Sunbeam Family Services, a United Way Partner Agency, offers a variety of programs which help to build strong families. Its advocates visit local apartment complexes to inform tenants of their services. It was one of these visits that introduced Amber to Sunbeam’s life-changing programs.
Amber was pregnant when Lisa, an advocate, visited her apartment complex and suggested the expectant mother’s program. Together they set goals and worked on a plan to achieve them.
A few months later, Mariah was born. The mother and daughter remained in Sunbeam’s home-based program. As Mariah grew, Amber wanted her to interact with other children and learn social skills.
Sunbeam’s Educare opened in July 2009, providing an excellent learning environment for young children. Amber was on disability, which made paying tuition nearly impossible. However Lisa helped to find a way for Mariah to attend the center.
With her daughter at Educare during the day, Amber is able to attend GED classes and search for a job. Mariah has thrived at Educare. She is not as shy as she once was; and she interacts well with the other children. This early start is giving Mariah skills to become a successful kid and giving Amber time to obtain an education.
United Way is committed to supporting programs that provide individuals and families the resources to achieve financial stability as well as access to counseling, education, and job training. By focusing on Strong Families and partnering with organizations like Urban League we are creating a better life for all.
After 23 years behind bars, adjusting to society was difficult for Marion. His brother worked with the Urban League of Greater Oklahoma City and informed him about the After Prison Work Initiative. The workforce program, funded by the United Way of Central Oklahoma, provides assistance for former inmates who are getting their lives back on track.
A month after being paroled, Marion attended job training at the Urban League. He learned how to properly fill out a job application and create a resume to help highlight his skills. Working in commercial cleaning at night left Marion’s days open. Through training at Urban League, he was able to find a job with a local construction company. Marion is dedicated to his recovery and continues to work two jobs to keep him occupied and out of trouble.
With the support of his family and the Urban League, Marion has been able to change his life. He stated, “The Urban League helped me have a smoother transition and I am surrounded by positive people who have my best interest in mind.”
Marion continues, “The program and the sponsors behind the program are a beautiful thing. They offer people like me- people incarcerated for a long time who get out and have no direction- a way to get out and change their life.”
When asked what he would say to a United Way donor, Marion said, “You’re giving to a beautiful program and it is helping a lot of people. Please keep giving.”
Calm Waters Center for Children & Families, a United Way Partner Agency, provides support for children and families whose lives have Mark and his three young children attended Calm Waters’ grief support program, twice.
Their first visit was effective, but as time passed Mark’s son developed some behavioral problems. Mark turned to his case worker at Calm Waters who encouraged him to attend the program again. The second time was an eye opener for Mark, he was more open to the program and he learned how to better communicate with his children.
The Calm Waters program changed Mark’s life and helped make his family stronger. Mark remarried in June and is excited about this new beginning.