Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Meet James Powers, 69, known as the mayor of "The Ledge"

James Powers is excited to get housed today! 

Home for Good: The Alliance to End Homelessness is establishing housing for James, said Pat Frey, Executive Director of Home for Good.  This afternoon he met with Home for Good Ambassador Arthur Moton. Arthur, has experience in getting housed through the Home for Good program.  He is guiding James to make sure he gets the necessary items, such as household and furniture for his new home.   

Arthur is serving as a mentor to James and guiding his transition from homelessness to being housed.  They shared their experiences as they enjoyed a cup of coffee.  

Arthur expressed to James, "I now have a smart phone and you will soon know how to utilize one, he said.  "I remember reading this type of technology in the Dick Tracy comic books and now it’s come to pass."  James said, "Kids are so much smarter these days with their technology."

James took pride in knowing his story was front in center on the cover of the Ledger-Enquirer.  He knows his story will help other homeless individuals get the opportunity to have a safe place to live.  

Read more here: http://www.ledger-enquirer.com/news/local/article62961847.html#storylink=cpy

Friday, February 19, 2016


Twenty one local 7th graders had the opportunity to learn about homelessness as United Way of the Chattahoochee Valley hosts its 7th annual United Way Youth Camp, which is sponsored by Aflac.  Students this year are from 12 middle schools in Muscogee County School District, Russell County, Harris County, Chattahoochee County, Faith (Ft. Benning), St. Anne Pacelli, Brookstone, St. Luke, Glenwood and St. Patrick (Phenix City).
The camp is focused on teaching students about United Way’s four priority areas: Basic Needs, Income, Health and Education. They will learn about homelessness and poverty by visiting several United Way partner agencies, Open Door Community House; Homeless Resource Network, The Salvation Army, Stewart Community Home and Chattahoochee Valley Jail Ministry’s SafeHouse.  These agencies work towards helping individuals and families that are without a home.  Students will also connect with United Way’s Home for Good Program: The Alliance to End Homelessness and learn about the importance of volunteering with agencies that are working towards sustainable solutions for reducing and ending homelessness. 
This experience encourages students throughout camp to maintain a journal of his or her Youth Camp involvements.  These journals are valuable in reflecting back on their visits with United Way partner agencies.
The three day event began Friday, February 12th and ended on Sunday, February 14th.  On the last day of the camp, students will be able to help the agencies they visited by making purchases at Wal-mart while on a budget, to give to the agencies that have expressed certain needs.  The students will then presented their items to the agencies at the Youth Camp Graduation Celebration Sunday, February 14th at Open Door Community House. 

Graduates of these camps have gone on to serve on the United Way Youth Council, a student-led community change organization.  Selected United Way Youth Council members from local area high schools complete various community projects, as well as, raise funds to support programs of their choice.  Inspiring middle school students to begin thinking about their community, teaches students to grow as leaders and connect to their community at an early age.  United Way believes that young people can address local issues while strengthening their academics.  

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Meet Kevin Christopher Hill Sr.

Kevin Christopher Hill Sr. had the opportunity to return back to the workforce! 

Kevin is now interning with Home for Good: The Alliance to End Homelessness through the The VA Vocation Rehab Program that is in partnership with United Way’s partner agency, Goodwill Industries of the Southern Rivers, Inc.

During the internship with United Way’s Home for Good, Kevin has learned a great deal about our community resources. 
“This is a busy place.  I get to see agencies work together to help people in Columbus and Phenix City.  I knew United Way did great work in the community, it’s rewarding to see people who use our resources be willing to return as a volunteer,” Keven recalled. “I really like working for United Way’s Home for Good, this is a happy place and I love being around workers that are so happy and willing to do more.”
Kevin expressed how individuals know about things, but don’t necessarily know how to go about getting the information.  Understanding how United Way supports our local area allows me the chance to share my story.
My military background is in the strategic intelligence field.  I plan to return to school to transition into the field of social work.
 “I admire being around people that care about changing lives for the better,” he said.
Kevin is delighted to be back in the workforce and said his training at United Way has not only gained him stability, but has given him a new perspective in the importance of supporting our local agencies. 

Friday, February 5, 2016

WLC - Service Project - Trinity House

The Difference You Can Make- WLC Trinity House Project

There are so many ways to get involved and make a difference with the WLC and the beauty of a volunteer-led women’s group is that our Council has the opportunity to take on projects they feel are important to them. 

During our delivery of undergarments last year to United Way agencies, a group of Council Board members took a tour of Trinity House, which provides emergency transitional housing for disadvantaged women and children, giving them the opportunity to find employment and save money, and eventually secure living facilities on their own.

Upon touring, two of our members realized their talents as interior designers could be put to use to make the shelter more comfortable for the clients. Debbie Corley and Sonja Esteras of Flournoy Properties, with the help of the WLC Service Committee and donations from venders, took the lead on a series of renovations at the shelter. These renovations included the installation of new flooring in bedrooms and bathrooms, new showers with new bathroom tile, new paint, new light fixtures, new window blinds, and new ceiling fans. 

Debbie and Sonja even planned a volunteer project at Trinity House to include their Flournoy Company co-workers. They truly went above and beyond and used their talent and the resources they had to make a difference in the lives of the women and children who will take shelter at the Trinity House. Thank you Debbie and Sonja! 

While a great deal has been accomplished there is still a wish list of items needed to complete the updates and renovations. If you are able to donate any of the items below please contact Rachel Chambless at (706) 327-3255 ext. 209 or rchambless@unitedwayofthecv.org. 

  • Outside door mats
  • Cookware
  • Storage Boxes
  • Plates/cups/utensils
  • Small Shelving
  • Outside Storage
  • Plastic under-the-bed storage containers


Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Your Investment to United Way

Each day of the year, United Way and our local agencies are available to help. With the start of the New Year, we want to inform you of how your donations help our valuable resources. 

Workplace Campaign

Every year, employees get involved in workplace giving campaigns to support United Way of the Chattahoochee Valley. Your donations help our community improve education, financial stability and health.

The United Way workplace campaign unites employees in all offices or branches of a company, and gives them an opportunity to donate, volunteer and speak out for causes that matter to them. You can see the results in your own backyard, even as you're part of a larger mission to affect change worldwide.

The workforce campaign is about more than raising money for worthy causes; it also strengthens connections between employees and their community.

Join us for EITC Awareness Day, January 29, 2016!

Celebrate The 10th Annual Anniversary-EITC-Earned Income Tax Credit Awareness Day January 29, 2016
Join us for EITC Awareness Day, January 29, 2016!

EITC Awareness Day increases awareness among potentially eligible taxpayers at the time most are filing their federal income tax returns.  This day is a joint venture between IRS and its many community partners.  

This year marks the 10th anniversary of EITC Awareness Day and, in along with promoting EITC; the IRS provides information on other refundable tax credits that taxpayers may be eligible to receive. This includes the Premium Tax Credit, American Opportunity Tax Credit, and the Child Tax Credit. IRS estimates four of five eligible taxpayers claim and get this important credit.  Best of all, EITC is a financial boost for working people and our local economy.  Please join our outreach efforts!

As tax season kicks-off, this is an opportune day to lift up the Earned Income Tax Credit and valuable credit through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program and/or MyFreeTaxes.

Each year, IRS joins partners nationwide to launch the EITC Awareness Day outreach campaign to ensure that millions of low-and moderate-income workers get the credit they deserve and get it right.

VITA is a proven solution that lifts millions of children and working families out of poverty each year… a tool that, at the same time, also improves child health and academic achievement, enables financial stability for hard-working families, and returns funds back into our local communities.

Completing taxes is easy and free with VITA. Individuals and families with combined household incomes of $53,000 or less can have their taxes prepared for free at one of several local VITA sites. VITA locations can prepare federal and state tax returns for the current year, as well as prior year returns and amendments. 

Through VITA, tax payers will also receive all eligible tax credits, most commonly the Child Tax and Earned Income Credits. VITA also provides a free online tool for those with a combined income of $60,000 or less in 2015. To file online, visit www.myfreetaxes.com to get started. For more information about VITA, visit www.vitainthevalley.com

With this great program you’d probably want as many of your friends, family and community to know about this amazing resource. 

That’s exactly why United Way, our community partners, and thousands of volunteers each year take action to connect millions of people to the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). In fact, just last tax season, United Way of of the Chattahoochee Valley, through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, helped connect local people to file tax refunds. That's – money coming right back into our community. And that’s why we advocate to strengthen and expand the EITC for working families and individuals.

Simply put, the EITC helps lower-wage working families keep more of what they earn. Research finds that the EITC encourages work, reduces poverty and leads to long-term gains in child health and academic success. Together with the Child Tax Credit (CTC), another essential credit that helps offset the cost of raising children, the credits lifted more than 9 million people – 5 million of them children -- out of poverty in 2013. The credits also help 22 million lower-income Americans have further financial stability.

We hope you’d take action.

There are many ways you can take action this EITC Awareness Day – January 29, 2016.

Spread the wordTell your friends and family about the success of the EITC & Child Tax Credit. Tweet it, post it, put a sign in your yard, or a sticker on your car. The tax credits could mean hundreds or thousands of dollars in the pockets of people you care about. Use #EITC, #EITCDay, and #LIVEUNITED.

Connect people to the credits through free online tax preparation at MyFreeTaxes.com. Share the link and individuals or families earning $60,000 or less in 2015 can file their state and local taxes for free online. Those who may want free in-person assistance can contact 2-1-1 to find their nearest Volunteer Income Tax Assistance site.

Interested in volunteering? Become a VITA volunteer! 
RVVC provides an opportunity to give back to your community. No previous tax preparation experience is necessary. All volunteers will receive training and certification through the IRS. For more information VITA

Upcoming training dates for VITA:
January 4-6 (3-Day Training) Sat. 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM; Sun. 12:00 - 6:00 PM
January 9-10 (2-Day Training) Mon., Tues., Wed. 4:00 – 8:00 PM
January 16-17 (2-Day Training) Sat. 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM; Sun. 12:00 - 6:00 PM
VITA sites then open on Tuesday, January 9th.

Vita Locations

Britt David VITA
2801 W. Britt David Road
Columbus GA  31901

Consumer Credit Counseling Service
1350 5th Avenue
Columbus GA  31901

Mission Columbus
3679 Stem Mill Road
Columbus GA  31906

The Josh Gibson Center
116 Rogers T. 
Buena Vista  GA 31803

Visit Goodwill Career Centers: United Way's Partner Agency

Columbus Midtown
2601 Cross Country Drive
Columbus GA 31906

6707 Flatrock Court 
Midland GA 31820 
706-341-4724 ext 4 

Phenix City 
3605 U.S. Highway 431 N 
Phenix City, AL 36867 
334-664-9716 ext 4

Thanks for taking action – because change doesn't happen without you!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

WLC - Undergarment Deliveries

United Way's Women's Leadership Council (WLC) Undergarment Deliveries

United Way's partner agency, The Crisis Center of Russell County works with victims of domestic violence that are residents of Phenix City, Russell County and Ft. Benning.

They’ve recently opened their new shelter and can now accommodate 16-20 women and children that are in imminent danger and fleeing their abusers. United Way's WLC members visited the shelter to donate undergarments from the "Power of the Purse" luncheon.

The Crisis Center of Russell County's mission is dedicated to helping victims of domestic violence rebuild their lives by providing personal advocacy, emotional support, safe housing, assistance to community resources, and offering preventative education to the community.

They believe in the rights of victims and empowerment of women, and strive to put an end to violence against women in our community. For more information go to http://www.ccpcrc.org/.

St. Anne Outreach, a food pantry and clothing bank is a new community partner with United Way. St. Anne Outreach provides undergarment vouchers to women in poverty. They also provide 4000 meals a year to over 40 people a week and have 100 volunteers.

The average poverty level in Georgia, for a family of five is a household income of $35,513 per year or $2,959 per month. Women are 90% of this poverty level. The WLC's "Power of the purse" help women obtain undergarments during times of transition towards rebuilding their lives.

A few of the United Way staff and WLC members toured the outreach facility. Katie Byers, Director of this center demonstrated how homeless persons that are housed get basic needs. This outreach center works with the Homeless Resource Network, to provide shoes and clothes. Providing adult diapers, sheets towels and household items help individuals and families.

This holiday season 90 families in need were adopted to get a box full of essential items. St. Anne Outreach welcomes volunteers to provide the following:

How You Can Help Volunteer to:

  • Interview clients
  • Answer phone calls
  • File and organize paperwork
  • Stock, inventory or bag groceries 
  • Sort and label donated clothing 
  • Assist clients in picking out clothing 
  • Pick up donated groceries from local businesses
Most of the volunteers work one or two days Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to Noon. However, they have opportunities on weekends and evenings.


  • Gently-used clothing, new underwear
  • Egg cartons, grocery bags
  • Small household items such as dishes, pots and pans
  • Linens and towels in good condition 
  • Personal hygiene items for men and women

Hours of Operation 

The Outreach Center is open Monday through Thursday from 8:30 until Noon.

For volunteer /donation opportunities contact:
Terri Parodi
United Way of the Chattahoochee Valley
Director, Volunteer Center

706-327-3255, ext 212