By Amie Sites Pharos-Tribune
---- — An annual campaign rally for United Way of Cass County revealed a new goal and theme as the campaign kicked off.
The Friday afternoon event revealed a vision, theme of hope and a goal of $650,000, about the same as the previous campaign goal, said Dave Ameen, the 2013 campaign chairman.
When Ameen started thinking about a theme for 2013 United Way campaign, he thought about people who had helped him in the past. At the rally, Ameen urged people to do the same and pay it forward.
“One thing you can do for someone is give them hope,” Ameen said. “As we give people hope, the community will continue to grow.”
The event at Cross-Wind United Methodist Church allowed business and community partners to share campaign ideas, recognized pacesetters and explained why funds are raised.
Those who attended were asked to share their idea of what hope means on a piece of paper in the shape of a leaf. Some of the ideas included “a better tomorrow,” “empowering people to believe in themselves” and “optimism in a better tomorrow.”
The ideas were then added to a tree constructed by Paul Linback, of Steinberger Construction. The tree will be housed in the United Way office until Monday when it will move around for different campaigns.
Guest speakers also addressed those gathered and the new campaign video was introduced.
Jason Mitchell, executive director at Emmaus Mission Center, spoke about the community partnership with United Way. He mentioned that because of the addition of the Cass County Resource Network, agencies can work together and get to know more about each other.
Rena Sterrett, Reading Railroad director, talked about school readiness and the fact that without United Way the program Begindergarten wouldn’t be possible. And if the program weren’t available, she added, the 84 children who attended the program this summer would have begun kindergarten underprepared.
The speakers described ways United Way helps the community and fun ways to raise money during the campaign to help agencies.
“I hope it makes the community think about who has helped them in the past,” Ameen said. “It could have been a teacher, pastor, anyone. You can pick yourself up with help.”
Live United Day this year will be Sept. 20. To volunteer or get involved in the campaign, call 574-753-3533 or visit www.unitedwayofcasscounty.org.
Amie Sites is a staff reporter at the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at 574-732-5117 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you go: WHAT: Live United Day WHERE: Various Cass County locations WHEN: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 20 INFO: Call 574-753-3533 or visit www.unitedwayofcasscounty.org