Swift Current United Way announces $110,000 campaign target

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The Swift Current United Way has set a fundraising goal of $110,000 for their annual fall United Way Community Campaign in order to help meet the needs of their member agencies for the coming year.

The campaign target was unveiled at their annual campaign kick-off breakfast at the Sky Centre on Friday morning, with a near capacity audience turning out for the campaign launch. The Swift Current United Way successfully reached last year's campaign goal of $100,000, with this year's extra funds intended to help fund additional programming in the community.

The Swift Current United Way supports a network of 13 funded member agencies who collectively provide over 150 programs in the community which reaches over 10,000 people. Two additional Funded Partners were added last year, with the Family Resource Centre and Southwest Homes added to their agency list of: The Canadian Mental Health Association, Canadian Paraplegic Association, Canadian Red Cross, CNIB, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Early Childhood Intervention Program, Multiple Sclerosis Society, Saskatchewan Association for Community Living, Saskatchewan Abilities Council, Southwest Crisis Services Inc., and St. John Ambulance.

"We are really excited to see how we can make our community even better and make it stronger in 2014," United Way Executive Director Darla Lindbjerg said after announcing their fundraising goal.

"It was very nice to have a kickoff event like this where we got a lot of support," she added.

Lindbjerg highlighted to the audience that everyone at the kick-off breakfast is connected by their passion for the community and desire to make their community a better place to live.

"The United Way does not just give money to our partners, we work proactively to identify gaps within the social fabric of our community, and collaboratively work to create meaningful and lasting solutions for those gaps."

As a focus for the kick-off, the United Way chose to shine a focus on one of their mandate focus areas, All That Kids Can Be. The United Way's funding partners made over 1,000 home visits and provided resources and assistance to children with disabilities, to children who are delayed or at risk of delay.

This past year the United Way Active Play after school program was offered through Swift Current's four elementary schools, and the United Way announced additional funding for the program which will ensure it is delivered again this year. Active Play guided students in Grades one through five in physical activities, provided them with a nutritious snack, and conducted educational activities.

As a pilot project in 2013, Active Play reached over 200 elementary aged students over the five week run of the program. This year, the expanded program will double in size, with the program now offered twice a week and running for six weeks.

"We have a lot of programs that we fund and support. A lot of them aren't known by the community, so this is our way to try to give them an example of one of the many programs that we offer that is valuable and worthwhile in our community," Lindbjerg said.

She also highlighted the importance of supporting children as a United Way.

"Exercise and nutrition is vital for kids. If they don't get the right nutrition, exercise, and programs and education in place, even before they start school, their chances when they get further into school is a lot harder. So we're trying to make sure that those programs are both in place for kids zero to six through programs by say ECIP or the Family Resource Centre, but as well we saw a gap missing in the community in where we were supporting from Grades one to five, and we wanted to make sure that was filled. So this program does that."

Friday's kick-off breakfast also confirmed that the Day of Caring will be returning on June 2 to 6 in 2014. The Day of Caring was hosted in Swift Current for the first time this past year, linking volunteers with hands on projects to help improve their member agencies.

"We hope to expand it. It was a great success this last year. A lot of organizations were helped, and a lot of companies took part. We're hoping next year the same thing happens and even more people come on board. Because without that collaboration and that partnership between the community members and the organizations that help the community, you have a disconnect. So we're trying to bridge that gap and we're trying to create a belief between them, both to get projects done but also to build relationships in the community."

Organizations: Swift Current United Way

Geographic location: Swift Current

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