Our United Voice

From Sippy Cup to Graduation Cap in :13 Seconds.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Melody Murphy
Senior Manager,
Digital Engagement

Well, not really but it seems like it.

My oldest child, Nate will graduate from Jefferson County Public School’s Ballard High School this Friday, June 5.

I can’t believe I just typed that. But it’s true.

It really hit me (hard) when I saw this BuzzFeed post a few weeks ago: 

23 Reminders Of What The World Was Like When The Class Of 2015 Was Born

Will Nate really never watch his favorite preschool show Blue’s Clues again? Is it even on anymore?

Dads Matter...A Lot!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Shawn Gardner
President & Founder
2Not1 Fatherhood & Families
Years ago when I was out in the community with my four daughters I was often asked, "are you babysitting?", "where’s mom" or something of that nature. I guess they thought there was no way I could actually just be doing what dads do. In tandem with that reoccurring scenario, I talked with another young father that prompted a workshop-type discussion in our community around fatherhood. It soon became evident that there were support services provided to moms that would have benefited this dad’s efforts to be a better father too.

These conversations led to a partnership with Neighborhood Place to provide a series of fatherhood workshops in our community. Dads learned parenting skills, the community benefited from the insight gained from the discussions, and I recognized my calling for founding an organization to advocate for fathers and to strengthen families - 2NOT1.

40 years: A Connector, Engager and Cheerleader.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Mary Sullivan
Corporate Volunteer Engagement
It’s amazing to think about how my volunteer experiences - from the time I was 8 years old growing up in South Bend, Indiana until I was a college student at Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Michigan - prepared me for a 40 year career in volunteer management with Metro United Way.

What brought me to Metro United Way in 1975? I had a degree in Urban Studies (note that there was no degree in volunteer management back then, but there is today!) with lots of volunteer experience; my dad was an active volunteer for United Way in our home communities and suggested I send my resume to United Way Worldwide. I completed their intern program and landed a job in Louisville with Metro United Way. While there have been some tough times and challenges in my career, I’ve embraced the mission of Metro United Way and the community that adopted me.

A few highlights? 

Play. It's Important to Our Kids' Success.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Claude Stephens
Facilitator of Outreach &
Regenerative Design
Bernheim Arboretum & Research Forest
If our aim is to create a generation of creative leaders well versed in social justice, primed for exploring the world and ready to address the mounting challenges of the future…we would get out of the way when children play. But for the most part, that is not what we do. We adults tend to schedule, plan, control, design and engineer most of the real value out of play. Worse, we undervalue play as a pastime.

“Play is the highest form of research.”
– Albert Einstein

Ask anyone over fifty about their experience with play growing up and they will likely tell you that their parents showed them the door in the morning and then rang the bell when it was time for supper. Between those moments children were engaged “in the highest form of research.”

Children are drawn to trees. A large downed tree will hold a child’s
attention far longer than any engineered climbing structure.

A Love of Language. A Love of Books.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Judy Schroeder
Senior Manager,
Neighborhood Engagement
When I was little, I can remember only one set of books in the house. My dad read the paper. But my mom would open up My Book House, the BIG BOOK of nursery rhymes, and the next volume with fairy tales from around the world. Now, that was a long time ago…once upon a time…but I don’t remember any of my neighbor friends having lots of children’s books, either.

Maybe that’s why I can relate so well to Metro United Way's Ages & Stages Questionnaires (ASQ) and the families enrolled, as well as our neighborhood parent advocates. The day I got that Golden Book, What Do Daddies Do All Day?, it was absolutely precious to me. (My daddy was just starting out as a mailman.)

So, how did I find this love for language that I have? For expressing myself? For being curious about others? For reading? My mother talked to me, that’s how. She actually asked questions, my whole life. Even as an infant, I’m sure, because I watched her do that with each of my brothers and sisters.

Black History Should Be Taught All Year, Not Just February

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Delquan Dorsey
Executive Director,
Governor's Office of Minority Empowerment
It was February 1996. I was a graduating senior attending Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio, and a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.

Like many of the "Divine Nine" - African American Fraternities and Sororities - we have numerous programs that serve the African-American community. On this particular day, I was excited to participate in one of my favorite fraternity programs.

My brothers and I were passing out “Black History Facts" - dressed to impress in our best suits, shirts, and ties. The Black History Facts included information about famous African-Americans who had made a positive impact in America. On the cover of the literature was Dr. Carter G. Woodson, known as the "Father of Black History."

Kids Have Voices Worth Listening to…Hear Them Out

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Regan Hunt, Executive Director
Kentucky Voices for Health
For the past 11 years hundreds of Kentuckians of all ages have convened in Frankfort during the legislative session for Children’s Advocacy Day at the Capitol. Those who attend have one thing in common: we all want Kentucky to be the best place in America to be a kid!

What's amazing about this particular day is that kids are actually telling us what we can all do to change the world today and in the future. To quote Kid President, “If you make the world better for kids, you make it better for everybody." But how?

Start with something that impacts daily life.

I recently watch a documentary about The Rethinkers
, a group of kids (and supportive adults) in New Orleans advocating for better school breakfasts and lunches, going so far as meeting with the corporation that provides the food they eat. These kids were passionate, armed with data, and driven to change their world. And, they did! The students helped negotiate a signed contract promising fresh, local produce that would be served at least twice a week in every school in the district's cafeterias.

This Keeps People Working, Out of Poverty and Improves Kids' Education and Health. WHAT IS IT?

Friday, January 30, 2015

John Nevitt
Senior Manager, Family Stability
A group of leaders across Kentucky have been working for the past few years to develop legislation that would allow our state to join 25 other states that have already adopted a State Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), modeled after the federal credit. 

So, what is a state EITC and why is it important?

The federal Earned Income Tax Credit helps low-to-moderate income working families offset their income taxes so they have more money to meet their basic needs and support positive outcomes for their children.  A state EITC provides an additional credit at a percentage of the federal level to make an even greater difference for families.  This is particularly helpful in light of the rising cost of healthcare, transportation, and utilities.

In the 2012 tax year, the federal EITC paid over $917 million to nearly 400,000 families in Kentucky, with the average credit about $2,300 per family.  If a state credit were in place at 15% of the federal credit, this would represent an additional $138 million going back to hard working families across our state, at an average of $345 per family.

So, how exactly does this credit help families?

Hope for Boys and Young Men of Color

Monday, January 19, 2015

Daryle Unseld
Senior Manager, Community Engagement
As I reflect on my time as a youth growing up in Louisville, I’m thankful that I had many caring adults who encouraged me to dream past high school. I can’t help to think where I would be without that encouragement from those who served as an extension of my parents and grandparents, by pushing me to work hard, study hard and make the most of myself. From all walks of life, this cadre of both formal and informal mentors never gave up on me, and wouldn't allow me to give up on myself.

I can also name countless individuals including relatives and close friends whose dreams have been derailed. The fact remains that in our community, many of our boys and young men of color fall into the category of “at risk." And while we wait for the calvary that’s never coming, the gang and drug culture consistently but negatively demonstrates how effective mentoring partnerships work.

I can speak from personal experience that as a young black male the struggle is real! And because of who you are, and where you come from, often times you are marginalized into insignificance by the mainstream.

There are some harsh realities facing many young people in our community. Particularly, issues that disproportionately affect boys and young men of color:

8 Tips to Help Your Entire Family Eat and Be Healthier in 2015. Really.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Healthy living is an essential part of achieving a successful life...for all of us. And getting your entire family to make better choices and eat healthier doesn't have to be difficult, time-consuming or expensive. Try these easy tips and see if 2015 can be your healthiest year yet!

• Limit fast food, processed snacks, soda, candy and other unhealthy food choices. Opt for a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and low fat dairy foods.