(May 12, 2016) - The 2015-2016 chapter of WKU’s Student United Way set a goal at the beginning of the school year to raise enough funds for a community grant to be made to a United Way of Southern Kentucky (UWSK) affiliated program by the end of the school year. Through a variety of fundraising efforts over the past year, most notably a Cornhole Tournament in the Fall of 2015 and an on campus yard sale titled “Bargains For A Benefit” in Spring of 2016, WKU’s Student United Way raised enough money to award a grant in the amount of $1,000.

All WKU Student United Way Executive Board and General Members were invited to be a part of the group’s Allocations Committee to determine where the dollars would be granted. The Executive Board members of the organization were provided with a document outlining UWSK’s category focus areas (Education, Income, Health, and Safety Net) and a list of the corresponding programs that fall within each issue area. After discussing the issues, the group chose to focus on the area of Education: College and Career Readiness to review grant applications for potential funding.

In April, the three program applications within the area of Education: College and Career Readiness - The Boys and Girls Club’s Great Futures State Here program, Housing Authority’s WROTE After School & Summer Academic Enrichment Program, and Junior Achievement of Southcentral Kentucky’s Future Prepared: Ready-For-The-Workforce Program - were made available to the students to review prior to a group discussion. In early May, 11 students, under the guidance of Andrew Rash, WKU Coordinator for Leadership & Volunteerism and Keshia Ingram, UWSK Donor Relations Manager, met to discuss the three applications. Debbie Hills, UWSK Interim President and CEO was also present at this meeting to lend her experience and knowledge to the process as well as answer any questions that the students had related to the applications or programs. Hills provided a non-biased viewpoint with clarity and understanding of the applications and programs as the students were not able to perform site visits or ask questions of the agencies which are typical with UWSK’s annual allocations process.

After a thorough review and discussion, the president of WKU Student United Way led a group vote to determine which program to recommend for funding. By majority vote, the group elected to provide funding to the Housing Authority’s WROTE After School/Summer Enrichment Program.

Established in 1996 as part of the non-profit arm of the Housing Authority of Bowling Green, W.R.O.T.E., Inc. (We’re Reaching Out to Educate), provides very low and low-income children the extra help they need to overcome their circumstances and succeed at education and life experiences.  W.R.O.T.E., Inc. provides both after-school and summer programming serving public housing residents, those within a one mile radius, and those referred by both the Warren County Public School and Bowling Green Independent School districts.  Programs are targeted for students in grades kindergarten through 12th, in a positive and safe learning environment to develop the necessary tools to increase academic performance, leadership, and lifelong learning.  After-school and summer programs provide educationally-focused programming to reduce individual risk factors.  W.R.O.T.E., Inc. students receive specialized academic and social skills training in group sessions and one-on-one to help reduce indicators of academic and social failure.

Members of WKU’s Student United Way gathered along with United Way representatives and local media at the Housing Authority of Bowling Green on May 12th for the official check presentation. The 2016-17 chapter of SUW is planning to participate in a similar process in the upcoming school year.

For more information on how you can make the choice to LIVE UNITED through giving, advocating and volunteering, log on to the United Way of Southern Kentucky website at www.liveunitedtoday.com.  

United Way of Southern Kentucky (UWSK) is a local, independent, non-profit organization that works to identify and address the issues that matter most, change conditions and improve lives. The mission of United Way of Southern Kentucky is to be the leader in bringing together the resources to build a stronger, more caring community. United Way is focused on the building blocks for good quality of life – Education, Income, Health and Safety Net. Therefore, the vision of United Way is a Southern Kentucky where all residents are educated, healthy, and financially stable. Incorporated as a charitable non-profit entity in 1956, UWSK has long served a major role in the community by bringing people together to create opportunities that make a measurable difference in the quality of life for people where they live and work.