The United Way of West Georgia held their 2012 campaign kick off luncheon Thursday at the West Georgia Technical College’s Callaway Conference Center.
The event was well attended and the organization highlighted the importance of the volunteer throughout the 125 years that the United Way has been working in American communities.
United Way staff members greeted visitors and displayed materials were on hand from some of the different programs that the United Way supports.
United Way of West Georgia’s Board chairman Charles Sweat gave the opening remarks to the event. He invited Pastor Adam Camp from Rosemont Baptist Church to offer the invocation and District Scout Executive Adam Lean to lead the Pledge of Allegiance. Executive Director of United Way of West Georgia Patty Youngblood then acknowledged and thanked the agencies who partner with the United Way. Youngblood introduced the agency directors and thanked them for their continued support and the wonderful work that they do in the community. Sweat then returned to the stage to continue the program.
After thanking the members of the United Way board of directors, Sweat offered a vision of the local community. “I truly believe that 99 percent of the residents in our community share a similar vision of what our community strives to be: welcoming, caring, vibrant, inclusive, cooperative, enriching, safe, and educated,” stated Sweat. He explained that through service and volunteering, a community is able to strive towards this shared vision.
Merry Market is a weekend holiday shopping extravaganza that directly funds early learning programs in our area. Stephanie Preston, the organizer of this fund raiser and a strong advocate of early learning, gave a short report on this event. Last year’s Merry Market resulted in a net gain of $13,000 with 100 percent of it returned to the community to be used in early learning programs. Preston said that this year’s Merry Market is scheduled to take place at the West Georgia Technical College from 5-8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 18. It will continue on Oct. 19 from 9 a.m. to 7p.m., and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Oct. 20. Tickets for this event may be purchased at the door or at Hutchinson Traylor Insurance agency.
Preston stressed the importance of, “creating a community where all children have the ability to grow and become productive members of society.”
Sweat then introduced this year’s United Way Campaign Chairman Robby Burch and invited him to the stage.
Burch is responsible to lead this year’s campaign to raise the money that is needed to fund the agencies that serve our communities. Burch briefly reviewed the progress that the United Way movement made during the past 125 years. He then focused on the service and commitment that individuals here in the LaGrange area have given since 1957, when the United Way fund appeal began in this area.Burch said, “the United Way is all about people. People who are in need, people we support, and people who volunteer.”
Burch announced that this year’s campaign goal, in celebrating the 125th Anniversary of the United Way, is $1,125,000. Burch ended the program by thanking everyone for what they have already done, and in advance, thanking everyone for what they are going to do to help the United Way of Western Georgia meet this year’s goal.
It was also announced that there will be a special training scheduled for the United Way Campaign Coordinators on Sept. 25. If your company is interested in sending a representative to this training session, please contact the United Way’s office at 706-884-8292.