READINGPALS VOLUNTEERS NEEDED FOR 2022-2023 SCHOOL YEAR

READINGPALS VOLUNTEERS NEEDED FOR 2022-2023 SCHOOL YEAR

Give students individualized attention and the best likelihood of success

United Way of Lee, Hendry, and Glades is recruiting volunteers for the United Way ReadingPals program to read with PreK to 2nd graders at 12 school sites in Lee County. 

ReadingPals offers volunteers an opportunity to build meaningful relationships with young children, while helping them improve their social-emotional development and early literacy skills.  The program provides mentors to positively influence students’ understanding of the fundamental building blocks of reading.  Children who are read to are more likely to become good readers.  Children who read at grade level by the third grade are four times more likely to graduate from high school. 

Volunteers commit to one hour a week during the week and throughout the school year.  A short training will provide all the necessary tools and materials.  Volunteers are needed at the following participating sites: Bonita Springs Elementary, Colonial Elementary, Edgewood Academy, Franklin Park Elementary, J. Colin English Elementary, New Horizons Estero, Pinewoods Elementary, Villas Elementary, and all Lee Health Medical Child Development Centers – Cape, Gulf Coast, HealthPark and Lee. 

The program is supported by the Children’s Movement of Florida in 15 United Ways.  To learn more, contact Nancy Coker at NancyC@UnitedWayLee.org or 239-433-7544. To register, go to UnitedWayLee.org/readingpals/

In addition to raising funds for human service organizations in our community, United Way promotes partnerships and collaborations among agencies and initiatives, helping them to work together focusing on issues and solutions that continue to improve lives. 

UNITED WAY OPENS NEW HOUSE IN CAPE CORAL

UNITED WAY OPENS NEW HOUSE IN CAPE CORAL

United Way announces a new United Way House in Cape Coral.

United Way Houses serve as links in providing human services to people who need them in the counties served by United Way Lee, Hendry, Glades, and Okeechobee. The United Way Houses provide space for agencies to reach clients who may not be able to access services outside of their neighborhood or near their work. Many resources are available in a single location.

At the new Cape Coral United Way House, there will be several of United Way’s partner agencies to provide different services to the community.  The lead agency for the Cape Coral United Way House is SalusCare. Other partners include Cape Coral Caring Center, Goodwill Job Links Service, Hope Clubhouse, Multiple Sclerosis Center of Southwest Florida, The Salvation Army, The Literary Council Gulf Coast, and Legal Aid Self-Help Center.

For more information, visit www.UnitedWayLee.org.

City of Cape Coral Employees Help Refurbish SalusCare Facility During United Way Day of Caring

City of Cape Coral Employees Help Refurbish SalusCare Facility During United Way Day of Caring

City of Cape Coral employees volunteered for a United Way Day of Caring at SalusCare’s Cape Coral facility on Cultural Park Boulevard.  In addition to SalusCare’s offices, the building will serve as a United Way House.

United Way Houses bring multiple agency services to a single neighborhood location. SalusCare will be the lead partner agency, but additional agencies will provide services to clients who visit the Cape Coral United Way House. 

“The volunteers from the City of Cape Coral were one of the most amazing and hard-working groups I’ve ever seen!  They began painting right away, took pride in their work and enjoyed each other’s company.  You could see that this was a group committed to making life better for the residents of Cape Coral.  We are so grateful for their efforts in helping us re-open the Cape Coral United Way House,” said Todd Cordisco, Vice President, Public Relations and Development at SalusCare.

“We love volunteering!  We love to give back to our community with the United Way.  Painting the inside of the building and catching up with co-workers that we don’t see on a daily basis was fun!  It’s great comradery for us,” said Wendy Ward of the City’s Finance and Risk Management office.  

“We love to give back not only in monetary donations but in hard work.  The City employees represented the City Manager’s Office, Department of Community Development, Parks & Recreation and Risk Management.  Thank you for giving us the opportunity, and we are looking forward to the grand opening of the facility.  We will see you at the next volunteer opportunity.”

“A sincere thank you to the employees of the City of Cape Coral for their enthusiasm and hard work refurbishing the space for the United Way House,” said Cliff Smith, President of the United Way of Lee, Hendry, Glades, and Okeechobee.

Additional projects are coming up in the near future such as painting the exterior of the building.  Volunteers can contact the United Way Volunteer Center at (239) 433-7567 for more information. Other volunteer opportunities are listed on the United Way website at www.UnitedWayLee.org/Volunteer.

The United Way’s Day of Caring is a year-round program, coordinated by the United Way Volunteer Center which matches businesses’ desires to help with the needs of the community. Many local groups and companies have participated such as Publix; Scotlynn USA; T3 Communications; Markham, Norton, Mosteller & Wright PA; and Lee County Tax Collector’s Office.

UNITED WAY VITA TAXATHON GENERATES $100,645 IN SAVINGS & REFUNDS

UNITED WAY VITA TAXATHON GENERATES $100,645 IN SAVINGS & REFUNDS

United Way of Lee, Hendry, Glades, and Okeechobee launched the 2019 tax season with its second annual “Taxathon.” This is a 12-hour free tax preparation and filing event designed to help families who may qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Care Credits.

United Way’s Taxathon was held for individuals and families whose household income was $66,000 or less as part of its mission to bring improved financial stability to the community. 

While IRS trained volunteers provided free tax preparation, clients were also able to visit a variety of agencies that offered financial services, voter registration, and affordable healthcare counseling.

Agencies and vendors present to assist clients included: BB&T Bank, United Way 211, Staywell Insurance, Lee County Elections, and Florida Rural Legal Aid.

The 12-hour Taxathon statistics are as follows:

  • 35 VITA Volunteer Tax Preparers and Assistants
  • 70 Clients
  • $79,945 in Refunds
  • $20,700 Saved in Tax Preparation Fees (average $300 per return)

“By holding this Taxathon, we are helping many low-income working families who anticipate receiving tax refunds and want to file early,” said Mary Meador, VITA volunteer trainer and site coordinator. 

“This 12-hour event ensures that more people can be served with high-quality free tax assistance.  It also means people will be able to keep more of their hard earned money because they won’t be paying $300 or more in tax preparation fees.  Households receiving large refunds are often getting the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and are encouraged to save a portion of it.”

According to the Brookings Institution, the EITC is the nation’s most effective anti-poverty tool, moving 6.2 million people out of poverty every year. 

This year, the maximum credit is $6,444, and eligibility is determined by family size and income.  According to the IRS, one in five Taxpayers eligible for the credit are not claiming it.

United Way of Lee, Hendry, Glades, and Okeechobee provides free tax filing services at 15 sites in Lee, Hendry, and Charlotte Counties to individuals and families making less than $66,000 per year.

More than 170 IRS certified volunteer tax preparers are staffing the sites this year. Returns are filed electronically, making tax refunds available as quickly as from commercial tax preparing companies.

United Way VITA services will continue through the tax filing deadline of April 15. 

Taxpayers can locate the most convenient VITA site for them, and schedule an appointment by visiting the United Way website at www.UnitedWayLee.org/FreeTaxPrep, or by calling United Way 211 by dialing 2-1-1 or (239) 433-3900.

Last year, 5,000 local individuals and families were able to utilize this free tax preparation service, with many receiving the earned income tax credits and other available credits resulting in $6.7 million in refunds coming back to our five-county region.

If the taxpayer has access to a computer and would like to file their own taxes free of charge, United Way can help with that too!  Log on to www.MyFreeTaxes.com. It’s simple, fast, and secure while offering online assistance with the process. 

The United Way of Lee, Hendry, Glades, and Okeechobee has raised over $167 million since it was established in 1957. For more information please call United Way of Lee, Hendry, Glades, and Okeechobee at (239) 433-2000 or visit www.UnitedWayLee.org.

UNITED WAY EARNS PERFECT SCORE FROM CHARITY NAVIGATOR

UNITED WAY EARNS PERFECT SCORE FROM CHARITY NAVIGATOR

United Way of Lee, Hendry, Glades, and Okeechobee has received a four-star rating and perfect overall score of 100 percent by Charity Navigator.

Since 2002, using objective analysis, Charity Navigator has awarded only the most fiscally responsible organizations a four-star rating. To receive a 100 percent rating, charities must execute their missions in a fiscally responsible way while adhering to good governance and other best practices.

United Way of Lee, Hendry, Glades, and Okeechobee has earned a perfect score for financial health, accountability and transparency.  Less than one percent of the thousands of charities Charity Navigator rated have earned the perfect score.

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