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Success Stories

Success Stories

When you make a gift to United Way of Berks County, your contribution makes a difference in the lives of 100,000 individuals throughout Berks County.  Meet some of the people you've helped below and download Meet the People You've Helped for more success stories.

 

93-Year-Old Local Man Maintains His Independence with Meals on Wheels

Meals on Wheels Success StoryDick has always been a very independent man, and he continues to live alone at the age of 93 with the help of United Way funded Meals on Wheels. But for Dick, Meals on Wheels is more than a hot daily meal delivered to his door by friendly volunteers; it's also a safety check - eyes and ears in his home every day to see if there is anything he needs or if he's experiencing an emergency.

Dick appreciates the friendliness and care shown by the volunteers who deliver his meals, and he has expressed on several occasions that those daily visits are a bright spot in an otherwise quiet and solitary existence. "Meals on Wheels lets me feel feel safe and secure in my home, and allows me to keep my independence," he said.

United Way focuses on health, education, financial stability and safety net services throughout Berks County. Together, we’re the hand raisers, the problem solvers and the game changers. A stronger community starts here.

 

 

 

 

Isaac Finds A Big Brother in Steve

Big Brothers Big Sisters Success StoryIsaac, a 14-year-old smart and friendly teen, was missing something in his life – someone he could relate to and do “guy things” with …a Big Brother. Steve, a recent retiree and empty nester, was searching for an opportunity to fill his time in a meaningful way. Thanks to United Way agency partner, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Isaac and Steve became the perfect match. They hang out several times a week. Isaac plays football, and Steve is his biggest supporter. He takes Isaac to his practices and leads his cheering section at games. Exercise is important to both of them so you will often find them at the gym. Steve also introduced Isaac to woodworking, one of his favorite hobbies, and supports Isaac’s academic interests. Understanding Isaac’s passion for engineering, Steve helped him enroll in an Engineering Camp.

United Way funding, through your support, helps Big Brothers/Big Sisters provide mentoring programs to nearly 300 kids in Berks County.

United Way focuses on health, education, financial stability and safety net services throughout Berks County. Together, we’re the hand raisers, the problem solvers and the game changers. A stronger community starts here.

 

 

 

Jeffry Achieves His Dream of Homeownership

Habitat for Humanity Success Story
Jeffry works as a cook at a local retirement home. He heard about Habitat for Humanity of Berks County through a friend at church, who is a Habitat Homeowner herself. Jeffry completed his sweat equity hours in just a little more than a year, working in the homes and at the ReStore. He also attended financial workshops, homeownership classes and received one-on-one financial counseling. He did all this while working full-time and attending classes part-time. This past February, Jeffry closed on his new home and is looking forward to getting married. He has great plans for his future.

United Way focuses on health, education, financial stability and safety net services throughout Berks County. Together, we’re the hand raisers, the problem solvers and the game changers. A stronger community starts here.

 

 

 

 

Porter Reaches Milestones Thanks to Collaborative Efforts

YMCA Success StoryPorter is an active and happy two year old. He feeds himself, pulls himself up at tables and walks when both hands are held. These are important milestones for Porter, who at a year old had no use of his muscles. Porter joined the young toddler program at the YMCA just days after his first birthday. He was unable to sit up on his own, he did not roll over or feed himself he had not met standard ages and stages of development key indicators. The teachers in this program began working with Porter and Porter's family, to develop an intervention plan that would provide United Way funded support services to assist in his development. Easter Seals was engaged and soon the teachers were working with Porter on tummy time, rolling over, and other gross motor skills according to the recommendations from Easter Seals. Easter Seals also regularly spent time in the center with Porter to further develop his skills. Porter took a break in the summer and returned in September. When he returned he was smiling and waving and starting to army crawl. After just a few weeks back in class, he was fully crawling and mobile.

Porter is continuing his journey and made progress by leaps and bounds based on the dedication, training, and commitment he has received from his teachers, his family, and the partners from Easter Seals.

United Way focuses on health, education, financial stability and safety net services throughout Berks County. Together, we’re the hand raisers, the problem solvers and the game changers. A stronger community starts here.

 

 

 

Veteran Edward Has Access to Critical Health Care

American Red Cross Veteran Success StoryLike many local veterans, Edward has a 45-60 minute drive to the VA Medical Center in Lebanon, where he receives critical medical care. With no vehicle of their own, Edward and his wife Carol rely on United Way supported transportation through the Red Cross Veteran Transportation Program to safely travel to and from Edward’s appointments. Without this service, Edward would face significant challenges to receiving the care he needs.

According to Carol, she and her husband are grateful for the service they've received. "Red Cross volunteers come right to our door to transport Edward to the Lebanaon VA," Carol said, "and bring him directly home at no charge."

United Way focuses on health, education, financial stability and safety net services throughout Berks County. Together, we’re the hand raisers, the problem solvers and the game changers. A stronger community starts here.

 

 

 

 

 

A Catastrophic Fall Changed Missy's Life

BVNA Success Story
After a catastrophic fall in her home in January 2017, Missy spent nearly 5 months in hospitalization and acute rehabilitation care. Her first round of in home care, provided by Tower Health at Home (formerly BVNA), ran from June through August 2017. Missy's family said, "We were very impressed by Kris Stump, PT, Donna Boulanger, OT, and Krista Ellis, ST. Their outstanding care and therapy services helped Missy move forward in her initial recovery and return home. Their professionalism, care, information, and generous time helped us, Missy’s caregivers, as well as Missy to prepare for the at home recovery we were facing."

One year later, after a three week stay at Moss Rehabilitation Institute, in-home care was needed once again, and the family immediately called BVNA. "We are thrilled to have Kris, Krista and Laura Wilson, OT with us to provide exceptional in-home therapy," said Missy's family. "In addition to their professional therapy skills, they take the time to train us to assist Missy in her transition to lead a more mobile and independent life in and outside of our home. Their knowledge and skills have provided hope and excitement that Missy can indeed stand and rise up from her traumatic brain injury."

United Way focuses on health, education, financial stability and safety net services throughout Berks County. Together, we’re the hand raisers, the problem solvers and the game changers. A stronger community starts here.

 

  

 Hector Is Learning Job Skills and Becoming Self-Sufficient

BPN Success Story
Throughout high school, Hector was in a Life Skills class, had an Individualized Educational Program and attended Reading Muhlenberg Career and Technology Center to learn basic work skills. The employment opportunity gave him an opportunity to practice and hone those skills in a competitive integrated environment.

With support from Berks Personnel Network of Threshold Rehabilitation Services, Hector was able to obtain his first job. Through this opportunity, he has learned responsibility, improved his focus and gained confidence. Hector now has solid work experience on his resume, is developing a long-term attachment to work, and is learning how to be self-sufficient. Our community is stronger when all citizens are involved - socially and vocationally - no matter what their challenges.


United Way focuses on health, education, financial stability and safety net services throughout Berks County. Together, we’re the hand raisers, the problem solvers and the game changers. A stronger community starts here.

 

 

 

David Is Helping Other Veterans After Turning His Life Around

Catholic Charities Success Story
When David returned from his second tour of Iraq, where he served in the Army Infantry, he found himself facing personal and financial hardships, along with PTSD.

David wanted to turn his life around, but he needed the tools to do it. With the help of case management supported by United Way funding, David received financial, utility and food assistance. The case manager also helped him focus on financial stability goals. David is also enrolled at Alvernia University through the GI Bill, working towards a degree in Social Work. He continues to "pay it forward" by referring other veterans to the program so that they have the same opportunities to thrive and achieve their goals.

United Way focuses on health, education, financial stability and safety net services throughout Berks County. Together, we’re the hand raisers, the problem solvers and the game changers. A stronger community starts here.