Success Stories

The following are just a few of the thousands of Success Stories that exist thanks to your generous support of United Way of Southern Kentucky... 

Check back often as we continue to add more...


2018 Q2 Impact Report - download here

Some of our IMPACT in the beginning of 2018:
  • In Logan County, 270+ students completed Junior Achievement Career Success with volunteers from Ventra Plastics, Logan Aluminum, Logan Telephone, and Auburn Banking Company. JA Career Success equips students with the tools and skills required to earn and keep a job in high-growth career industries.

  • Information and consultation was provided to 362 individuals in the community through the Barren River Long Term Care Ombudsman Program. 121 visits were made to long term care facilities, and 46 cases were successfully closed. 73 complaints were resolved with all complaints resolved to the residents satisfaction in an average of 18 days. 

  • 3,404 participants were impacted by the 118 Hope Harbor's Community Violence and Prevention Education programs. These programs are available for schools, churches, businesses, civic organizations, and others. Programs are appropriate for pre-school age and up. Topics include: body safety, self-esteem, sexual harassment, dating violence, rape awareness, risk reduction, internet safety, and recognizing child sexual abuse for parents and teachers.

  • The Family Enrichment Center's Little Patriot Learners served 12 kids this quarter with in home visits. 7 children also received health/ developmental screenings. When one child was asked to copy their name (a question from the Brigance Screener), they were only able to scribble and were unable to recognize letters. After three months of in home visits with the educator, the child is now able to print four out of eight letters in their name and can recognize every letter in their name. 

  • * There are currenlty 65 students enrolled with Hart County Adult Education. As of the 31st of March, Hart County Adult Education had 20 GEDs (over 80% of current GEDs are from the Hart County Detention Center). 7 students in the Hart County Detention Center have earned National Career Readiness Certificates to show workplace skills.

  • Feeding America served 1,385 students in Southern Kentucky through their BackPack Program. As a result of the generosity United Way donors, these 1,385 children now have a stable source of food on the weekends when the school meals they rely on during the week aren't available. This added source of food helps these children be healthier, have fewer absences, and be better prepared to learn.

Weston Pendel

Kenna and Matthew Pendel’s son, Weston, is enrolled in United Way’s Imagination Library and LOVES seeing his new book in the mailbox every month!  He always insists that Kenna and/or Matthew read the new book with him immediately - which they do!  Receiving a new book, free of charge to the Pendels, has helped to grow Weston’s personal library, which he will enjoy for years to come.  The Pendels believe that few activities are more important for children (and parents!) than reading, and the Imagination Library is providing kids with an invaluable foundation of excitement and love for books that will last their lifetimes.  And for parents, the memories made while snuggled up with their precious children reading and discussing new stories are absolutely priceless.

The Pendels are so grateful to the Imagination Library for all they do to spark kids' imaginations and provide them the lifelong gift of reading! 

Nnamdi Igwe 

Six thousand, six hundred and twenty miles away is Nnamdi Igwe's home, Nigeria - the land of his childhood. Nnamdi’s mother died when he was two years old, so he lived with his father and abusive stepmother Helen. He once said, “I remember the mornings she woke me up for school with the hard whip of a leather belt. I remember washing the ceramic plates, and when my tender hands accidentally broke one, she hit me continuously as I screamed and cried.”

On January 29, 2009, Nnamdi’s father died during a bladder surgery. “I remember that exact date..” he said. “It was the day I became a nine-year old orphan.” After his father's funeral, Nnamdi moved in with his grandmother. Living with her, he transitioned from a life of abuse to one of financial struggle. Nnamdi lived with his grandmother in a rural part of Nigeria; therefore, they didn’t have much. His grandmother worked very hard on her farm, growing corn and yams; Nnamdi only ate lunch and dinner each day. Nnamdi’s grandmother walked three miles to sell her crops at the market to earn money to feed them. As a little boy, her sacrifices taught him to respect women because he saw strength, love, and perseverance in womanhood.

In 2011, Nnamdi was adopted by his aunt in America. He was so excited to come to America… until he had to say goodbye to his grandmother, the only true mother he knew. On June 23, 2013, Nnamdi stepped on American soil, anticipating a new beginning.

When Nnamdi moved to the United States in 2013, he knew some English but wasn't very good in reading. He claimed to find his freshman English class quite difficult because he had to read the novel A Raisin in the Sun. Due to Nnamdi’s determination to overcome this reading obstacle, he spent 20 minutes every day reading books from any of the United Way funded agency, the Housing Authority Learning Center's, two libraries. Three years later, Nnamdi is now excellent in reading. He earned a Distinguished score on his English End of Course Assessment (the highest possible score) and a 31 on the Reading section of the ACT.

Nnamdi comes to the Learning Center after school every day. He spends 3 hours there. After having lunch, Nnamdi goes straight to the library and reads any book or novel for twenty minutes. After the twenty minutes, Nnamdi goes into the Housing Authority computer lab to work on his homework. He uses the computer to type papers for his English classes, watch educational videos on the Khan Academy website over stoichiometry and thermodynamics for his Chemistry class, and many more. Nnamdi has used this program as a resource to stay on top of his school work and maintain excellent grades.

The Learning Center has provided Nnamdi with the resources to boost his reading skills and access the internet for online educational activities. This is a way by which the Learning Center through the help of United Way increases the literacy rate of international students in the Bowling Green community.

The Learning Center Staff has never seen anyone who has portrayed the strength of human spirit like Nnamdi has. Despite his tragic past, Nnamdi is a very cheerful student. He always greets everyone with a wide smile. Nnamdi continues to use the educational opportunities in this country provided by the program to be the best he can be personally, academically, and socially. This young man has a dream and the way he constantly works hard in the library and computer lab doing his school work shows me that he has every intention to accomplish that dream of success and greatness. Nnamdi refuses to let the tragedy of his past overshadow the awesome life waiting for him in the future.

Coming to America taught Nnamdi gratefulness. Not everyone gets to escape hardships, but he did. “I do not take things for granted anymore. I cherish the people around me because I can lose someone at any moment,” Nnamdi said. “Furthermore, it is a privilege to be receiving an American education because I know its worth,” he continued. “There were not as many educational resources such as libraries and computer labs in Nigeria as there are here in America. I intend to make the best use of the opportunities here to work very hard.”

This young man's losses have sent him on the pursuit of happiness. On Monday mornings at school, when everyone looks so moody and tired, he is the vivacious one. If you were to have a conversation with him, he would be smiling the entire time; it is just who he is. He has chosen to leave his sorrows behind and move toward the brightness of life.

Nnamdi's life in Nigeria has shaped his views on child abuse as an important social issue; no child should be subjected to any form of maltreatment. Also, his determination to make the best out of an American education constantly pushes him to achieve academic success.

Nnamdi plans to attend college and major in neuroscience and behavior after graduating high school. His top college choices include the University of Kentucky and Cornell University, an Ivy League institution in New York. After college, Nnamdi plans to enroll in medical school to study neuroscience, and later become a surgeon. Nnamdi is extremely capable of attaining this dream because he is very hard working and compassionate.

Every loss and instance of abuse Nnamdi has experienced has made him who he is today. Nnamdi says, “My experience has taught me the meaning of hope: knowing there’s something better waiting at the end of bitter situations. I did not think being happy was a possibility.”