United Way of Acadiana subject at Rotary Club
By Shantelle Breaux
CROWLEY – United Way of Acadiana was the topic at Tuesday’s meeting of the Crowley Rotary Club.
Sarah Berthelot, United Way of Acadiana, was the guest speaker, and she wanted to make people aware of changes that are being made in the organization. Namely, a change of focus.
According to Berthelot, United Way is an entity that raises money to fund nonprofit entities, and although she says they will continue to do that, they are also trying to focus on the big picture and long-term effects.
Berthelot stated that the organization is now focusing on three main subjects: education, earnings and essentials.
Within the education sphere of focus, early childhood development is what the organization will work on the most. According to Berthelot, the organization will work to improve high school graduation rates, school readiness and reading at grade levels.
A program just being started should help United Way with this goal. Focusing on early childhood development, parents will be able to register their children online to receive a book (one book per child) every month. According to Berthelot, other communities have been doing this program for five year, and are starting to see the difference it is making.
Within the earnings sphere of focus, the organization will help families in the lower-income bracket build up their financial assets, which include maintaining employment, increasing income and gaining and sustaining appreciating assets.
Within the essentials sphere of focus, teaching families to maintain supportive housing, food security, stable housing and crisis management and prevention.
“We look for opportunities to connect the dotes – to make life better,” said Berthelot.
“We are very excited (about this).”