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by Michelle BennettDirector of Hands On Asheville-Buncombe Strong schools that produce successful students all have one thing in common: community support. When you integrate academics, social services and afterschool programs with community engagement, you see improved student learning, increased parent and family participation, and more time for high quality instruction from teachers. In 2012, Hands On Asheville-Buncombe and United Way’s... Read More
by David BaileyPresident/CEO Wellness is a goal we all strive for, even if we aren’t terribly consistent in our approach. Most of us need encouragement to participate in the activities that foster good health and wellness. Be it organized sports, a brisk walk each morning with the dog or some yoga or meditation, people need and wish for healthy living. I spent Sunday afternoon at Carrier Park, along with hundreds of my neighbors, in pursuit of... Read More
by Dr. Kellett Letson Our work fighting domestic violence in Buncombe County isn't over As a United Way board member I am very aware just how important our call to action is when it comes to making our community strong. You’ve seen the words: Give, Advocate and Volunteer – LIVE UNITED.  I believe in all three of those strategies and work hard to incorporate them into my life. But I’ve been doing some advocacy, separate from my official role at... Read More
by Nancy CraigSenior Manager, Leadership Giving Last May, 45 dynamic and caring women came together to launch the Women's Leadership Council (WLC) of Asheville and Buncombe County. In less than a year, I’m excited to report we’ve grown to 152 members, raising nearly $240,000 and contributing more than 200 volunteer hours through WLC alone. By connecting financial giving and active involvement, WLC lets members make lasting change for students... Read More
by Dr. Kellett Letson Safety Initiative for Women and Children At United Way we give, we advocate, and we volunteer. We believe that it takes all three of these actions to create lasting change. Last week our community saw an example of “advocacy pay dirt.” Check out this link to a recent front-page article from the Asheville Citizen-Times about fighting domestic violence with GPS-enabled ankle bracelets.David Bailey, president of United Way of... Read More
Funny how school lunches play out in different settings. Not so funny if you are the child who is denied a meal. Here are three ways schools have approached feeding children: A cafeteria worker at an elementary school in Salt Lake City, Utah threw away the lunches of 40 elementary school students after they were served, but not yet eaten. Apparently the children were behind on their payments. That’s one way to approach school nutrition programs... Read More
An Exercise in Difficulties at Many Levels Another snow day for schools means scrambling on all sides. As a parent, I would be so frustrated because I still had to get to work and now I had to figure out what to do with my children. Old enough to stay home? They would wreck the house! Need child care? Programs might open at 10, but I had an 8:30 meeting! And then, as it often happens in the mountains of WNC, by noon the roads are clear and... Read More
Do yourself a favor. Take a minute and read this article by Will Harlan, editor of Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine. Thank you Will, for such a thoughtful piece of writing but more importantly for your willingness to step outside your own circle of comfort to experience a new reality. Not many of us are able or willing to take that risk. After you read this article, take a minute to look at our investments in the area of Income - affordable... Read More
How do you decide which came first; the chicken or the egg? I’ve had multiple opportunities to debate with people in Buncombe County about which is more important to a successful life; one’s education, income or health. There are very impassioned and energetic views on all sides. There are predictors that link these three areas: Likelihood of graduating from high school goes up with higher family income; Parents’ education level indicates... Read More
Imagine a very long line of infants and toddlers standing outside, waiting to get into a building. 980 children in fact. Imagine that adults in communities across the state looked at those lines every day and the only way they could get one child out of the line was if another child was removed from the service they were waiting for. Federal Shutdown Impact When the federal government shut down a few months ago, North Carolina quickly notified... Read More

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