Press Release: United Way Statement on the Better Care Reconciliation Act

Alexandria, VA. (June 28, 2017) – United Way fights for the health, education and financial stability of every person in every community.  As such, we work with a range of parties – including business, government and community leaders – to improve all Americans’ access to affordable, quality healthcare.

We are monitoring congressional action on the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), which, in its current form, would result in sweeping changes to our healthcare laws and impact insurance coverage for every American.  Most notably, the bill will make it more difficult for Americans to get affordable health care that allows them to lead healthy, productive lives.

Quality healthcare is critical for a child’s ability to succeed in school, and for families to remain financially self-sufficient. We will continue to work with all parties who wish to come together to develop a plan that will reduce healthcare costs while not reducing coverage for working families.

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About United Way Worldwide
United Way fights for the health, education and financial stability of every person in every community. Supported by 2.8 million volunteers, 9.8 million donors worldwide, and more than $4.7 billion raised every year, United Way is the world’s largest privately-funded nonprofit. We’re engaged in nearly 1,800 communities across more than 40 countries and territories worldwide to create sustainable solutions to the challenges facing our communities. United Way partners include global, national and local businesses, nonprofits, government, civic and faith-based organizations, along with educators, labor leaders, health providers, senior citizens, students and more. For more information about United Way, please visit UnitedWay.org. Read our Annual Report. Follow us on Twitter: @UnitedWay and #LiveUnited.

Media Contact

Southerlyn Worsham
United Way Worldwide
703-836-7100 ext 321
southerlyn.worsham@uww.unitedway.org

Christine Sanchez
United Way Worldwide
703-836-7100 ext 564
christine.sanchez@uww.unitedway.org

Making the Leap from High School to College

The jump from high school to college can be a difficult transition. For students like Anthony Frazier, a junior at Middletown High School in Cincinnati, Ohio, that just got a lot easier thanks to United Way of Greater Cincinnati. Through a new partnership with the Middletown High School Future Center, United Way is piloting a speed-mentoring program designed to equip students with the knowledge, tools and resources they need to successfully transition to college. Read more here.

Press Release: United Way of Forsyth County, Collects Canned Food for A Day of Action Food Drive with Second Harvest Food Bank on June 21

WINSTON-SALEM, NC – United Way of Forsyth County (UWFC) is rallying volunteers throughout the community to participate in a canned food drive to support Second Harvest Food Bank.

UWFC is conducting a canned food drive through June 20 for the Winston Tower building tenants and UWFC staff.   Boxes will be in the lobby and ground floor of the building. Everyone in Forsyth County is encouraged to participate by donating canned food between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.  UWFC’s Marketing and Engagement team will distribute these items to the Food Bank and volunteer time on June 21 , which is United Way’s Worldwide Day of Action.

Worldwide, United Way Day of Action is a snapshot of what the organization does all year long – galvanizing people around solutions to build stronger communities. Volunteers of all ages will come together to create positive change for themselves, their families and their communities.

This year, United Way Worldwide is focusing on summer learning and nutrition. Summer is a critical time for children’s academic and physical well-being. However, in too many communities, kids are falling behind in school and going hungry during the summer months.

“We are pleased to provide this opportunity to empower volunteers to build a stronger community with our Day of Action to benefit children in Forsyth County,” said Cindy Gordineer UWFC president and CEO. “Children lose more than academic knowledge over the summer. For some children, summer often means the loss of regular breakfasts and lunches.”

According to a 2012 report from the Food Research and Action Center, six out of seven children who eat a free or reduced-price school lunch during the academic year do not get a free meal during the summer.

More than 418 United Ways in 21 countries mobilized volunteers in their communities on Day of Action in 2016.

Press Release: Wendy Poteat-Spicer Appointed Director of The Forsyth Promise

Wendy Poteat-Spicer has been named director of The Forsyth Promise.

The Forsyth Promise (TFP) is a United Way of Forsyth County supported initiative that helps enhance the education of Forsyth County’s students so they all can reach their full potential.  The countywide initiative works to improve educational outcomes of every child from cradle to career.

Poteat-Spicer will be responsible for managing the daily operations for the county, enriching community partnerships and cultivating private, public and foundation support.

Prior to her new position, Poteat-Spicer was director of government affairs for the Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce where she was a registered lobbyist and advocated and secured funding and legislative support for priority projects. She served for 2 years as the Chief Operating Officer for A United Community, LLC, where she created and implemented organizational strategies, policies and practices.

Poteat-Spicer serves on the Board of Visitors for Guilford College; was appointed by the President of the UNC System to the Center for Design Innovation advisory board, which she chairs and the Leadership Winston-Salem board where she serves on the program council, and human relations committee.

Poteat-Spicer is a motivational speaker, community organizer, and certified life coach, her first book, Own Your Truth; Living Life According to Your Own Truth and Your Own Terms, will be published this summer.

Poteat-Spicer is a graduate of Guilford College with a bachelor’s degree in policy studies and criminal justice. She earned a master’s degree in public administration from Capella University.

This local angel excels at love and laughter- by John Railey – Winston Salem Journal

This is a column about an angel, Claudette Weston of Winston-Salem, who may choke on her coffee, laugh and say she is no damn angel as she reads that.

But she is an angel. The best kind. The human kind.

That was readily apparent Wednesday night as Claudette shined during the presentation of the United Way award for excellence in nonprofit management named for her and her late husband, Joel Weston Jr. (Goodwill Industries of Northwest North Carolina was this year’s winner.) A rainbow range of nonprofit leaders, workers and volunteers mingled happily at the Old Town Club, many trying to get a moment with Claudette (everybody calls her by her first name) just to love on her and try to catch a little bit of her magic. She happily obliged as many as she could get to, making each of us feel like we were the people at the party with whom she most wanted to talk and laugh.

“She just cares about people,” her son Julian told me last week. “She really doesn’t see colors. She doesn’t see differences.”

Her daughter, Caroline Stopyra, said: “She has always been a strong advocate for the underdog and is unafraid to defend her beliefs. She has friends from every age and walk of life because she is so real, compassionate and fun to be around … She’s passionate, funny, intelligent, and intuitive.”

Claudette spins such good stories you don’t realize until later that she’s giving you subtle lessons about the power of love and service, stories infused with a practical brilliance. For more than half a century, she has helped lead in causes including health, education, the environment, foster children and sports.

As her son Joel Weston III told me, “She is truly one of the most loving and giving people you will ever know, but she is also tough as nails and has an excellent sense of humor. She always thinks of others first.”

Maybe she’s led so many to the light because she knows well the darkness of which she rarely speaks. She comes from modest means in Winston. Her father died when she was 9. Her mother raised Claudette and her siblings with the help of her mother and “Aunt Birdie.” They were all “strong, fair-minded, hardworking women that told it like it was and believed in equality way back in the 1940s and 50s,” Caroline said.

Ernie Shore, the former pro baseball player and longtime Forsyth sheriff, mentored Claudette and helped her get to Guilford College.

Claudette graduated from Guilford, then married Joel Jr., whom she’d known since the fourth grade and had dated since high school. They were well into raising their four children in 1984 when Joel Jr. died of a heart attack while on a canoeing trip in Canada. He was just 47, a beloved businessman.

“I think she (Claudette) — got through a lot of it with Billy Joel and Lionel Ritchie,” Julian said. “She’d get a little misty-eyed when she listened to some of the Billy Joel songs.”

Claudette, of course, pushed on, shepherding her fine children through adulthood. Caroline said her mother “is fiercely loyal and loves her family to the core. All of her eight grandchildren adore her and have inside jokes with her that they mutually think are clever.”

Claudette started an event-planning company with her sister Nancy that is now known as Weston and Associates, beating cancer along the way. And she plunged even deeper into her service work.

In 2012, she told Journal reporter Fran Daniel that she believes in unconditional love, even if that’s not easy, and faith that can move mountains. Nothing makes his mother happier, her son David said, than to be in her longtime church, St. Timothy’s Episcopal, on Sundays.

She told Journal reporter Bill Cole in 2006: “The other part of me is that if locally there’s a child involved that can better himself, I’m right on it. I will do anything to help children grow. If you locked me in a room I’d be crazy. I mean crazy. It’s probably the way God’s going to have me die: Lock her up!”

Hang around with Claudette for just a short time in a public place and you will meet some of her many friends, people coming up to her with stories about how she helped them or their children through rough patches. They talk about her cards as well. She’s sent out thousands of them, if not tens of thousands, some to people who’d never gotten a kind note. Claudette’s happy handwriting picks the recipients up, pats them on the back, gives them a hug and shares a laugh or a tear with them. And then, of course, there are all the homemade, to-die-for rum cakes Claudette delivers to many friends each year soon before Christmas.

“I often joke with her about giving too much back to the community, which she basically ignores, or likes to remind me that you can never give too much back to the community,” David Weston said. She inspires others to get involved, he said.

What do you do with a mother like that, one whom so many others think of as a second mother or mentor or close friend, one who keeps everybody in stitches? I reckon her children know the answer: You just keep on loving her forever and ever, just as so many others do and will. And you spread the love and laughter that Claudette subtly teaches to give to all.

Local CPA Takes Lifestyle Course, Loses Weight and Reverses Diabetes Risk

David Hinton wasn’t very surprised when his doctor informed him of his risk for type 2 diabetes.

Before his diagnosis, Hinton, a successful CPA, long-time YMCA volunteer and member worked out with devotion at the William G. White Y each week. He also ate with a passion. He drank whole milk and consumed his favorite bacon cheeseburgers on a regular basis. He thought he knew what he was doing. He exercised twice, sometimes three times a week. But on that March day in 2015 while at a routine doctor’s appointment, Hinton learned he wasn’t doing enough.

Hinton signed up for the United Way of Forsyth County supported YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program. The 16-week class proved to be invaluable. It taught him that diet must be managed together with exercise. He learned to track nutritional content such as calories and fat grams in the foods he consumed and he was guided to a goal of 300 minutes of exercise activity daily that could range from anything like walking his dog and yard work to other activities not restricted to a gym.

“The program called for losing seven percent of my weight, which was about 17 pounds, I thought that was impossible, but I would try,” Hinton said.

At the end of the program, Hinton lost 24 pounds and was informed he was no longer pre-diabetic. He has kept his weight down ever since.
“When the doctor told me I had to lose weight because I was headed to a life with diabetes, that had an impact on me,” Hinton, 60, said. “Both of my parents were diabetic and I saw the effects it had on their lives and honestly, it made me a little scared. I was one-tenth a percentage point on my A1C count away from being classified as diabetic,” he said.

Before signing up for the Diabetes Prevention Program, Hinton tried losing the weight himself.

“So I increased my workouts from two to four days a week. I thought I was killing it. Then after a couple of months I discovered, I only lost four pounds,” Hinton said.

“After going through the program I feel good, healthier and younger. I recommend this lifestyle to everyone,” Hinton said.
Before the program, breakfast included a couple strips of bacon or sausage everyday with snacks consisting from various flavors of potato chips, chocolate chip cookies, Ritz crackers and sodas, which were often the big 32 ounce cups, a few times a week, Hinton said. “Now I have chicken, turkey, snacks lower in fat with less calories, like pretzels, wheat thins and fruit such as apples, grapes and pineapples.”

He has learned to splurge in moderation, like treating himself to ice cream or a soda once or twice a week, instead of every day.
“As a result of the program, I am not on any medication. My blood pressure is good, cholesterol numbers are good and my A1C count for diabetes has gone down,” he said.