Wednesday, October 24, 2012

United Way, helping with more than $$$

We’re right in the middle of the Tulsa Area United Way campaign, which helps more than 60 non-profit organizations throughout Tulsa. Our community is fortunate that there are so many groups trying to help as many people as possible. Recently, I got to work with five of these organizations to see how we can focus on reaching the needs of Tulsa’s youth.

The United Way provided cohort training from the Center for What Works.  The cohort groups included the Salvation Army Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Tulsa, Girl Scouts of Eastern Oklahoma, Youth at Heart, Campfire USA Green Country Council, Operation Aware and the Indian Nations Council Boy Scouts of America. Leaders from all of these groups met once a month for nine months to discuss how we go from “provider” to “performance.” Each group picked a program provided locally to support youth and then we learned steps we could take to improve upon the work we are doing. 

The Boys & Girls Clubs are working on their Healthy Habits program, which provides education and hands on activities to ensure kids (and their families) lead healthier lives.  Teenagers from one of our Clubs were required to go on a hike/walk at LaFortune Park once a week.  Some of the teens would complain and skip the activity.  Staff then decided to give incentives, such as refreshments and treats. By the end of summer, everyone showed up for the walk and the teens were then good role models for the younger kids.

Another bonus of the training was getting to know leaders from these other organizations.  We all have something in common: character building our youth.  Both Boys Scouts and Girl Scouts even have meetings at our Clubs.  Operation Aware held a Fun & Fit event this summer in which the Clubs participated.  Even though the training officially ended in September, the non-profits are still meeting once a month to help each other on our progress and continue building our relationships.

Although all of Tulsa’s non-profits work to improve the lives of our citizens, we can’t do it alone. That’s why it’s important to support the United Way campaign, because the Tulsa Area United Way provides help to so many important organizations in our community, whether it be training or monetary-- they help ensure we are doing our BEST work!


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