For the past nineteen years, United Way of Northwest Georgia has celebrated Make a Difference Day on the fourth Friday and Saturday in October. This year was no exception, with $10,000 in grant funding provided by Brown Industries and Phenix Flooring, and a total of nine projects.
United Way of Northwest Georgia is honored to participate in Make a Difference Day each year. “We are committed to building better futures within our community. Brown Industries and Phenix Flooring’s sponsorship has ensured that countless lives will be improved through these volunteer projects.” United Way President, Amanda Burt.
Brown Industries and Phenix Flooring will be partnering with United Way to install a Born Learning Trail in the Dalton Civitan Park. The Born Learning Trail consists of activities to promote early learning and advocating for family health. Due to rainy weather, this project has been rescheduled for Friday, November 1, 2019.
The United Way Young Leaders Society assisted in creating a safer facility for rehabilitating substance abuse clients within Whitfield and Murray Counties. They helped spread gravel, put a fresh coat of paint on two sets of stairs, and planted flowers at Carter Hope Center. This project will make the facility easier to access for patients and their families.
The United Way Women’s Leadership Council worked to assemble house warming gifts for Habitat homeowners. Habitat for Humanity of Dalton, Whitfield, and Murray serves low income families in our community to help build their home. Their mission is giving a family a "hand up not a handout." These gifts will help families transition into their new homes and help to provide a safe space.
Together with the fire departments, community partners and volunteers, American Red Cross canvassed at-risk neighborhoods in Murray County to install smoke alarms, replace batteries in existing alarms, and provide fire prevention and safety education. The Make a Difference Day funding provided over 50 new smoke alarms.
For the past six years, the United Way of Northwest Georgia Volunteer Center Cabinet has partnered with the Dalton State College School of Social Work in order to provide funding for a project. Five groups of students from the senior class presented their project proposals to members of the cabinet. Each group developed a project plan with a budget of $500. For this year’s project, the cabinet funded the Compassion House project.
The students landscaped a playground and installed new equipment at the Compassion House. This project will provide a safe and fun environment for the kids to play.
One of our Community Partners, Big Brothers Big Sisters, had volunteers that spent the day painting the lobby and removing/ reapplying vinyl decals. Due to rainy weather, work to the outside of the building has been rescheduled for a later date. By completing this project, BBBS has more time to focus on their Community Based Program (the Big Program) which provides one-on-one mentoring with at-risk youth and group activities for children waiting for a mentor.
Another group of volunteers constructed a closet to hold clothing for victims of sexual assault. The GreenHouse serves all victims of sexual abuse, primarily child victims, by providing assistance during forensic medical exams, recorded forensic interviews, therapy services, advocacy, and court preparation. By building this closet, victims are provided with clothing when they’re asked to leave their personal clothing behind for evidentiary purposes.
In addition, Shaw Industries sponsored a Make a Difference Day project at Eastbrook Middle School. Volunteers painted encouraging messages on bathroom stalls, assembled teacher appreciation boxes, and installed new flooring in the lobby area. This project promotes the mental health of students and teachers within our community.
This year was also the 25th annual event of the Conasauga River Watershed Clean-Up. Volunteers rolled up their sleeves and cleaned up trash from the river and banks at the following seven locations: Conasauga River at Carlton Petty Rd. bridge, Conasauga River at Highway 2 bridge, Conasauga River at Lower King’s Bridge and Norton Bridge, Holly Creek, Murray County, on the Chattahoochee National Forest, Mill Creek tributary in the City of Dalton, Coahulla Creek at Prater’s Mill, and Lakeshore Park in the City of Dalton. Over the past 24 years we've had 6,089 volunteers that have picked up over 254,000 POUNDS of litter from our waterways. This year the largest piece of trash removed from a waterway was a shopping cart!
United Way works year-round to fight for the education, basic needs, and health of every person in our community. We’re in the business of building better futures. Let’s do something about it and LIVE UNITED. Visit ourunitedway.org to get involved.