The United Way of Defiance County (UWDC) will officially launch its 2019-20 campaign with a focus of year-round collaborations and a goal of $335,000.

“We are well on our way of reaching our goal of impacting 60,000 lives by the end of 2020,” said Carrie Wetstein, executive director of the United Way of Defiance County. “We are able to do this by funding multiple programs in the community that work directly with Defiance County residents due to the generosity of our donors.”

UWDC is funding 31 programs for 2019-20, five of which are managed internally. By supporting the efforts of the UWDC with donations or volunteering through the Community Engagement Center (CEC), the Defiance County community plays an integral part in making a positive impact in the areas of education, financial stability, health and essential services.

Newly funded this year, The Leader in Me Family Program at Holy Cross Catholic School, provides families with the information, training and school resources which empower them to be supportive partners in the development of their child’s social-emotional learning. “The development of leadership competencies provides students and parents/caregivers with the skills needed to be lifelong learners, life-ready leaders, and stronger families,” explained Aileen Meyer, director of marketing at Holy Cross Catholic School.

Continued in collaboration with UWDC, but new to funding, are the My Plate Program by Defiance County General Health District and Mental Health First Aid by Maumee Valley Guidance Center.

The My Plate Program, offered to third-grade students in Defiance County, is a nutrition program that introduces the importance of eating from all five food groups, in addition to physical activity.

Mental Health First Aid taught by Maumee Valley Guidance Center, is an eight-hour training that teaches participants to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders. It helps provide awareness of mental health issues, decreases stigma, and prepares participants how to respond to mental health crises, such as suicidal thoughts.

Monetary donations aren’t the only way to help in Defiance County. The CEC (www.volunteerdefiancecounty.com) serves as a volunteer/donation hub of Defiance County. Community members can search and will be notified of volunteer opportunities and in-kind needs of over 50 organizations in Defiance County. The CEC has more than 600 registered users.

If anyone is interested in leading a campaign for a local company, contact the UWDC office at 419-782-3510. Through a company campaign, or individually, community supporters can support all the UWDC impact areas or designate to a specific UWDC program. For a complete list of 2019 UWDC funded programs, visit www.unitedwaydefiance.org.

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