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Both Mentors and Kids Learn from Each Other

January is National Mentoring Month and all month long we'll be bringing you stories about local mentors. Thank you to Computers4Kids for providing us with this “conversation” with one of their Mentor and Mentee matches.

Mentor (Lisa):

Keshawna and I have been learning about good design, unique presentation tools, and a wide variety of software resources since first meeting in September. Our weekly visits are full of fun and challenge. Keshawna has taught me to be more confident in choosing new color templates and fonts as she is especially talented with art and graphic design. We are wrapping up our first project in a week, and are already talking about ideas for what's next. We want to learn more about coding and building a website. I continue to be inspired by Keshawna's maturity. Being her mentor has been a privilege and great fun!

Mentee (Keshawna):

At Computers4Kids, I am looking forward to building a website. I was first interested in making a website when I did coding at my school. I was surprised at how fun and interesting it was to do. During my time at Computers4Kids I have to do 2 projects. My first project is on different hip hop dancers. I made my presentation on prezi, an animated tool to make presentations more exciting.

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Mentor (Lisa):

Here is a screen shot of Keshawna's prezi! The live version features edited photos, imbedded video, and a little surprise musical question created using a track in Garage Band and Audacity for the viewer. It helps to connect the audience to the message. The prezi is a fun and engaging story about three popular hip hop artists, all new to me, but I really like its style!


At our United Way Volunteer Center’s Mentor & Tutor Volunteer Fair on January 27, you can visit with representatives of Computers4Kids and a dozen more local organizations. Find the fit that is right for you!


Posted by: Kim Connolly

YOU Can Be The Change. Become A Volunteer Mentor Or Tutor.

Mentor photo  text 2014We all want children to live up to their full potential, but sometimes their circumstances work against them.

Kids who have mentors are more likely to stay out of trouble, get better grades, keep away from drugs and graduate high school.

Being a mentor or a tutor is easy. There are lots of organizations in our area that work with kids, and they are looking for volunteers. It is not hard work: take a kid along with you when you plant your garden or visit the library. Read a book or walk your dog together. Share your passion for art…or music…or math…or baseball.

As a matter of fact, adults who are mentors say that they feel they get just as much out of the experience as the kids!

It's that simple.

January is National Mentoring Month, and our United Way Volunteer Center is sharing mentor stories all month long. We are joined in our mission of encouraging more people to volunteer as mentors and tutors by wonderful local partners: NBC29, The Daily Progress, and all the Monticello Media radio stations (HitKicker 99.7, NewsTalk WCHV 107.5, Hot 101.9, Generations 102.3 and Sports Radio 1400 AM), plus the community-minded Omni Hotel is hosting our Mentor and Tutor Volunteer Fair on Monday, January 27 from 11:00 – 2:00. Our friends at Raising Cane’s are providing their delicious chicken fingers for attendees.

To learn more about the local organizations attending the fair, and who would love to help you become a mentor or tutor, visit CvilleVolunteer.org.

We hope to see you on January 27!

Mentor. Tutor. Pass it on!


Posted by: Kim Connolly

Helping Local Folks Enroll in Health Insurance

Both local and national media reports this weekend were mentioning today, December 23, as the deadline to enroll in an insurance plan under the Affordable Care Act.

This is untrue.

Today's deadline is for coverage that begins on January 1. The deadline to enroll in an insurance plan is March 31 without incurring penalties.

(Coverage can begin on February 1 for those who enroll by January 15. The rule is that if you sign up between the 1st - 15th of a month, then coverage can begin on the first of the next month. For those who enroll between the 16th to the end of the month, coverage begins the first of the following month [example - January 16 - 31 starts March 1])

The University of Virginia issued a press release last week about a survey it conducted on people enrolling in health care using Healthcare.gov. The statistics were interesting, but not surprising: people with more education found it easier to navigate the website, although many were frustrated by the well documented glitches early on.

What our local media did not do was connect the dots. The Greater Charlottesville Health Care Coalition was formed precisely because local nonprofits and health care providers were concerned about their patients and clients understanding even the basics of how health insurance works. That is why they created the simple and informative website, CvilleEnrolls.org.

CVille Enrolls website header

Coalition partners JABA (434-817-5239) and ASG (434-979-7714) all have staff trained as Certified Application Counselors. Federal "Navigators" are also available locally to help enroll (434-220-1496) and offer language assistance.

In our office, Jessie Ray, Coalition Coordinator and also a Certified Application Counselor, has been meeting with people on a regular basis to answer questions and help them enroll online. She reports that it is getting easier and easier as Healthcare.gov continues to improve. Coalition members can also help those who have previously tried to enroll but failed, to fix their application glitches and get enrolled.

So visit CvilleEnrolls.org to get answers to your questions about the Affordable Care Act and what it means for you. If you need more assistance, call Jessie Ray, Coalition Coordinator, at 434-972-1702. Tell your friends, neighbors and co-workers that there is local help available,even if you have already begun enrollment and have run into problems.


Posted by: Kim Connolly

Confused About the New Health Care Options and Requirements?

Confused Person for webConfused about the Affordable Care Act? You are not alone.

The Greater Charlottesville Community Health Coalition is offering quick lunchtime presentations at local library branches.

Get answers to basic questions about the new requirements, tax credits, changes to policies and how to get assistance in signing up.

12/16: Central, Library Madison Room

12/17: Central Library, Madison Room

12/18: Crozet Library, Meeting Room B

12/19: Gordon Ave Library, North Room

12/20: Northside Library, Meeting Room

Presentations run every half hour from 11:30 am until 1:30 pm.

For more information, visit http://www.cvilleenrolls.org/

or call Jessie Ray, Coalition Coordinator, at 434-972-1702.


You Can Help Kids Like Jackson

Jackson’s Story

boy silhouette“Jackson” is three years old. He learned to make himself small and quiet when his dad was yelling at and hitting his mom. Then late one night, his mom called the police to come to their house while she and Jackson left with a bag of clothes and some toothbrushes and went to the Shelter for Help in Emergency. The folks at the shelter were really nice and his mom finally got a job so they could move out. But they did not own anything or have any savings, so how was his mom going to be able to pay for child care when they did not even have any furniture?

The average annual cost of child care in our area is $8,200. Jackson’s mom would have a hard time keeping her job if they had to rely on a patchwork of friends and family to watch after him.

Other kids Jackson’s age have shelves full of books at home and their own library cards. They have been to children’s museums, are enrolled in music and tumbling classes, and have computers at home. Jackson would be entering kindergarten way behind his peers and probably would not catch up.

Luckily, a case worker told his mom about our United Way’s Child Care Scholarship program, which helps low income working families afford quality, stable early childhood education. Jackson is now enrolled in a highly rated preschool program that will provide him with the social, emotional and learning skills he will need to enter kindergarten at the same level as his peers. His future looks a lot brighter.

with borderYou can help kids like Jackson succeed in school and life by making a donation to our United Way Child Care Scholarship program on Giving Tuesday - or any day! Thank you!


Posted by: Kim Connolly

Help Local Kids Be Ready For School And Life on #GivingTuesday

GT-Web-Banner250x250-slogan-red.jpg copy 1You have heard of Black Friday.

You have heard of Cyber Monday.

Both are days for getting great deals on things.

The Tuesday after Thanksgiving, December 3, is #GivingTuesday. A day for giving back.

#GivingTuesday was a grassroots movement last year, originating on social media and introducing the concept of a national day of giving.

 This year, #GivingTuesday is gaining momentum, with 5,000 nonprofits signed up nationally to advocate for their causes.

Stock - child holding out hands for webAt United Way-Thomas Jefferson Area, we are focusing our #GivingTuesday efforts (and the dollars raised that day) on our Child Care Scholarship Program. Why child care? Because numerous studies show that quality care from ages 0-5 predicts a child’s ability to graduate from high school as well as sustain employment.

We like to think of it as investing in our children. The average annual cost of quality child care in our area is $8,200. Our program is open to working families earning 160% to 200% of the Federal Poverty Level. Child care costs can take up to a third of a household’s income for a single working parent. Our scholarship program uses a sliding scale that encourages the use of high quality, licensed providers to ensure that children are best prepared for kindergarten.

with borderOn #GivingTuesday, December 3, we are dedicating all online donations that come in that day to our Child Care Scholarship program to give local children access to quality, stable early education environments to prepare them for success in school and life.

Before then, we ask for your help in getting out the word: Be a social media ambassador and Like us on Facebook and Follow us on Twitter and share our posts and retweet our messages about #GivingTuesday and specifically donating online to us that day.

Together, we can change a child’s future. Learn more about our Child Care Scholarship program here.


Posted by: Kim Connolly

Introducing CvilleVolunteer.org

toy cleaning low resEver thought about volunteering at a local food bank during the holidays? Maybe you have considered becoming a mentor to a child, being a friendly visitor at a nursing home or even sharing your talents in fundraising with a nonprofit. Whatever type of volunteer activity you have thought about doing during your lunch break, with your family, or as a team builder at work, we’ve got your way to get connected!

The United Way-Thomas Jefferson Area Volunteer Center has launched a new website, CvilleVolunteer.org to help local community members find volunteer opportunities, nonprofit events, and more.

DOC team at table low resThe new Volunteer Center website offers an improved user experience, using the Get Connected digital platform for nonprofits to share volunteer activities, in-kind needs, and events with community members interested in making an impact.

Volunteers are able to “become a fan” of their favorite local nonprofits to get emails anytime a new event or opportunity is posted by that organization. Volunteers who aren’t sure which organization they would like to volunteer with, or are looking to share a specific skill, can check out the listing of needs to see all posted volunteer opportunities from local nonprofits. In addition to the volunteer activities, there are in-kind needs posted, advocacy opportunities, and a listing of events.

Tablesaw DOC volunteer for webDon’t miss out on this chance to get connected! From event planning opportunities to mentoring to web support, there are opportunities posted now to fit any schedule or skill set. With www.CvilleVolunteer.org, finding a way to make an impact in the Charlottesville area is easier than ever!

If you have questions or need assistance with the website, please contact Jessica Snyder, Volunteer Center Director at 434-972-1705.

P.S. If you don't see your favorite nonprofit from Charlottesville, Albemarle, Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa or Nelson counties listed on the website, please give them a call and ask them to register today.


Posted by: Jessica Snyder

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