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United Way of Bucks County & Every90Minutes.org

 

United Way of Bucks County

for More Information on What They Do & How You Can Help, Please Visit ...

http://www.uwbucks.org

The Doylestown Office of Weidel Realtors recently created & sponsored a Sing Your ALS Off karaoke event to help raise money & awareness for ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease).  ALS has a personal impact on many of the Weidel team members as recently, Barbara Smith's, prior Weidel General Sales Manager & prior Doylestowm manager's son, Jason age 36 was diagnosed with ALS.

The Doylestown Office has made it their personal mission to help support the Smith family & those diagnosed with ALS.  The event, held at The Standard Club in Doylestown was created by the ALS platform, every90minutes.org, to help find a cure for the disease.

The Sing Your ALS Off event was generously supported by the resident & business communities to such a degree that over 350 attendees enjoyed an night of food, drink, silent auctions, 50/50 raffles & karaoke raising over $21,000 in one evening!

All of the donations from the evening's event were given to both the Jason Smith ALS fund and the ALS Association, helping to raise awareness, find a cure and support the Smith family with specific medical needs.  Please Visit ... www.every90minutes.org  for more information.

ALS Icebucket Challenge

 

Member Agency Spotlight – Welcoming the Stranger

Over the next few weeks, we will be working on posting a series of blogs featuring some of the newest UW Bucks member agencies.

In this “Member Agency Spotlight”, we want to acquaint you with these agencies, what services they provide to our community, and ways that you can get involved.

We had a Q&A with Meg Eubank, Executive Director of Welcoming the Stranger.

Mission: Welcoming the Stranger provides free educational opportunities to immigrants and refugees in the United States in response to Jesus’ instruction to his disciples that they should always welcome the strangers in their midst (Matt. 25:35). We provide free classes in English, computer skills, and citizenship preparation to adult immigrants and refugees in Lower Bucks County and Northeast Philadelphia. Classes are offered to all students regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, religion, or national origin.

Students in class at WTS

What is your name and position at your organization and how long have you worked there?
My name is Meg Eubank and I am the Executive Director at Welcoming the Stranger. I have worked with Welcoming the Stranger since 2011 in the various roles of Program Coordinator and teacher, Board Member, and since 2015, Executive Director.

Tell us something interesting about yourself?
I have a broad range of experience working in the field of education with everyone from preschool students to college students, but my work with Welcoming the Stranger has been the most rewarding and impactful position I’ve ever held in my life. Outside of Welcoming the Stranger, I’ve also dabbled in fine art photography and have shown my art in exhibits and publications both locally, nationally, and internationally.

What does your organization do and what is your mission?
Welcoming the Stranger is an educational 501(c)(3) nonprofit that serves adult immigrants and refugees. We provide free English, computer skills, and citizenship preparation classes and connect people to resources like healthcare, jobs, housing, food, legal help, childcare, and more. During each of our twelve week terms a year, we work with over 300 immigrants and refugees living in Bucks County, Montgomery County, Philadelphia, and New Jersey. Our name is inspired by the Biblical passage Matthew 25:35, “I was a stranger, and you welcomed me.”

How long have you been in operation in Bucks County?
Welcoming the Stranger has been in operation in Bucks County since 1999. Since then, we have served over 3,500 immigrants and refugees from 100 different countries.

What are some programs and services that you offer?
Welcoming the Stranger offers free classes in English (ESL or English as a Second Language), Computer Skills, and Citizenship Preparation. ESL classes cover reading, writing, speaking, listening, grammar, and American culture and etiquette. Computer classes teach students essential computer skills like Microsoft Office Suite, Internet usage, and computer maintenance. The Citizenship classes help prepare students for the US Naturalization exam from the application process, to learning the content, to taking the test.

What are some ways that members of the community can get involved with your organization?
We welcome members of the community to join our volunteer team for classroom teaching, event planning, outreach, administrative help, and fundraising. The local community can also attend our events and join our email list and follow us on social media to learn about updates and share in the celebration of our students’ successes. Please visit www.welcomingthestranger.org or contact us at meg@welcomingthestranger.org or (215) 702-3445 to become involved.

Why is being a member agency with The United Way of Bucks County important to your team?
The United Way is a wonderful and well-established community partner. We look forward to the closer connection, networking, and resource opportunities that being a member agency will provide.

What are some of your goals for 2018?
Welcoming the Stranger has experienced incredible growth in our student body in recent years (our student enrollment has increased 146% since 2015). We are dedicated to growing our program in a strong, sustainable way in order to keep up with the ever-increasing need of families in our community.

Anything else you’d like to share?
Thank you for your partnership!

Contact Information:
215.702.3445
welcomingthestranger.org
meg@welcomingthestranger.org

 

OPERATION HELPING HAND NEEDS HELP FROM LOCAL BUSINESS COMMUNITY

Operation Helping Hand (OHH) is the longest continuously operating food drive in Bucks County, collecting tons of non-perishable food each year for local pantries.

This is 52nd year for Operation Helping Hand and we have a lot to celebrate. This initiative is an amazing partnership between three dedicated organizations: Bucks County Opportunity Council; Inspire Federal Credit Union, and United Way of Bucks County. The group’s goal? To collect 66,000 lbs of nutritious non perishable food in March, 2018.

We’re also thrilled to announce that literally ever school district in Bucks County is part of Operation Helping Hand. School wide collections will be held on Wednesday, March 14, 2018. Click here to see the flyer that is distributed to schools and students. Be sure to contact your child’s school to confirm that they are participating. If you need information about school drives, contact Danielle Bush at danielleb@uwbucks.org.

We need your help!

To make this drive truly successful, we need more businesses, offices, and community organizations to participate. By doing so, you’d be helping hungry people right in your local neighborhood, since this is a hyper–local drive. That means that the food you collect will go to the pantry closet to you.

Helping is really easy too.  You set your own food drive dates (although most people run drives for the 1-2 weeks directly prior to March 15). Then, designate someone from your team to deliver all the collected food directly to the pantry you are supporting. Wow! You will get to see in person how the pantry that you supported is changing people’s lives.

If you can’t hold a food drive, you can still help! You can donate to support OHH online. Your local food pantry will use the money to purchase the food they need most. Donate online or mail a check to UW Bucks, 413 Hood Blvd., Fairless Hills, PA 19030. Don’t forget to put “Operation Helping Hand “in the memo line.

 

For more information, visit www.uwbucks.org/ohh

 

MEMBER AGENCY SPOTLIGHT – THE FIARIA PROJECT

Over the next few weeks, we will be working on posting a series of blogs featuring some of the newest UW Bucks member agencies.

In this “Member Agency Spotlight”, we want to acquaint you with these agencies, what services they provide to our community, and ways that you can get involved.

We had a Q&A with Alexis Ridge-Simek, co-founder, and her husband, Joseph Simek, of The Fiaria Project (founded 2015).

Mission Statement: Making transitions easier for foster families in Bucks County and surrounding areas.

Tell us something interesting about yourself?

Joe and I work as yoga therapists. Creating The Fiaria Project seemed like the natural thing to do, allowing us to practice our yoga “off the mat.” We are also the parents of two wonderful little girls, one who we adopted through the foster care system.

What does your organization do and what is your mission?

Our mission is to make placement transitions easier for foster families in the Bucks County, Montgomery County and Philadelphia area by providing foster children with essential clothing, toiletries, and other basic items. Each child placed into care is given a kit containing a week’s worth of new clothing, toiletries, blankets and other personal items. We try to deliver the kit to social workers within the first 24 hours of placement.

How long have you been in operation in Bucks County?

We began in 2015.

What are some programs and services that you offer?

Our main focus is to provide our Transition Kits. However, we also get the conversation started around being a foster parent and highlight the needs of our vulnerable children by giving voice to their experiences.

What are some ways that members of the community can get involved with your organization?

Members of the community can get involved by learning about the many options around supporting our foster children, by becoming an advocate or mentor for a child, by donating to the Fiaria Project, or by becoming a foster or adoptive parent.

Why is being a member agency with The United Way of Bucks County important to your team?

We are so excited to be a member agency of the United Way. As a newer organization it gives us credibility and our donors the assurance they look for as they support our mission.  The United Way has also been a helpful guide in the world  of nonprofits and its communities.

What are some of your goals for 2018?

This year we hope to expand our reach within Bucks County, working with more foster agencies, as well as begin supporting foster children in Montgomery County.  We are looking to grow our office space here in Doylestown, as to be even more accessible to the many social workers in our county.

Contact Info:
fiariaproject@gmail.com
www.fiaria.org
267.885.8512

 

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