By SEAN BARRON
Last year saw the United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley expand its reach and scope – and exceed its financial goal.
“Our campaign goal was $2.9 million,” said Bob Hannon, UW’s president, during the agency’s annual dinner and awards ceremony Thursday at The Lake Club.
Sponsoring the event was Chemical Bank.
Nearly 500 community leaders, agency heads and others attended the annual meeting to celebrate UW’s accomplishments last year, which included raising $3,143,522 for its 2017 campaign.
Hannon touted the agency’s achievements that included the expansion of a Success After 6 program, which grew from two to eight schools and involves more than 600 students.
“We’re trying to work with children who face barriers to academic success,” Hannon said, adding that Success After 6 also features enrichment opportunities and field trips.
A large part of UW’s efforts is a report-card mentoring program in which volunteers help the students maintain good grades. The focus is on those in kindergarten through grade six, though the students’ progress often is followed much beyond that, Hannon said.
“Our goal is to stay with these kids and follow them as best we can,” he added.
An overall aim of UW, which has partnerships with 31 community agencies, is to work with students who are academically behind and struggling so they will more likely catch up and be primed for success, Hannon stressed.
The report card mentoring effort “will even be a positive impact on communities in the future,” said Michael Schrock, Chemical Bank’s regional president, who also is mentoring a Youngstown Community School student.
In addition to helping them improve their grades, the mentoring program’s long-lasting effect is to ensure that such students realize they matter, Schrock added.
Making additional remarks was Roxann Sebest, United Way’s director of marketing and communications, who stressed the importance of the agency’s corporate and other partners that have contributed to UW’s success with its initiatives.
Also at the meeting, Schrock and Youngstown Mayor Jamael Tito Brown were elected new board members.
Awards and recipients
A variety of volunteers and entities were awarded for their campaigns that helped raise more than $3.1 million for the agency in 2017, as well as their contributions to the community.
• Top workplace campaigns: Dearing Compressor & Pump Co., AT&T and General Motors Lordstown Complex with United Auto Workers Locals 1112 and 1714
• Campaign Leadership Award: Sue Stricklin and the Simon Roofing team
Labor Leadership Award: Laborers’ International Union Local 125
• Impact Leadership Award: Classic Optical Laboratories Inc.
Dedicated Service Award: Youngstown Firefighters Local 312 and Ballet Western Reserve
• Volunteer Excellence Award: Rick Fryda, Compco Industries; Vallourec employees and Marne Cario of Compass Family and Community Services
•Rising Star Volunteer Award: Jacob Richardson and Nicholas Plunkett, South Range Middle School seventh-graders
• Adopt-a-School Award: Chris and Ed Muransky, Youngstown Community School; Gloria Jones and Fireline Inc. in memory of Jones’ late husband, Roger D. Jones, Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School; The DeBartolo Corp., Williamson Elementary; Huntington Bank, McGuffey Elementary; and Ronald McDonald House Charity, Taft and Girard Prospect elementary schools.
• Parker McHenry Excellence Award: Becky Wall of Dearing Compressor & Pump
Source: Event organizers