Greenwich United Way’s Sole Sisters Initiative to Benefit Critical Human Service Needs

Lori Jackson, David Rabin and Wendy Blumenthal. Contributed photo

Lori Jackson, David Rabin and Wendy Blumenthal. Contributed photo

The Women’s Initiative at Greenwich United Way, Sole Sisters hosted an informative breakfast presentation at Greenwich Country Club on March 9 to promote the most critical needs in Greenwich.

Co-Chairs of the 2016 Needs Assessment, Wendy Blumenthal and Lori Jackson presented early results from research that is scheduled to officially be released in May during the Legislative Breakfast, hosted by the Community Planning Council, a Greenwich United Way program.

The 2016 Needs Assessment will provide all local donors, agencies and government officials with the only comprehensive statistical portrait of Greenwich. Based on the early results of the Needs Assessment the proceeds from this year’s Luncheon will go to help meet the Greenwich Community’s most critical needs.

The most critical needs found in Greenwich were connected to situations and circumstances related to what Blumenthal called “economic disability.”

Blumenthal explained that funding programs and agencies that supported those in this category had the biggest return on investment. A.L.I.C.E., a United Way acronym which stands for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed, represents the growing number of individuals and families who are working, but are unable to afford the basic necessities of housing, food, child care, health care, and transportation.

Blumenthal explained that 12% of families in Greenwich fall under A.L.I.C.E and that Greenwich United Way is dedicated to supporting critical human service needs through agency partnerships.

Mary Forde, Director of Pupil Personnel Services and Special Education at Greenwich Public Schools talked about the difference between children born with a disability and children who are “disabled” due to their circumstances.

Forde explained that research is helping schools find ways to provide families and students with opportunities to improve their circumstances and reduce the barriers children have in achieving success.

Following Forde’s presentation, Dr. Eliot Brenner, CEO at Child Guidance Center of Southwestern Connecticut gave attendees mental health statistics. His presentation focused on youth in the United States and Connecticut and explained that only 20% of families with children who have some type of mental health disorder were able to afford treatment.

Dr. Brenner advocated research and said that it is required for agencies to receive funding for programs that help families who need the most assistance.

“The State of Connecticut is planning to cut $40 million dollars in funding for family services this year. Support from organizations like Greenwich United Way is now more important than ever,” Dr. Brenner said.

Greenwich United Way Board Chair, Karen Keegan explained that during an upcoming Legislative Breakfast in May, local agencies and officials will be able to respond to data found in the 2016 Report.

“We deepen our understanding, widen awareness and mobilize resources to best address unmet human service needs in Greenwich,” Keegan continued. “Our 2016 Needs Assessment data provides us with a valuable tool that can be used by everyone in the community to best invest in community service programs to minimize gaps.”

On April 19th the Greenwich United Way will host its 11th annual Sole Sisters Luncheon, a fundraiser that was established by the Greenwich United Way in 2004. The sold out event will provide a platform for Greenwich United Way to widen the organization’s awareness of specific critical needs presented in the 2016 Needs Assessment Report.

Arianna Huffington will be this year’s keynote speaker. Visit www.unitedway-greenwich.com for more information.

 

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