Success Stories

UNITED WAY OF SOUTH WOOD & ADAMS COUNTIES SUCCESS STORIES FOR 2021

These stories have been provided to us by the 2020 United Way of South Wood & Adams Counties Partner Programs.  Names have been changed to preserve the identities of the subjects.  Please feel free to use these stories for any promotional pieces you may have, such as newsletters, emails, payroll stuffers, etc.

 

SOUTH WOOD COUNTY

Aspirus Riverview Dental Clinic

A patient presented with multiple areas of dental pain. She had difficulty sleeping and eating. As a mother of two young children, with one child have special needs, she was struggling to care for them while in dental pain. We were able to put her on a cancellation list and see her much sooner than originally scheduled. We were able to get her out of dental pain. She was grateful not to have the pain impacting her health and impairing her ability to devote her full attention to her kids.

 

Boys and Girls Club of the Wisconsin Rapids Area

(Name changed to protect identity)
Through our mentoring program we have noticed a significant change in one of our members. Frank comes to the Club just about every day we are open. He would always come in during our morning program mad at the day ahead of him. When staff would ask him what was going on he would not talk much. Eventually he started talking about how much he did not like his life, his mom, and school. One of our male staff was able to create a positive adult relationship with Frank and things started to change. He came into the Club with a more positive outlook, was not unfriendly to those around him, and started to have a better attitude overall about all things in his life. Our male staff member continues to work with Frank every day by checking in on him, asking him how he is doing and offering him a safe place to talk. Through Frank's consistent attendance and the relationship our staff have built the Club will continue to help Frank build a great future and offer him any support he needs.

 

Career Closet of Wisconsin Rapids, Inc.

This is a success story about a young woman who had lived at the Family Center for some time, went to college, graduated and now has a job at a probation center in Marathon City. She needed professional clothes for that job. The Career Closet volunteer helper her to find the appropriate items for her job and invited her to return in the fall for additional clothing items. She has a home and is the mother of a 2 year old and a foster daughter. We are so pleased that she chose to come to the CC and hope to hear from her again.

 

Childcaring, Inc. – Scholarship Aid

In February 2021, A single mom from Wisconsin Rapids was referred to Childcaring by her family child care provider. The mom had her three year old son in a licensed family child care program while she was working. E-learning with her older children while working became very difficult and the mom also began falling behind on her child care payments. She had accumulated a rather large child care bill and then lost her job. The mom spent a few months dedicated to helping her school agers with school and looking for work. When she finally found another job and wanted to bring her child back to the family child care provider, the provider insisted that the bill be paid prior to the three year old re-enrolling in her program. Scholarship Aid was a tremendous help to the family as well as the family child care provider. If not for the support, the child would not have been able to go back to the program he was familiar with and the provider would not have been able to recoup the money from a family already struggling financially. Scholarship Aid was able to fund this family $1,000 for child care expenses.

 

Childcaring, Inc. – Provider Recruitment/Retention

(Name changed to protect identity)

It was super exciting to see three people become certified to provide child care in their homes this past quarter! One particular provider, Angela, received a $250 Childcaring start up grant to offer certified child care in her home. She was able to purchase high quality infant and toddler toys and equipment including a video monitor and buddy stool. Childcaring staff members had many conversations with Angela over the past few months. She received assistance in applying for technology grants through the state as well as a workforce stipend. We also spent time explaining the YoungStar program and the advantages to participation. Angela had this to say specifically about the start up grant: "This was extremely helpful. Some things I had to obtain prior to the grant but this filled some gaps. Very much appreciated Allie (as well as other staff) was extremely helpful - Thank You!"

 

Girl Scouts of the Northwestern Great Lakes – South Wood County

This summer, 4th and 5th grade Girl Scouts from Washington Elementary Troop 6215 are working on their Bronze Award by helping Alicia Woodland, McMillan Library’s Young Adult Services Manager, with the community garden. Girls are painting, planting, maintaining, and helping elderly community members with their plots.

The newly started Nekoosa Daisy Girl Scout Troop has been busy earning petals. This year, they sold cookies and went on their very first field trip to the Stevens Point Sculpture Park. Nearly all of the girls in this troop have registered to return in 2022!

Many troops are meeting for the first time all year to have fun and wrap up their digital year. One troop rented the movie theater, another held a Build a Bear party at Lake Wazeecha, and others went miniature golfing, bowling, and hiking. December 2020. Their top priority was getting free books in the hands of youth throughout their community. By adding two new locations they certainly made an impact!

 

Nekoosa School District - Backpack for Kids

The backpack program functions as a way to address critical (short-term) and chronic (long-term) food insecurity. We are happy to say that we did not have any families on a waiting list by the end of Q2. A reason for this is that families who were receiving food because of a crisis, or short-term need, let us know when the assistance was no longer needed. One family commented, "Thank you for the food over the past few weeks. Our situation has since improved and we no longer need the food. Please use our backpack to help someone else."

 

North Central Community Action Program (CAP)

(Name changed to protect identity)
D.C. came to NCCAP after receiving an eviction notice from family friends that she was currently staying with. D.C. and her husband were in the processing of getting divorced, and she had been staying with family friends with her child throughout the divorce. The family friends were dealing with medical issues and it was difficult for them to have extra people in the home. The family friends were very upset and D.C. was concerned where she and her child would go because she was recently laid off from her job because of COVID. D.C. also has medical issues that limit the type of housing she can access. NCCAP case manager worked with D.C. and a local landlord to find an affordable rental property that was accessible to D.C. and her child. NCCAP was able to use United Way funds to assist with first month rent to get into the property. NCCAP also connected D.C. with multiple community resources to get the home furnished. NCCAP recently completed the 12 week follow up and D.C. is happy in her home and able to maintain the rental payments.

 

Park Place Adult Day Services, Inc.

(Name changed to protect identity)
G.S. is Park Place's longest attending participant who has been attending since November 13, 2000. She comes to our facility 3 days/week, 6 hour days and is a person who brings joy and happiness to everyone she encounters along the way, staff, volunteers, and other participants who visit each day as well. G.S. has lived in an Adult Family Home (AFH) with the same family of caregivers for the past 16 and one half years. G.S. attends Park Place for socialization and the time she spends here allows her brightness to shine on others. One of her caregivers has stated often that G.S enjoys coming to Park Place and looks forward to each of the days she is scheduled. When the Covid-19 pandemic entered all our lives in early 2020 many activities and therapies brought in from the community daily, weekly, and monthly had to cease when the "Stay at Home" policy was enacted. It became a group effort and challenge for staff members to continue to find activities for everyone to participate in that were mind stimulating, yet still followed safe and appropriate guidelines that were set. G.S. has always loved Bingo and is a leader of the game. The game is played at Park Place every other Friday with social distancing maintained and each person playing the game having their own Bingo card to keep. G.S. shows so much energy and glee and that joyful spirit transfers to all others in the environment that day with fun had by all.

 

Rapids Family Backpacks

At more than one school, families have signed up to use the program, and then have reached out to coordinating staff to let them know that they no longer need to use the program (this is always accompanied by many thanks). This is unequivocally a success story for RFB! When families know to use the program when they need it, and then discontinue use when they are back on their feet, that's a huge win. That's exactly what RFB intends to do, understanding that some families may use the program only for a short time, and some families may need to use the program for a long time, even over multiple school years, since every family has different needs. RFB is here to serve all types of families when they need it, for as long as they need it.

 

Samoset Council Boy Scouts – South Wood County

(Name changed to protect identity)
“Sarah” first joined the Samoset Council youth programs through STEM Scouts when it began in 2015. She really enjoyed the hands on exploration focused on science, technology, engineering, and math. But when she got the chance to join the Scouts, BSA program she jumped at the opportunity. She would see all the photos of her brother's Scouting adventures and felt jealous that she couldn't have the same opportunities. Once girls were allowed to join in 2019, she got a group of girls together and formed Troop 9118. In the first half of 2020 Troop 9118 went on camping trips, participated in community service projects, worked on merit badges, and attended Camp Tesomas. The pandemic really didn't slow this Troop down.  Sarah enjoyed her week long stay at Camp Tesomas so much that she immediately wanted to apply to be on camp staff the following summer. She said she just wants to give back to the program that has given her so much and teach others the skills that she has gained. We look forward to seeing the further successes from Sarah and the rest of Troop 9118.

 

South Wood County YMCA

We had a family come in that was an active member with a Family Annual membership type. It was just time for their renewal, however in the last few months the husband lost his job making around 68k year, unexpectedly. He was working at another place part time when he lost his job, so he thankfully got in FT there, however it is less than half of the income he had been bringing in - a huge adjustment for him, and their family of 7. They ended up qualifying for %50 MFA. The wife was beyond grateful that they were able to keep their membership, when essentially their whole way of living has changed. They are actually selling their house as well to find a place that is more affordable for them. Going from not batting an eye about spending $750 on a YMCA membership, to making sure she has their bare essentials covered. She also had great things to say about the staff, and willingness to show her around, discuss machines etc. with her.

 

South Wood Emerging Pantry Shelf (SWEPS)

A young couple, having just found out they were expecting their first child, bought their first home. Excited about their future, they prepared for the arrival of their child. What they were not prepared for was the news that the soon-to-be dad was going to be laid off until further notice. The four-month wait for the first unemployment check managed to drain their savings completely. Desperately looking for work and worrying about losing their new home, the husband became increasingly aware of the fact they were in need of assistance. Swallowing his pride, he came for the first time to the food pantry admitted his need for help with food for his family. With all the respect and kindness we could muster, we served him as if he were our only client. Joyfully, we loaded his car that first time. He was overwhelmed with gratitude. Since that first visit, he has come now and again as needed but always with a smile on his face and thankfulness on his lips. Seeing his face and hearing his appreciation brings to light the reason we exist, to serve those who are experiencing food insecurities. All this made possible by the community support we receive to keep our doors open.

 

The Family Center

(Name changed to protect identity)
Lynn arrived in shelter with her 4 children. After 14 years of physical, verbal, and financial abuse, Lynn finally was admitted to the hospital for her injuries. A nurse suggested she contact The Family Center for help. The day before she was discharged Lynn contacted The Family Center and spoke with the Shelter Coordinator. She was given the option of entering shelter with her four children upon hospital discharge. Lynn arrived the next day and was happy that she could have time to heal from her injuries. The next morning the Children and Youth Services Coordinator enrolled the children in school and arranged bus transportation for them. In addition to enrollment and transportation, the parent gave Family Center staff permission to speak with the school counselor about the trauma the children had experienced.
After a few days of rest and healing, the client met with The Family Center’s Legal Systems Advocate to file a restraining order, which was granted. The client was able to retrieve her property, which included the children’s property, from the residence. The next step was to file for divorce and request permanent placement of her children. That was, in fact, granted.
Lynn met with the Shelter Coordinator to start the process of enrolling in FSET and the W2 program. The client was accepted into both programs and started to look for housing, since she will have income through the W2 program. Lynn worked on life skills daily with the Shelter Coordinator and the Shelter Advocates. Lynn and her children are now meeting with a therapist weekly for family counseling at Compass Counseling.
Three months into Lynn’s shelter stay she found housing for her family. She will be getting help from North Central Community Action Program’s Rapid Re-Housing Program, has secured a source of income and will be utilizing Compass Counseling and The Family Center for emotional support. Lynn is also excited that her children had the opportunity to receive school supplies from the “Stuff the Bus” program sponsored by United Way. Lynn feels strong and independent knowing what community resources are available to assist her. Lynn stated during her exit interview that she is volunteering at the hospital to “pay it forward.” Lynn is so excited for her future and excited that her children were removed from a horrible situation.

 

The Neighborhood Table (TNT)

The opportunity to continue to volunteer and serve those in need in our community has given many a needed sense of purpose and meaning. In the past several months I have witnessed so many more smiles, laughter, as friendships are being made, not only between volunteers, but also between volunteers and our guests. We have guests that are now spreading the word about our program more than ever, picking up food and delivering to others that are unable to drive, carpooling, and reaching out to our sponsors to express thanks and genuine gratitude. There has been such an outpour of kindness and compassion during a time when it's needed most. We are all grateful for the many ways our volunteers, guests, friends, and neighbors have come together to support our program and our community.

 

ADAMS COUNTY

Adams-Friendship Area School District – Community Learning Center (CLC)

This story is not just of one student but multiple that continue to thank me for taking them on field trips through the school year. Since COVID-19 many students are not getting to get out and about as much. The students are always telling me that their family just stays home now and that this is the first time they got to go somewhere. I have also had parents personally thank me for planning the trips because in our permission slips we put in what guidelines we are following when we go on these trips. The students, parents and staff feel safe going to the trips we plan and feel appreciative that they can participate in them. In this new world we have, I like the fact we can still provide an experience for our students.

 

Central Wisconsin Community Action Council, Inc. – Crisis Rental Assistance

Central Wisconsin Community Action Council, Inc. is supporting and assisting many Adams County households with a variety of programs. Rental assistance has been provided to clients through United Way and Wisconsin Emergency Rental Assistance (WERA). The combined programs have provided rent to 24 households so far this year. WERA is available to any household at risk of experiencing homelessness who's income was affected by Covid 19 and they have an income at or below 80% County Median Income ($3354/month for 1 person, $3833 for 2, $4313 for 3 and $4788/month for a family of 4). WERA can assist with rent back to March of 2020, with a maximum of 15 months payment. This program can also assist with utilities and internet payments. A recent report showed two evictions pending in Adams County. We would love to see zero. Our Adams County Food Pantry has also remained open through the Pandemic bringing food to people's cars and helping to prevent food insecurity. CWCAC also administers the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program, which usually has a wait list and people are not able to sign up. At this time, the list is open and people can sign-up for a voucher. These vouchers allow the holder to pay 30% of their income for rent and the balance is paid by the Voucher. Visit www.cwcac.org for more information on all programs.

 

Central Wisconsin Community Action Council, Inc. – Food Pantry

The United Way of South Wood and Adams Counties grant has afforded Adams County Food Pantry the opportunity to provide fresh fruits and vegetables to our customers. Our reward is the customers' thanks and blessings for being there to help them with their food needs. This pandemic has given Adams County Food Pantry many volunteers who have exceeded our expectations. We are truly blessed and wish to thank the United Way of South Wood and Adams Counties for the grant to us as well as continued support received from United Way of South Wood And Adams Counties.

 

Faith In Action Adams County – Transportation Today

(Names changed to protect identity)
Gina came to us almost three years ago looking for help with transportation, visiting and some small chores around her house. We called on a husband and wife volunteer team, Don and Nina. It seemed like overnight, Gina was like family to them.
Don and Nina shared the responsibility taking care of Gina until last spring when Nina broke both of her legs. For months, Don had to be volunteer and care giver for his wife. From what we've been told, he did a great job.
This year, due to health concerns, Gina's transportation needs increased considerably. Some weeks we were taking Gina to medical appointments two to thee times. Never letting her miss a single medical appointment, we were getting very concerned about Gina's health. Her health deteriorated and she ended up in the hospital where Don and Nina checked on or visited her every day. Sadly, she never came home, she passed away in the hospital in early June.

Faith In Action Adams County – Volunteer Coordination

(Names changed to protect identity)
One day when I was visiting with Lila before we went grocery shopping, she asked if I would take her to the DMV. I asked her what for and she said to get a real ID. I asked her what for as I knew she didn't vote, and she said "to travel." Travel where I asked, she said "to New Orleans." She wrote that prior to her stroke, her son who lives there would fly her down every year. Because she can't speak and doesn't get around well, she hadn't been there for 8 years or so. My husband and I had been there once for a few days 4 years ago, and thought that some time in the future we would go again to see things we didn't have time for. It was in May when Lila told me this, we had all been vaccinated, I knew airfares were still fairly cheap from the pandemic, and if we went very soon it wouldn't be too hot down there. So I asked my husband Allen what he thought about going with Lila to New Orleans (MSY), flying out of Chicago for a cheap ticket and so we wouldn't have to change planes with Lila in a wheelchair. He said no at first, but then he came around- I hadn't said anything to Lila yet. So I went to Lila's, got the phone numbers for her son in MSY and her daughter in Madison, I called her son to arrange dates and her doctor daughter to get approval, then went home to book tickets. Lila's son sent me the money for her ticket. She wanted to stay for a week which might have been too long for us, but then we could be very leisurely down there. Lila's son came to pick us up at the airport, dropped us at our hotel, then took Lila home. During the week Lila and her son came to pick us up so we could have lunch together, other wise we didn't see her during the week. Two of Lila's other children came in also, from the east and west coasts, and she got to see many grandchildren and great grandchildren. Lila had bought a little dress at the new Ace hardware store here to take for a newborn great grandchild and Lila was so thrilled to be able to give it to her in person.

 

Girl Scouts of the Northwestern Great Lakes – Adams County

The main troop in Adams is returning next year! 14 girls and additional key volunteers have already completed early registration.

 

Samoset Council Boy Scouts – Adams County

This is a success story told by Mary Boyd the Cubmaster for the Pack in Adams Friendship and her experience as an adult mentor.
"With some determination and support, our outreach program in the Adams school district was still alive and we were able to provide a fun program for the children in the Adams school district 2020-2021. We were able to service grades K-4th grade this past year. From building bird houses, racing boats, learning knots, to just plain fun with paint n glue, the children were always excited to seeing us come out to play with them. They were sad when our program came to a end in May, but I promised them that if I got the ok again, we would be back again in -full force with lots more fun activities planned. Over the years working with the Adams school district, meeting the parents of the children, I have become a part of the Adams school district family. I have worked so hard with these children, teaching them to respect and love one another. Some were tough, but in time, I was able to reach out to them, they put their trust in me, and we all became very good friends over time. Its nice to see the kids as they go off to the middle school and then they come back for a visit. So much more mature on all levels...Then you know you have done your job!".

 

YMCA - Adams County Swim Lessons Program

Here are some notes from teachers & staff:
Arian and Jesus have non-English-speaking parents. They have never been to a pool before. Ages 6 and 7. Ariana did not have or own a swimming suit when she first came. One of our swimming instructors called home for a swimsuit from one of her sisters to let her use as well as for her to keep.

For Noah , Sara and Christian this is the only time and opportunity that they have to come to a pool and take swim lessons. They do not have any access to pools elsewhere nor can they afford to take lessons except through the school summer school program.

I have been given 12 other names of children in the group, that cannot afford swim lessons on their own and are appreciative of being able to come here and participate in swim lessons. These children may have family members or friends that may have a pool or are able to go to a lake or beachfront during the summer and have some exposure to being in the water but get the safety and instruction of swim lessons here through the Y.