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Mitchvanyahres_7 We have lost a caring and dedicated champion – Mitch Van Yahres.  Mitch was always focused on the needs of others and, in particular, members of our community who needed a little help, who needed an opportunity to be independent and productive citizens.  As a United Way Board Member, Mitch always volunteered to help.  Energetically Mitch helped us raise funds for important programs serving children and their families, the elderly, those needing access to health and wellness and for the many services that strengthened our community.  Each year Mitch participated in our annual United Way Laurence E. Richardson Day of Caring by working at a local nonprofit and even more importantly visiting work sites and thanking the thousands of volunteers for their gift of time (as seen in the photo on the left).  I will miss Mitch - as will many in our community.  Mitch lives on in each of us as we pick up his mantle of service to others.

Posted by Cathy Train.

Bid, Buy and Support Your Community!

Aata_logocolor_2 Add some excitement to your Valentine’s Day shopping!! The United Way- Thomas Jefferson Area’s “All Around Town Auction” starts TODAY and runs through February 12! 

Typically, silent auctions collect donated items or services for an auction held at a party. Most bidders will never visit donor businesses. This event is different: each participating business will display its donated item on the sales floor in a small display. Auction marketing materials encourage customers to visit participating stores, bringing new and increased traffic. 

Dinner for eight in your home, a spa package, jewelry, sporting goods and a month's parking downtown in the Water Street garage are just some of the items you can bid on. Best of all, all proceeds benefit the United Way-Thomas Jefferson Area.

Donor businesses are on Ivy Road, on the Downtown Mall, on 29 North, at the Millmont Shops, and in other locations: there’s a bidding site near you!

Bid, Buy and Better your Community when you participate in the “All Around Town Auction.”

Click to find out more and to view all of the items available for auction: http://www.unitedwaytja.org/HomePage/Downloads/AllAroundTownAuction_2008.pdf

Posted by Caroline Emerson.

My Friend

With heavy heart the loss of Steve Nock sinks in to my world – a world now much smaller without Steve.  Steve approached life and living with the inquisitive nature of a wide-eyed child, the gentle and firm hand of a favorite professor, and the caring spirit of someone who knew every life mattered.  And did he ever know.  I count myself lucky to have known Steve and will cherish his friendship and the teachings he imparted along his way.  May we all walk a bit taller and care a little more because of Steve. 

Posted by Cathy Train.

In Memoriam: Steven Nock. Friend, Advisor, and Board Member

Stevenock_4It is with sadness that I sit to write this blog about the passing of our friend and board member, Steven Nock.  Any one of us on staff at United Way could do it, all with different memories of Steve.  But we all share in common the gratitude for how Steve has impacted our organization, our community and our lives as individuals. 

I had the pleasure of meeting Professor Nock in my third year at the University of Virginia.  I attended his Sociology of the Family course, soaking up everything that he lectured about.  He was my favorite professor teaching my favorite class.  He then took me under his wing as my advisor to develop and implement an independent research project that evolved into my thesis.  He believed in my work, offered wonderful insights and direction, while allowing me to keep the project “my own.”  I am forever grateful to have had the opportunity to work with him. 

After graduating from U.Va., I took my position as the Volunteer Center Director at the United Way-Thomas Jefferson Area. Shortly after starting at United Way, I attended our first board meeting and discovered that he was one of our long time board members.  What a pleasant surprise that our paths should cross again.  Though it still seems strange to call him anything but “Professor Nock,” Steve has impacted our organization in countless ways since he was involved with the creation of the United Way Information and Referral Center in 1975, and came on board in 1985.  In recent years, he offered us his professional skills as a demographer, to help us define and illustrate what poverty looks like in our community.  Click here to view the Community Profile that Steve so diligently worked on.

We, at United Way, will miss this wonderful person, our friend.  We invite you to share your comments about Steve so that we can all remember how he has touched many lives through the United Way.

Posted by Shaele Wood.

Charlottesville – The Other Side of Affluence

Hi. My name is Kim Connolly and I’m Director of Marketing & Communications here at the United Way. My job is to help people understand what we do and hopefully inspire them to get involved. Here is my favorite quote:



“A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.”

                                                                                     -- Jackie Robinson



I found it interesting that in Sunday’s Daily Progress story on the Barracks Road Goody’s store closing, the Charlottesville area was characterized as being too affluent to support a lower-end store like Goody’s. Granted, the Barracks Road Shopping Center does cater to a higher end market, but to characterize the entire area as being typical of that demographic brings to mind the ostrich’s head in the sand. (Click on the image to read The Daily Progress article.)



Sure, it’s nice to think of our community in terms of a tourism brochure, with the natural beauty and abundant recreational and cultural opportunities of Central Virginia and Charlottesville. But those of us in the nonprofit biz also get to see the flip side of that public image – the 25% of the population in Charlottesville that lives at or below the Federal Poverty Level, the 14% of families in our five county area without health insurance, the high rate of substantiated cases of child abuse in this area, and so on.



At the risk of sounding like a wet rag, we cannot ignore a significant percent of our population that cannot enjoy all this area has to offer because they are working 2 or 3 jobs, or don’t have a car, or cannot afford sports equipment or registration fees for their kids. Goody’s was one of the local stores that accepted vouchers from Santa Fund Families.



Check out this amazing blog to see what we see every day. http://www.voicesofpoverty.org/




Think about it - one in four of us in Charlottesville lives in poverty.



Open your eyes and get involved in the nonprofit organization of your choice.


Give. Advocate. Volunteer.

Welcome to "Living United"

Hello, and welcome to “Living United,” our United Way- Thomas Jefferson Area blog. Here you’ll find commentary by staff and volunteers from the United Way- Thomas Jefferson Area, located in Charlottesville, Virginia (www.UnitedWayTJA.org).

Today, you are hearing from Caroline Emerson. I’m the Vice President and Campaign Director, the person with the coolest job here (in my opinion): I work with many, many volunteers from all walks of life to raise dollars for the United Way- Thomas Jefferson Area. Some days I am giving a speech in a corporate cafeteria; some days I am meeting the clients of a local nonprofit program that we fund; some days I am making flyers; some days I’m meeting with local businesspersons; some days I am plunging the office toilet. Because we have such a small staff, I get the opportunity to do all sorts of things, and I never get bored.

We’re new to blogging and hope that you, our readers, will let us know what you’d like to hear about. We welcome your comments. We want you to get to know us, and we want to get to know you.

So, on to what’s new: this week we returned from our holiday celebrations to find our stocking (mailbox) full of donations from generous community members. Wow! Our annual Community Campaign is currently running well ahead of its total on this date last year. This is important because there are many, many needs that go unmet each year due to lack of funds. Thanks to everyone who has made a gift- you are appreciated! We still have a long way to go to reach our goal, but we can do it!

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