Maria Burke, left, director of Literacy Volunteers, and Barb Brassard, director of the Retired Senior Volunteer Program, review United Way information following a meeting in Ticonderoga.
The United Way of the Adirondack Region would like to increase its presence in southern Essex County.
Officials of the agency, which serves Essex, Clinton and Franklin counties, visited Ticonderoga recently to explain their program and ask for input from local leaders.
“The Ticonderoga area has the potential to increase our capacity to help our partner agencies bring services to this area,” said Gayle Alexander, chairwoman of the 2013 United Way campaign. “We’d like to be move involved in Ticonderoga.”
Alexander was part of a United Way contingent that met with area government, civic and business people at Inter-Lakes Health Oct. 26.
The United Way of the Adirondack Region includes 41 partner agencies that provide human services to the North Country. In 2012 United Way assisted more than 80,000 people in Essex, Clinton and Franklin counties.
John Bernardi, executive director of the United Way of the Adirondack Region, said the Ticonderoga meeting was to help the group determine the needs and priorities of the Ticonderoga area and to find ways United Way can assist.
The United Way of the Adirondack Region is already present in the area. Several local United Way agencies — the Substance Abuse Prevention Team of Essex County, Literacy Volunteers, Retired Senior Volunteer Program, Mountain Lake Services and the Essex County Mental Health Association — had representatives at the gathering.
Bernardi acknowledged United Way would like to increase monetary contributions from the Ti area, but said that was only part of the reason for the visit to Ticonderoga.
“Fund raising is an important part of what we do, but it’s only part,” he said. “Most important is how we use those funds with our partner agencies to support programs that help people.”
Kathy Snow, United Way director of development, explained the 211 telephone program that allows people to get health and human services information by calling 211. Help with child care, children’s activities, counseling and support groups, food, clothing, shelter, aging services, transportation, substance abuse, domestic violence, veterans affairs and more is available by calling 211 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. The information is also available online at www.hudson211.org
Larry Pickreign, United Way outreach coordinator, explained the program’s volunteer center and the annual Day of Caring.
The North Country Regional Volunteer Center works to connect non-profit organizations in need of help with willing volunteers.
“We’re becoming a clearinghouse for volunteerism,” Pickreign said. “We are working with existing groups like RSVP, Literacy Volunteers, the Red Cross and others to match them with volunteers.”
People interested in the volunteer center can call 563-0028 or go online at www.northcountryvolunteer.org
Pickreign also discussed the annual United Way Day of Caring, which will be held April 27, 2013. That day volunteers work on community projects. In 2012 more than 400 volunteers worked on 50 projects in the North Country.
“I’m hoping we’ll have projects in the Ticonderoga area this year (2013),” Pickreign said. “I think Ticonderoga is a perfect place for this kind of project. It’s a volunteer initiative we’re very proud of.”
Bernardi said the United Way of the Adirondack Region, based in Plattsburgh, has 41 partner agencies, including 26 that provide services in Essex County.
“We’re the hub of a collection of human service agencies in a three-county area providing help to many people,” he said. “It’s a role we really enjoy and cherish.”
Barb Brassard, director of Port Henry-based RSVP, thanked United Way for its assistance and noted the importance of both United Way and RSVP.
“We (RSVP) had more than 350 volunteers at over 80 stations volunteer 45,000 hours last year,” Brassard said. “We’re very proud of our program.”
Maria Burke, director of Literacy Volunteers based in Port Henry, also noted the role of United Way.
“Working with United Way and knowing I have that support makes me so thankful,” Burke said. “We support each other and continue to grow.”
Bernardi pointed out United Way provides advice and technical support to its member agencies along with financial assistance.
The United Way of the Adirondack Region is now in the midst of its annual funding campaign. It hopes to raise $775,000 this year to be distributed to member agencies.
More information on the United Way can be found on line at www.unitedwayadk.org or by calling 563-0028.