As a health care provider, I see firsthand what happens when people lack education, finances and health care resources to meet even very basic needs. The culmination of this triad feeds a vicious cycle of poverty, dependence and even chronic disease that has evolved into a societal problem as opposed to individual hardships — and we are all paying for it in one way or another.
For as long as I can remember, the United Way has played an integral role in supporting communities and making a difference in lives nationwide, but never in my career has the impact been so visible as it is today in the Treasure Valley — particularly in my home community of Caldwell.
With a vision to “engage and mobilize the community so individuals and families have opportunities to succeed,” the United Way of Treasure Valley is focusing on multiple collaborations to expand its impact in ways that are more measurable than ever.
Last year United Way and others commissioned a communitywide assessment that has helped put more focus on evidence-based decisionmaking. The report is finished and themes have been prioritized. Already leaders are mobilizing around some of these needs and aligning resources, including money and manpower.
The Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline is a great example of collaborative-driven progress. After United Way helped organize widespread teamwork, challenges were trumped and headway was made. Now an Idaho hotline has been approved and will be operational this fall.
With problems being creatively addressed throughout the Valley, it’s an exciting time to be an engaged community member. For example, we’re seeing extensive work in education.
United Way helped start the P16 Caldwell Education Project and the Treasure Valley Education Project. Both endeavors are streamlining resources along the preschool through post-high school continuum.
Support through the annual Community Impact Campaign is what enables United Way to invest in such a wide variety of groups in so many ways. Whether through workplace campaigns, nonworkplace donations or corporate gifts, local contributors are helping improve lives. You can learn more about the campaign at unitedwaytv.org.
The Flapjack Feed is United Way’s celebration of the Community Impact Campaign, but this year’s event — 7:30 to 10 a.m. Aug. 23 in Boise Centre Plaza — is about much more than pancakes, family fun and information about nonprofits. It’s also a natural opportunity to highlight a topic very important to our community: healthy living.
The challenges we face as a community are not insurmountable if we can find a way to come together toward solutions. United Way of Treasure Valley is willing to lead our efforts and coordinate our actions in a measurable, meaningful way.
Julie Taylor is CEO at West Valley Medical Center in Caldwell and a board member for United Way of Treasure Valley. She’s also co-chair of UWTV’s 2012 community impact campaign. You can learn more about United Way’s latest work at youtube.com/user/uwtvchannel.