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January 2016 United Way EUP e-News

Here comes 2016!
I can't believe that my 6th year at United Way has come to and end.  It feels like just yesterday I was starting a new adventure.
While 2015 has had its challenges we have also made great strides in helping even more families with less funding.  I don't know how we do it!  

This year we saw some transition in our Volunteer Center.  Steve accepted a job with the Chippewa County Health Department and we were able to rehire, if you will, our seasoned 2-year AmeriCorps Member - Raulaniesa Aranda.  

We are a 3-staff office at United Way and are stretched thin.  Ideally I believe we should have 5 staff, but I don't see that happening anytime soon with budget constraints.  This leads into our recent audit and 990, which you can find on our website.  

Our goals for 2016 are to make even bigger strides in the Community Impact arena.  We want to be very intentional about what the community needs are and how to move the needle on these issues.  We will be releasing more details in early 2016 including a Letter of Intent for 2016-17 funding. We also want to reorganize our Volunteer Center and work to do some larger volunteer events with more partners.  
I feel very honored to work at United Way and even though some days are tougher than others, we are making headway.  I am looking forward to an even better 2016, making more partnerships, collaborating even MORE, and doing more to make our EUP community an even better place to live.

Merry Christmas! 

Tracey Laitinen
Executive Director 
United Way of the Eastern Upper Peninsula

Let's be honest. We've all made a New Year's Resolution or two with the best of intentions, and when reality and the day-to-day grind catch up with us in mid-January we start to wonder where our sensibility was when we said we'd limit ourselves to one slice of pie, or actually using that treadmill.
Why not make this year different? 
Resolve to be more SOCIAL. Promise yourself you'll EXPERIENCE LIFE more. Spend more time with your KIDS. Practice LEADERSHIP.

Upcoming Volunteer Opportunities include:
  1. January 18, 2016Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service (See our "Upcoming Events" section above for details)
  2. February 26, 2016 - Citizen Review Panel (CRP's) - Have a say about where donated dollars are spent! No experience necessary, we'll train!
Don't forget to...
Check out the Volunteer! tab on the United Way's Facebook page, or visit  and enter your zip code to see a list of opportunities near you. You can also e-mail me directly to find out about other ways you can help in your community. 
Removing Barriers to Education
Thanks to wonderful community minded businesses and workplaces, students participating in United Way of the EUP's Removing Barriers to Education (RB2E) program will have warm winter clothing and boots! 
Soo Motors, Inc. graciously hosted their annual Fill A Ford event and accepted donations of winter gear and hygiene products through the month of December. Several of their customers and staff generously donated items for children of all ages, including brand new winter boots, coats, shampoo, soaps, deodorants, toothbrushes, and more!
Above Andrew Haapala, Soo Motors, Inc. General Manager, stands with several Service and Sales staff members as they kick off the 2015 Fill-A-Ford drive in December.

In addition to the wonderful generosity of these folks, we were also contacted by The International Bridge Authority whose employees came together and donated $550 to purchase new items for students whose needs had not yet been met. This money was used to purchase not only winter gear, but also clothing for one of the students who needed a uniform for work, and underclothing for another student in need -(something that is rarely donated during drives)

By being able to purchase items like these for students, Ford and the IBA are helping to remove the things that were once seen as barriers for these students so they may thrive in their respective schools. When students have to worry about things going on outside of school hours, it makes it much more difficult for them to concentrate on learning, which is one of the reasons why UWEUP began the RB2E program.
If you would like to find out more about the RB2E program, student needs, or other ways to benefit the lives of students in our program, please call 906-632-3700 ext.3 or email  (click here) our Volunteer Center.

Upcoming Events

Jan. 18, 2016 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service
We're holding a sock drive Jan. 11 through Jan. 18 in honor of the national Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service. Check out the flier here - MLK DAY FLIER

Feb. 25, 2016 - Citizen Review Panel

Impacting your community 
through partnerships like this...
How does United Way help?
United Way of the EUP Commercial

These aren't actors.  They are local members of our Community that help to make a difference each and every day!  Please learn more about United Way of the EUP and how we work to make a difference in schools, with employers and with our children.
Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians hosts
Indian Taco Sale
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