Success Stories

Ryan is making friends and developing important social skills

A young man wearing a zip-front hooded sweatshirt is standing outside and smilingRyan is a teen who struggles with social interactions, which makes it difficult for him to make friends and connect with his peers at school. Thanks to Easterseals, a United Way Agency Partner, he has tons of friends. Ryan makes friends at Easterseals’s Camp Lily and their weekly Hang Time program. At these programs, Ryan is surrounded by peers who accept and support him, which allows him to develop his identity and self-confidence. Ryan looks forward to seeing his friends every week at Hang Time and enjoys the chance to be a typical teen out with his friends on a Friday night.

Mentoring helps Dudley thrive

A teenage boy and a man wearing glasses are standing side-by-side and smilingBig Brothers Big Sisters, a United Way Agency Partner, provides one-to-one and group mentoring programs for at-risk youth. Rusty and Big Brother Dudley have been matched in the program since December 2019. They enjoy hiking, biking, kayaking, going to the gym together, and working on academics and homework,too. Dudley continues to be a supportive adult in Rusty’s life and pushes him to identify and reach his goals. Rusty shares, “I am thankful to have someone like Dudley in my life, someone I can trust and talk to about anything.”

Dorothy maintains an independent life

An older women is standing in the doorway of her home. She is accpeting a brown bag and a small tray of food from another womanDorothy, 91 years young, has lived in her modest home in Bernville for 66 years. After working on a farm for a local church, she and her husband moved to “town,” where she raised her family. Today, she is widowed and lives alone, but she stays in her home because it is where she wants to be. She said, “Because I am receiving Meals on Wheels, I can stay here and enjoy my house and have friends around me.”

Dorothy loves the healthy and nutritious food she receives and likes when there are special treats like pudding or cookies. The daily meals keep her healthy and she jokes that “she doesn’t have to do the dishes!” She looks forward to socializing with the volunteers, and the volunteers make sure Dorothy is safe when they check in on her everyday. United Way, Berks Encore and Meals on Wheels help Dorothy age well and live independently.


Erasmo is building a stable life

A man is smiling at the cameraIn December of 2020, Erasmo began working with his BCPS case manager to develop his transition plan and complete BCPS groups designed to help him succeed in the workplace. With the help of his case worker, he crafted a detailed resume and enhanced his skills in employment search, application completion, interview preparation and job retention. They also established a robust plan for his release and developed supports for when he needed them most. Through his hard work and determination, Erasmo secured temporary employment at Crossroad Beverage and rented a one-bedroom apartment. He recently completed a trade apprenticeship program through BCPS and looks forward to his future.

When you make a gift to United Way of Berks County, your contribution makes a difference in the lives of 190,000 individuals throughout Berks County. Meet some of the people you’ve helped below.