Posted by: Jessica Heil, Director of Communications and Online Engagement
Every day, United Way staff and volunteers work to make Berks County a better place for everyone. We concentrate our efforts in ways that benefit the entire community, making it stronger and healthier. But, what does it mean to have a strong, healthy community? Here are a few key characteristics:
1. Access to Education
Education is one of the essential foundations of any community. Children need to have access to reliable education, especially during early grades, to support their long-term success.
United Way supports the education of Berks County children with programs and initiatives like Ready.Set.READ! RSR, managed by United Way of Berks County, is designed to help children improve their literacy skills by the end of third grade, which will allow them to focus on learning as they move forward in school. The programs under this initiative target children from birth through third grade and include a summer learning component to keep kids learning all year long and prevent “summer slide”.
2. Volunteerism and Philanthropy
When friends and neighbors help each other, the entire community benefits. There is never a shortage of ways to volunteer and share your time, talents, and love to help someone in need. And if you are unable to volunteer, monetary donations can make a world of difference, as well.
If you are interested in offering your time in Berks County, visit our Volunteer Portal to find current volunteer opportunities. There are a wide variety of opportunities to meet nearly every interest.
3. Personal and Professional Development
Young, aspiring business leaders often play a significant role in the success of a town or community. Providing them with opportunities to continue their professional development can result in many benefits for the community, including new jobs, a stronger economy, and improved Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
United Way supports its young business professionals in Berks County with Emerging Leaders United. ELU provides individuals aged 21-45 with personal and professional development sessions, as well as exclusive volunteer opportunities.
4. Safety Net Services
Misfortune can happen at any time, to anyone. The ability to provide families with shelter and other needs in times of crisis is a hallmark of a healthy, caring community.
Many agencies and organizations provide these “safety net” services to Berks County residents in need. It is easy to support them and their efforts. Many of them welcome the help of volunteers, and when you make a donation to United Way, you’re helping to support this critical work.
Regardless of a community’s size, age, and population, certain features and characteristics indicate its health and prosperity. Many hallmarks of a healthy community are dependent on its residents. When friends, neighbors, and coworkers work towards the common goals of helping those in need and improving lives, we all benefit.