For the past 21 years, United Way of Northwest Georgia has celebrated Make a Difference Day on the fourth Friday and Saturday in October. United Way hosted volunteer projects on October 14 and the week of October 18 - 23. Phenix Flooring is this year’s Make a Difference Day Premier Sponsor. Phenix Flooring gave $5,000 in grant funding to help make this year’s Make a Difference Day outstanding! This year we also had five additional project sponsors: Shaw Industries, Dalton Utilities, and United Way of Northwest Georgia’s Young Leaders Society, Women’s Leadership Council, and Youth United. Through the Power of Community, ten volunteer projects were held in Whitfield and Murray Counties.
“United Way of Northwest Georgia is honored to participate in Make a Difference Day each year. At United Way, we know how impactful our Make a Difference Day projects are within our local community. In addition, Phenix Flooring sponsorship has ensured that countless lives will be improved through these volunteer projects. To Live Better we must all Live United because that’s The Power of Community.” United Way President, Amanda Burt.
Our Premier Sponsor, Phenix Flooring, is sponsoring a volunteer project with United Way Community Partner, Meals on Wheels in Murray County. This project is currently in progress and volunteers will work to install new flooring at the facility. Meals on Wheels provides nutritious meals to homebound seniors in Chatsworth and surrounding communities. Their goal is to provide more than a meal. They believe they can make a difference in the lives of those they serve because their staff and volunteers make a special effort to check on the well-being of each of our seniors when they visit. A meal delivered with a smile and a few encouraging words can mean a lot to someone whose health is keeping them from being able to get out. In addition to helping the seniors, their service supports families by providing a daily nutritious meal that helps keep their loved ones at home, living independently for as long as possible.
Other projects completed for United Way of Northwest Georgia's Make A Difference Day include:
Dalton Utilities sponsored a volunteer project at United Way Community Partner, Looper Speech and Hearing Center. Volunteers helped create an outdoor seating area where patients and their families will have the option to sit outside while waiting for therapy services. This is important because Looper has many medically fragile patients/families who would prefer to wait outside given the continued Covid pandemic. Looper Speech and Hearing Center has served a wide range of speech and hearing needs of patients from infants through seniors. The Center’s mission is to offer communication improvement solutions that are affordable and accessible to the communities we serve.
Shaw Industries sponsored a Make a Difference Day Project with United Way Community Partner, Salvation Army in Murray County. The Salvation Army will have a new home in Murray County called A Place of Hope in Spring Place. In having acquired this new facility, there was a lot of demolition and renovation that needed to happen before the new facility could open to the public. Shaw Industries worked for a week and helped demo existing flooring, install new flooring, paint, and outdoor beautification.
Marketing Alliance Group partnered with United Way’s Youth United group to install a Born Learning Trail at Westside Park. The Born Learning Trail consists of activities to promote early learning and advocate for family health. The Born Learning Trail is a series of 10 interactive signs that offer fun, active learning activities for young children and their families. Signs are available in English and Spanish and feature different activities that engage early childhood developmental skills. Activities along this trail work alongside United Way’s strategic guideline of getting kids ready for kindergarten, reading at grade level by 3rd grade, and graduating on time with skills to be career and life-ready. These trails will help parents, caregivers and members of our community create quality engagement opportunities when out on a stroll or visiting a local playground. Go check out the new Born Learning Trail at Westside Park, and turn everyday moments into learning moments!
Mohawk Industries volunteered at United Way Community Partner, Salvation Army in Dalton. Volunteers helped sort through donated goods in the Salvation Army Thrift Store. Everything you donate to – or buy from – a Salvation Army thrift store generates income that provides helpful programs and essential services to people in need right in our local community. Also, when you donate to or buy from a Salvation Army Thrift Store you’re putting members of your own community to work managing the store. On average, each store has 8 to 10 employees, and some of the jobs, like sorting, pricing, and stocking donations provide work therapy and job training for men and women in their programs.
The United Way Young Leaders Society worked with United Way Community Partner, Carter Hope Center on a grounds beautification project. They planted flowers, shrubs, and laid mulch around their office area. Carter Hope Center provides a structured and safe living environment to those individuals that are in need of a long-term residential program, which encourages spiritual, physical, and emotional recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. In addition, The Young Leaders Society installed a new Little Free Library at Haig Mill Park. The post for the Little Free Library was generously donated by Jenvin's Ace Hardware and the Jensen family. The purpose of these libraries is to provide a place where all readers in the community can share books throughout the year. Participants can leave books to share with others in the box and take a book they would like to read. You can find all of our Little Free Libraries by visiting United Way’s website, www.ourunitedway.org/little-free-libraries.
The United Way Women’s Leadership Council collaborated with United Way Community Partner, The GreenHouse. Volunteers put together Bags of Hope for victims of sexual assault. These bags included toiletries and hygiene items. The Bags of Hope are given to victims of sexual assault when they arrive at The GreenHouse for a forensic interview. The GreenHouse is a Child Advocacy/Sexual Assault Center located in Dalton, Georgia. As a CAC/SAC, they offer services to help victims and their non-offending family members recover from trauma caused by child abuse and sexual assault.
We also facilitated a number of volunteers for United Way Community Partner, Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore One-Day sale. Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit organization that helps families build and improve places to call home. They believe affordable housing plays a critical role in strong and stable communities. Habitat for Humanity builds because they believe that everyone, everywhere should have a healthy, affordable place to call home. When a family helps build or improve a place they can call home, they are also building a better community, a better life for themselves.
This year was also the 27th 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 eight locations: Conasauga River at Carlton Petty Road Bridge, Conasauga River at Highway 2 Bridge, Conasauga River at Lower King’s Bridge/Norton Bridge, Holly Creek, Murray County, on the Chattahoochee National Forest, Mill Creek tributary in the City of Dalton, Lakeshore Park in the City of Dalton, Crown Creek in the City of Dalton, and Conasauga River Snorkeling Hole, TN.
United Way works year-round to fight for the education, basic needs, and health of every person in our local community. To Live Better we must all Live United because the Power of a Community United is greater than the sum of its individual parts! Visit ourunitedway.org for more information on how to get involved.
Visit ourunitedway.org for more information on how to get involved.
Visit volunteernwga.org for the latest volunteer opportunities.
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