Those organizations selected to complete final Requests for Funding will be notified. All grant amounts are contingent on funding. 
It is important to note, all programs seeking funding by CCUW, who wish to submit a Pre-RFP, must complete a Notice of Intent in order to be assigned access information to the electronic applications. This Notice of Intent is due by 5:00 p.m. February 1, 2017.  
    Pre-RFP applications will only be received electronically, via our website, and will require pre-assigned access information. Deadline for completion of the Pre-RFP is 5:00 p.m. February 09, 2017 in order to be considered for 2018 funding. Late applications will not be accepted.  
For additional information, please contact Sylvia Long at 828/327-6851 or by email to slong@ccunitedway.com.

Catawba County United Way - 72 Year Homecoming!

OCTOBER 19, 2016:

The Catawba County United Way has a permanent home after 72 years with the purchase of the building located at 2760 Tate Boulevard SE, Hickory, NC. The building dedication will be held on Wednesday, October 19 at 4 pm to 6 pm. 

 The ceremony led by CCUW Board President, Bill Cable of People’s Bank, Stephen Shuford CEO of Shurtape Technologies and C. Randall Isenhower, chairman of Catawba County Commissioners, will be held at 4:30 pm. The ceremony will include the recognition of donors with a large bronze plaque affixed to the exterior. The plaque will list donors to the building fund. 

“The building was purchased with donations from private donors that provided contributions above and beyond their annual giving”, said Jennie Connor, CCUW executive director. “No monies were used from the yearly campaign,” emphasized Connor.  

The facilities include administrative offices, board room, training room, and storage areas. The larger rooms are available for community meetings. Community partners are encouraged to use the facility. Furnishings were brought from the previous location which was Corning Cable Systems. Corning provided the office space as a gift-in-kind to CCUW from 2004 to 2016. 

The event will include a presentation of the CCUW history, photos and memorable moments, a Proclamation, and refreshments. 

 For 72 years, Catawba County United Way has been an independent, locally governed and community-supported nonprofit agency, doing significant work in our community.  Their focus is on identifying and creating long-term, lasting change in the areas of Education, Income and Health with outcomes that will ultimately create a more vital, more stable, better community in which to live and work.  CCUW provides organizations and individuals the opportunity to give, advocate and volunteer to help achieve measurable results and strengthen Catawba County. Visit www.ccunitedway.comfor more CCUW information.

  

Catawba County United Way - 24th Annual Cross Country Invitational 

OCTOBER 12, 2016:

 

Buses, runners, coaches, families, hot dogs and community! The 24th Annual Unifour Cross Country Invitational will be held at Southside Park in Newton on October 12th. 

 

 Each year, high school teams must complete a service project in order to register for the races. More than 30 high schools, on average, participate in the highly competitive races each year totaling up to more than 700 runners. More than five races will be run, beginning with the developmental contest at 2 p.m. 

 

 The meet will conclude with awards and a special presentation by Dr. Amanda Kloo, the founder of Project Momentum. This year’s theme comes from Project Momentum’s twitter handle which encourages fitness and inclusivity. The theme is “#Getsomemo.” The event is free and open to the public. 

 

 Project Momentum seeks the make health and fitness possible for everyone, and it began several years ago as a result of Dr.Kloo’s own remarkable story. A mom, wife and an education professor at Belmont Abbey College, she has cerebral palsy and spent much of her life believing physical strength was unattainable. On December 3, 2013 she began a quest to change that, and with the help of Crossfit 77 in Mooresville she did. Today Dr. Kloo no longer depends on her braces and canes, she has improved her health and fitness significantly, and last year she finished fifth in the Adaptive Crossfit Division at the 2015 Working Wounded Games. 

 

“My health, work, family and life have been completely transformed by functional fitness training,” Dr.Kloo says, “and I have promised myself I will do everything in my power to pay it forward.”  

 

 “The races will include some of the best runners in the state,” said John Hall, event organizer. In addition to racing that afternoon, participants will enjoy a meal prepared by United Way volunteers, meet t-shirts and other gifts, and compete for a number of awards. 

 

 This year’s United Way Invitational is the 24th annual race and will continue a tradition as a highly competitive and unique high school cross country event. The premier sponsors are Cargo Transporters, Century Furniture and Catawba Valley Medical Center. Additional sponsors of the event include Catawba County United Way, Newton Recreation, A Signco, Premier Screen Printing, Sharp, Pepsi, Drums-Willis-Reynolds Funeral Home, and Big Kahuna Timing. 

 

Photos of the event including award winners and sponsors will be posted on the www.ccunitedway.com website following the event. Follow Catawba County United Way on Facebook. 

 

 John Hall, an event organizer said, “This is really unique in that it is a high school athletic event.  It’s certainly one of the largest events in this area. Thank you to the coaches, the runners, United Way volunteers for your participation in the meet.”   

 

CCUW provides organizations and individuals the opportunity to give, advocate and volunteer to help achieve measurable results and strengthen Catawba County. Visit www.ccunitedway.com for more CCUW information. 

 

 

Catawba County United Way Welcomes New Board Members Announces New Officers



Catawba County United Way welcomed seven new members to its Board of Directors and has announced its new officers.  The group was introduced at the recent CCUW Board Advance.

New members to the Catawba County United Way Board include Dr. Robbie Adell, Superintendent, Hickory Public Schools; Rev. Ken Curtis, Sr. Pastor, Mt. Pleasant United Methodist Church; Dr. Aron Gabriel, Superintendent, Newton-Conover City Schools; Sean (Bobby) Lineberger, Master Sgt, NC Highway Patrol; Rodney Miller, Asst. City Manager, City of Hickory; Robert Miracle, CFO, Catawba County Government and Mark Turner, VP and Treasurer, CommScope. 

Newly elected officers are Board President, Bill Cable, Peoples Bank; Vice President, Debra Bechtel, Catawba County Government and Treasurer, Kevin Boyle, Century Furniture.  Philip Moore, PNC Bank, will serve as the 2016-2017 Campaign Chair.  

Catawba County United Way’s Board of Directors consists of community leaders who volunteer their time to oversee the governance of the organization as well as guide its strategic direction.  Each new Board member will serve an initial three year term ending in 2017. “We are pleased to welcome these committed and impassioned individuals to our board. They join our returning members who are actively involved in the local community and bring a wealth of expertise and talent to our organization," explained Jennie Connor, Executive Director, "Each member will help us accomplish our organizational objectives, strengthen our connection to the community, and communicate our many success stories." 

Dr. Adell attended Western Carolina University and University of the Cumberlands where he earned his doctorate in 2011.   A member of the NC Assoc. of Educators, he enjoys reading, golf and is a fan of college football.  Adell and wife Melody reside in Hickory and have two children.

Senior Pastor of Mt. Pleasant United Methodist Church, Sherrills Ford, NC, Rev. Curtis is a graduate of Appalachian State University and Emory University. He is a current member of the Sherrills Ford/Terrell Rotary and volunteers with the Sherrills Ford Optimist Club as coach for both soccer and baseball.  Curtis and wife Mindy have four children and reside in Sherrills Ford.

Dr. Gabriel, Asst. Superintendent, Newton-Conover City Schools, attended Montreat College, UNCC, Appalachian State and Western Carolina University.  He currently serves on the NC Assoc. of School Administrators and is a board member of the Hearts and Hope Foundation.  A Catawba County native, Gabriel and wife Mandy have two children and reside in Sherrills Ford.

Master Sgt. Lineberger, of the NC Highway Patrol, attended Bunker Hill High School and Livingstone College.   He is presently Board Chair for the State Employees Credit Union and serves as VP of the Oxford Fire Department.  In his spare time, Lineberger enjoys golf and refereeing college basketball.  He and wife Brittany have two children and reside in Claremont.

Assistant City Manager for the City of Hickory, Miller is a member of the NC Government Finance Officers Assoc, WPCOG Region E Development Corp, Government Finance Officers Assoc. – US & Canada and was recognized as Most Outstanding NC Finance Officer in 2011.  A Hickory native, he is a graduate of St. Stephens High School and NC State University. Miller enjoys golf, volleyball and guitar.  He and wife Tracy have three children and reside in Hickory.

Miracle, a CPA, is CFO for Catawba County Government.  A graduate of Ohio State University where he majored in accounting he is a member of both the National and NC Government Finance Officers Assoc.   Miracle is an outdoor enthusiast and soccer referee, Miracle and wife Donna have three children and reside in Hickory.

Turner, VP & Treasurer, CommScope, Inc. attended Dexter High School, Dexter, MI and the University of Michigan where he received his BBA and MBA. He enjoys water skiing and guitar.  Turner and wife Darcy reside in Hickory and have one child.

For 72 years, Catawba County United Way has been an independent, locally governed and community-supported nonprofit agency, doing significant work in our community.  Their focus is on identifying and creating long-term, lasting change in the areas of Education, Income and Health with outcomes that will ultimately create a more vital, more stable, better community in which to live and work.  CCUW provides organizations and individuals the opportunity to give, advocate and volunteer to help achieve measurable results and strengthen Catawba County.