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Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive is May 9

Stamp Out Hunger LogoOn Saturday, May 9, 2015, the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) will collect food donations left at the mailboxes of generous citizens to provide assistance to the millions of Americans struggling with hunger.  In our greater Charlottesville community, the Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive benefits the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank.


Locally, the Letter Carriers partner with the United Way and the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank. Volunteers from the Civil Air Patrol Monticello Composite Squadron will spend long hours sorting the food.


This week I’ve been hanging out with Michael McKee, Executive Director of the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank, as we’ve been promoting the Drive. He told me, Stamp Out Hunger is one of the most important food drives of the year because it generates a rich supply of nutritious food at a time when food donations are typically at their lowest. And, school is nearly out for summer, and that means that families with children who rely on school breakfasts and lunches will be in even greater need. We need a strong response to Stamp Out Hunger so that we can stock our shelves for June.” 


Wonder what foods are great to donate to the food drive?  Here are a few non-perishable food items requested by the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank:

  • Oatmeal

  • Canned Tuna

  • Pasta Sauce

  • Cereal

  • Peanut Butter

  • Canned Meats

  • Canned Soups/Stews

  • Canned Fruits & Veggies

  • Pasta

  • Rice

  • 100% Juice


    No glass, please!



“They’re not like we were!”

“They pay attention to their phones, not to people.”

“They only care about themselves!”Emily thumbs up with UW sign

Not Emily! Emily just turned 7 years old (Happy Birthday!!), and, like most kids, had a
birthday party with friends. Like most kids, she thought that she might get a few presents. But Emily decided that she already had plenty of things, and knew that so many other kids don’t get enough to eat, or have a bed of their own to sleep in.

So, instead of presents, Emily asked her friends to make a donation to the United Way. Her mom, Amanda, is on our board and has obviously set a great example of service to others for her daughter.

They may be different from us when we were kids, but isn’t every generation? These kids today are more kind and generous than ever! We could all learn a lesson in generosity from Emily.

Thank you, Emily.

Tax Preparation: 5 Things to Know if You Need More Time

Don't think you will have your taxes filed by April 18th? 

Five Things to Know if You Need More Time to tax  graphicFile Your Taxes.

That dreaded deadline is upon us! If you know two days won’t get you where you want to be with your tax filing, the IRS offers an automatic six month extension. Courtesy of the IRS, here are five things to know about filing an extension:

1.    Use IRS Free File to file an extension. You can use IRS Free File to e-file your extension request for free. Free File is only available through IRS.gov. You must e-file the request by midnight on April 18. http://www.irs.gov/uac/Free-File:-Do-Your-Federal-Taxes-for-Free

2.    Use Form 4868. You can also request an extension by filling out Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. You must mail this form to the IRS by April 18. Form 4868 is available on IRS.gov/forms at any time.

3.    More time to file is not more time to pay. An extension to file will give you until October 15 to file your taxes. It does not give you more time to pay your taxes. You still must estimate and pay what you owe by April 18 to avoid a late filing penalty. You will be charged interest on any tax that you do not pay on time. You may also owe a penalty if you pay your tax late.

4.    Use IRS Direct Pay.  The safe, fast and easy way to pay your tax is with IRS Direct Pay. Visit IRS.gov/directpay to use this free and secure way to pay from your checking or savings account. You also have other electronic payment options. IRS will automatically process your extension when you pay electronically. You can pay online or by phone. http://www.irs.gov/uac/Electronic-Payment-Options-Home-Page

5.    IRS helps if you can’t pay all you owe.  If you can’t pay all the tax you owe, the IRS offers you payment options. In most cases, you can apply for an installment agreement with the Online Payment Agreement tool on IRS.gov. You may also file Form 9465, Installment Agreement Request. If you can’t make payments because of a financial hardship, the IRS will work with you.




More questions: Visit these IRS You-Tube videos for more information:

Welcome to Free FileEnglish

Click here for more information on the United Way’s free tax preparation program.

A Fond Farewell

Kim 1 for webThere is a saying that goes something like: “Do what you love, and you’ll never work a day.” That is how I feel about my nine years with United Way-Thomas Jefferson Area. When you are passionate about the cause, and work with bright, fun, committed people who you respect, then life is indeed very good.

I fully expected to stay in this job I love for many more years, but a looming empty nest and my husband’s long commute to Lexington every day changed the equation. Beginning February 9, I will be the Assistant Director for Programs and Conferences at VMI’s Center for Leadership and Ethics. In tying up nine years of work here, I’ve had time to reflect on what a special experience it has been.

For me, our United Way is the amazing staff and very engaged board members I’ve worked with every day. It is also the many, many relationships we have in this community with people who work at other nonprofits, schools and businesses. This organization is never satisfied with the status quo, and is constantly trying to find the most efficient, effective and practical ways to address many needs in this community. That is what makes it so dynamic – we embrace change and are always looking forward.

Charlottesville is blessed to have so many caring and committed people working in the nonprofit sector, and I am proud to have been associated with an organization that accomplishes so much by collaborating with so many people. I cherish the many relationships I have made through our deep roots in this community.

I am going to miss my United Way family. My own sons have grown up volunteering here – from helping with our office clean up days and dump runs with our pickup truck, to happily driving golf carts all day when we held our golf tournament. Our office is the definition of a family friendly employer – we have had 4 “office babies” come to work with their mothers during my time here. “Family first” is the motto that takes much stress away when dealing with ailing parents or sick kids.

UW staff for webI’m pretty proud to have led our United Way Day of Caring this past year, and also of the ongoing legacy of our Mentor & Tutor Volunteer Fair, which started as my Leadership Charlottesville team project six years ago. We’ve done so many fun things over my years here – including a one–time appearance in the Dogwood Festival Parade as the United Way Segway Drill Team! I love planning and running special events like these, which is why I was attracted to my new position at VMI.

If you find yourself in Lexington, look me up. If you are a history buff, it is a great place to visit – the town, VMI and Washington and Lee are all steeped in history. I would love to show you around!

It has been a wonderful ride!

Kim Connolly

United Way Mentor & Tutor Volunteer Fair

Come one and all to our annual United Way Mentor & Tutor Volunteer Fair tomorrow at the Omni Hotel from 11:00 - 2:00. Free parking, and food from Raising Canes, too! You can change a kid - or adult's - life, and your own, too!

2015 Mentor Fair Flyer

Mentor Models Goal Setting

January is National Mentoring Month, and our United Way Volunteer Center is sharing mentor stories all month long. This story originally appeared in the January 2015 edition of Charlottesville Family magazine.

Tiara Jackson for webFor Tiaranesha “Tiara” Jackson, a fourth year University of Virginia pre-med student from Chicago, coming to City of Promise’s computer lab twice a week to tutor 5th – 12th grade students feels very familiar. “It really reminds me of home,” Jackson says. “The kids remind me of me at their age.” Jackson benefitted from a similar after school program, which she credits with helping her become a Gates Millenium, Scholar.

Jackson helps the kids review their homework, reads to other kids or plays board games with them. Because her background is similar to that of the students, Jackson knows what it takes to help them get on the path to college and a career. She is a positive role model, mentor and friend, and a consistent presence in the computer center. “Tiara proves that hard work pays off, “ says Latara Salisbury, who runs the City of Promise computer lab. “She embodies the character, work ethic and drive to succeed that we strive to instill in the City of Promise youth.”

Jackson, who is also a Big Brother, Big Sister mentor, says she simply enjoys being around the kids. “This happened for me when I was younger and it was a huge benefit. I want to do that for another child. These kids are a joy to be around – I love the personality of this place.”

Are you interested in becoming a mentor or tutor? We invite you to come to our annual Mentor and Tutor Volunteer Fair on Friday, January 30 from 11:00 – 2:00 at the Omni Hotel, downtown Charlottesville. Our friends at Raising Canes are providing their delicious chicken fingers for attendees.

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

We hope to see you on January 30!

Mentor. Tutor. Pass it on!

Posted by: Kim Connolly


Mentor Month Profile: Literacy Volunteers

January is National Mentoring Month, and our United Way Volunteer Center is sharing mentor stories all month long. We are hosting our annual Mentor and Tutor Volunteer Fair on Friday, January 30 from 11:00 – 2:00. You can meet 14 location organizations that need volunteers to be mentors and tutors. To learn more about the local organizations attending the fair, who would love to help you become a mentor or tutor, visit CvilleVolunteer.org.

Literacy volunteer photoMeet Tutor Louise Proffitt & Her Student Santos

Like many LVCA tutors, becoming a tutor was on Louise Proffitt’s radar for a long time. Proffitt spent most of her career as a special education instructor, retiring from Charlottesville High School in 2007, and it was during her time in the public schools that the challenges of English language learners first grabbed her attention.

“I always had my eye on the ESL population at the high school because there was always a lot of cross-over. They had trouble passing SOLs (Standards of Learning), and so did [my students],” she explained. After retirement, she worked part-time as a tutor for special needs and ESL students working on their English SOLs, which led her to volunteering with the Adult Learning Center in one of their ESL classrooms. At the time, she was traveling back and forth to take care of her ailing mother in Delaware. “I was afraid to take on any major commitments and it was easy to go in once or twice a week to help the instructor,” Proffitt explained. After her mother passed away, she felt ready to get more involved and signed up for Literacy Volunteers New Tutor Training in the fall of 2012. Shortly thereafter she was matched with Santos, a young man from Mexico with whom she still works.

In some ways, Literacy Volunteers was on Santos’s radar for a long time as well. When he first moved to the United States in 2001, he thought he would only be here for a few years and wasn’t committed to learning English. However, when his eldest son, now age 10, entered school, he began to realize the importance of being able to communicate with his teachers. Soon, his four-year-old daughter will also be entering school, doubling the importance for him.

“I know he’s going to need some help with the homework and it’s not going to be in Spanish. So that’s the first thing that pushed me to start looking for places to go learn English,” Santos explained. He was drawn to Literacy Volunteers program because of the one-on-one format and the ability to focus on his main goals, which are to improve his reading and writing. Now, he and his son are at similar reading levels and practice reading and writing together in the evenings.

“Now [my son] can tell me a little bit about the homework and I can get it very fast and I can help him,” said Santos. Santos’s improved English is also helping him with his business aspirations. Recently, he began his own landscaping company and is growing it partly through Toan Nyugen’s C’ville Central, a benefit corporation dedicated to vitalizing the local economy by supporting small, women, and minority-owned (SWaM) businesses in the Charlottesville region.

Proffitt is impressed with Santos’s ambition. “He’s just incredible. He wants so badly to improve. He wants to get his GED, go into a landscaping class, and become a certified landscaper. He goes from one step to another, without any fear,” she said.

One of Proffitt’s early concerns with tutoring was managing the difficult and contradictory creature that is the English language. “English is a real mess,” she said. “It has more idioms and expressions and breaking of rules than there are rules. It’s crazy.” However, she finds Understanding and Using English Grammar Workbook by Betty Schrampfer Azar and Stacy A. Hagen to be a great help. She also makes sure to set aside time in her sessions with Santos to work on his goals of improving his writing. Each session begins with them reading together, and follows with some writing time for him, and Proffitt draws on Santos’s writing to work on spelling and vocabulary.

“Once you start and get excited about helping somebody, you find the way,” she said. “There are so many resources here and Deanne and Maureen are wonderful. The person on the other side is just as nervous as you are, so there isn’t any judging going on. It’s all about just helping each other.”

Santos is pleased with his progress and makes sure to make his weekly meetings with Louise a priority, even though those are hours he could be working to support his family. “You’ve got to spend time learning English. Before I was taking classes, I just wanted to work and make money. It was hard for me [to make the time]. But now I’m happy to spend that time. Because the money, you can spend in one second, and learning English you’re going to keep it forever.”


Guest post by Literacy Volunteers

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