United Way campaign under way for 2017-18

Organization aims to raise $750,000 this year

T-R PHOTO BY ADAM SODDERS
One set of speakers at Wednesday’s 87th United Way Campaign Kickoff event shared their experiences with Heart of Iowa Big Brothers Big Sisters. Matthew Burt, left, took on the responsibility of being a “Big” to GMG fourth grader Weston Deal earlier this year, and the two enjoy riding their bikes together and playing board games.

T-R PHOTO BY ADAM SODDERS One set of speakers at Wednesday’s 87th United Way Campaign Kickoff event shared their experiences with Heart of Iowa Big Brothers Big Sisters. Matthew Burt, left, took on the responsibility of being a “Big” to GMG fourth grader Weston Deal earlier this year, and the two enjoy riding their bikes together and playing board games.

Messages of hope and support were shared with area business, education and public service leaders at the Fisher Community Center auditorium Wednesday during the 87th United Way Campaign Kickoff.

“There is always a need in our community,” said Deb Mettlin, one half of the campaign co-chair duo that led the proceedings. “Our local needs are ongoing; it’s not a catastrophe situation, but the need is always there.”

Fellow co-chair Marty Mitchell of Mitchell Family Funeral Home said he felt great joy at seeing a full auditorium Wednesday.

“It’s the givers, it’s the volunteers, it’s all of you,” he said. “I just love to see people come together for the betterment of others.”

This year, the Marshalltown Area United Way’s goal is to raise $750,000 to go toward several care agencies. Mettlin said there has been $343,412.78 raised so far, equaling almost half of the goal amount.

To drive home the importance of those agencies, a lineup of speakers shared statistics and stories with the audience. One pair of speakers talked about their experience with Heart of Iowa Big Brothers Big Sisters, and were introduced by one of the organization’s coordinators, Janet Stegmann.

“When I went to college, I wanted to get involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters, but I didn’t really know how,” said area farmer Matthew Burt, who became a “Big” for Green Mountain-Garwin fourth-grader Weston Deal earlier this year. “I like to ride my bike a lot … Weston just got a new bike this past summer and we’ve been riding around a lot together.”

The pair also enjoy playing board games and sports.

“Matthew makes me feel more confident about things,” Deal said.

Another speaker was Kyra Mayberry, who got support through Youth and Shelter Services of Marshall County. She found the organization after being hospitalized with mental health issues; she had just left an abusive relationship.

“I was living in a building with a family I didn’t know, me and my two kids,” Mayberry said. “It was the only option that I had to get my family to a safe place.”

After entering into transitional living at YSS, things began to improve. In her first month, Mayberry said she’d gotten a driver’s license, a job and a vehicle. She was also able to provide child care to her kids.

“YSS helped me learn about different avenues I could use to help get me to a good place,” Mayberry said, adding she was also able to divorce her husband. “Now, I have my own life … my kids have stability.”

The audience also learned about accomplishments by Child Abuse Prevention Services (CAPS) over the last year.

“United Way funds several programs for us,” said CAPS program coordinator Nikki Hartwig, adding the agency’s Sexual Abuse Prevention, Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention, Building Healthy Families, Crisis Child Care and Crisis Intervention programs all rely on funds from United Way to serve area children and families.

With CAPS programs like iMatter Elementary and Care for Kids, Hartwig said 3,132 Marshalltown Community School District elementary students were served over the last year.

Upcoming events, like Power of the Purse on Oct. 12, are set to continue raising funds toward the $750,000 goal.

For more information on the Marshalltown Area United Way and area care agencies, visit https://www.unitedwaymarshalltown.org

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Contact Adam Sodders at (641) 753-6611 or asodders@timesrepublican.com