Community Success Stories
Flooding Devastation

“When severe flooding began to impact areas of Northern West Virginia in July of 2017, American Red Cross volunteers did what they were trained to do – respond to the needs of those in near hopeless situations. Through two back to back weekends of rain deluge, those affected in six Northern West Virginia counties were given safe shelter, food and assistance to aid their recovery. One case had a direct connection to the United Way. A family home in McMechen was impacted by water and mud during both rain events. The family was unable to live in the house while cleanup took place. The United Way director George Smoulder and I were on an observation tour of the affected area and stopped to speak with this family. Red Cross had provided hotel lodging and financial assistance for other needs to this family. In speaking with the wife, she stated that when both she and her husband were employed, they participated in payroll deduction to United Way, but now in retirement they were unable to do that and instead had to rely on agencies like the Red Cross to help them. I explained that what goes around comes around as Red Cross is a United Way agency and that now it was their “turn” to be helped after they had helped others for so many years. She was very grateful for all we had done for her and her sick husband through the flooding.”

– American Red Cross

 

Fire Rescue

“A single mother and her two young little girls were displaced from their Brooke County home due to a fire. The clients had a place to stay with grandparents. But the affected family had other immediate needs and were issued financial assistance to assist with those needs. The family was provided  comfort hygiene kits (to save from having to use assistance money for these items). The children were given age appropriate toys and books. Disaster mental health was offered and provided to the mother. The counselor directed the family to other resources. Additional financial assistance was provided during client follow-up for new housing. Referrals for additional assistance was given for Brooke/Hancock Family Resource Network, Salvation Army, and Catholic Charities. In the final follow-up call, the client states that her immediate needs had been met and she had appreciated all the assistance that was provided by the American Red Cross.”

– American Red Cross

 

Nutrition is Key

“Ms. M, 89 years old, was a very active senior who worked a part-time job until she was 87. After being retired a few months, she became short of breath and was taken to the hospital where they found a large “saddle” blockage (blood clot) in the area that divides off into both lungs. She was hospitalized for several weeks and returned to her home. She lives close to family members who worked and could not be with her during the day. She received home delivered meals and also had Lighthouse staff who came in to help her bathe, dress, and do some light housekeeping in her home. Family members took over in the evenings and on weekends. After approximately two months, she is able to do many of the things she did before but is very appreciative for the care she received. Because of the United Way, she was able to receive the home delivered meals and enjoyed the fresh fruit and vegetables from the Let’s Fresh Start grant.”

– Brooke County Committee on Aging

"Thank you for finding her ..."

“Ms. F, 96 years old, lived alone without neighbors close to her. We delivered meals to her five days per week plus frozen meals for the weekend. Her son lives three states away. When our driver arrived with her meal, she was not in her home but her dog was outside, which was unusual. After seeing her car in a detached garage with the car door open, the driver found Ms. F lying on the ground. She was deceased but she had been alive the day before when the driver delivered the meal. Although this ended tragically, her son thanked us for finding her and staying until emergency personnel arrived. He felt she might not have been found for several days if the driver had not been concerned. He stated he had wanted her to live with him but she refused to leave her home. He called her daily but would not have called her until that evening. He said his mother enjoyed the meals and the brief contact with the driver daily.” – Brooke County Committee on Aging

 

A Warm Home and Much More

“Kayla, Jeremy, and their four children (ages 2-13 years old) have resided in our Hospitality House. Late last year, they fell on hard times with job loss and the loss of familial support. Both parents eventually found themselves sleeping in a car and trying to have their four children couch surf at various friends’ homes. However, through connections with Kayla’s cooking background, she was able to obtain a secure job as a chef at a local restaurant and hotel, and secured a housekeeping job for her husband there as well. Kayla reached out to us for assistance and we knew they would be a wonderful fit for the Hospitality House.

The home provides a warm and welcoming environment for the family to be together in as they worked toward self-sufficiency. We also provide weekly case management services that included budgeting assistance, help with establishing a checking and savings account, assistance with filling out housing applications, enrollment for their three oldest children in new schools, free childcare for  their youngest, and worked with a local organization to provide services for their 13 year old with autism. We also offer them all necessary living expenses, including food from our pantry and on-site meal service, laundry and household cleaning items, gas and bus vouchers, and any ID or prescription assistance they may have.”

 

– WV Catholic Charities

"We assured her that we would support her through anything..."

“Peter 4 years old, and his sister Ali 7 months old, are just two of the many children that walk through the doors of the Catholic Charities Neighborhood Center. Within the past year, their mother Erica, had fallen on hard times when her mother, and primary support system, had passed away and the house was repossessed by the bank. She moved into an area homeless shelter for several months. They found their way to the Neighborhood Center, and after some convincing, Erica decided to enroll in our Case Management program.

Over the course of several months, we provided the family with immediate assistance needs –diapers, formula, clothing, food, and more. Additionally, Erica set goals for her and her family and began meeting them through weekly and sometimes daily, visits with our Case Manager. However, over the course of her time in case management, Erica experienced complications from the birth of her daughter. She was in need of surgery and panicked about how she would care for her children in a shelter that required they leave a 7:00 a.m. every day. We assured her that we would support her through anything. By partnering with other agencies, we were able to secure comfortable lodging and in-home childcare for a few weeks, so that she could be with her family while she properly recuperated.

Because of Erica’s own dedication and the support of our Case Management program, Erica is now working, the family is living together in a secure and safe apartment, all while still receiving budgeting assistance and emotional support from our Case Manager. When Erica lost her mother, she felt alone and isolated. Now, she visits the Neighborhood Center often, just to check in and say hello to our staff – who she considers her adopted family.”

– WV Catholic Charities

Loving Help Provided

“Recently, a frantic son contacted us about help for his disabled father, Steve, who was living alone in Brooke County. The son, who resided in Youngstown, OH, was unable to help his father physically or financially, but hoped that Catholic Charities might be able to provide the support he could not. Because Steve was an amputee with no transportation, our Case Manager set up a home visit in order to better assist him.

Upon entering the home, our Case Manager couldn’t believe that Steve was able to live in such conditions – the house was frigid with only a single, small electric heater running. We were able to not only pay for his expensive heating oil to be replaced, we also registered him for our Home Care program to fulfill essential duties like cooking, cleaning, and personal hygiene. Steve and his son were extremely grateful for the loving help Catholic Charities provided.”

-WV Catholic Charities

“Why go back when you can just go forward.”

A year ago, seventeen year old Alexa lost her mother to breast cancer. Through her grief, she has struggled to maintain her 4.0 GPA, work a part-time job to help her family, and complete graduation requirements to attend college. On the outside she may seem like she’s holding it all together, and she was, until a friend of the family broke into her home and sexually assaulted her.  Alexa was referred to Harmony House for a forensic interview. She and her family arrived at the CAC and were welcomed at the door by the child and family advocate. He walked the family through the process and policies of the CAC and answered all their questions to help ease the anxious feelings. They completed all necessary consent forms, and the advocate worked to make Alexa feel safe and comfortable at the center. The interview specialist met with the child and enabled her to tell her story one time in a child-friendly environment. While Alexa was being interviewed, the child and family advocate provided supportive counseling, a needs assessment with Alexa’s family, and information regarding victim assistance, while they were in the waiting room. The law enforcement officer observed the interview and afterward the team met to determine the best course for the child. The therapist met with the child to complete a trauma assessment to determine the child’s mental health needs. Referrals were made for a medical examination by a Sexual Assault Nursing Examiner (SANE) to complete a medical exam for Alexa to ensure the child’s physical well-being of her allegations and did not see the need to follow up with these services. Through intensive work with the advocate, her guardian agreed to allow her to follow up with services, but on her own. Harmony House’s Child and Family Advocate provided follow-up services to Alexa by checking in regularly, explaining victim rights and ensuring those rights were being afforded to her, education her about victim services that were available, and coordinating mental health referrals. Alexa followed through with both the medical examination and therapy referral and has maintained her own schedule of therapy appointments. The forensic interview specialist tracked the case through its ongoing investigation and continues to follow-up with the investigators and prosecutor’s office regarding information imperative to the investigation and ongoing treatment needs of Alexa.

Alexa continues to work with the therapist at Harmony House regarding her trauma and is in the process of completing her Trauma Narrative. Due to her intensive therapy, Alexa could avoid being enrolled in an intensive outpatient program and is now considered a role model in her school. She was recently accepted into a local college with both academic and sport scholarships where she will study social work. It’s been a difficult journey for Alexa, but now she sees the light and holds Hope for a brighter future, one that she creates. As she has stated, “Why go back when you can just go forward.”

– Harmony House

The Unimaginable

“On a Monday morning, just after arriving at school, Danny found the courage to tell his teacher that his step-father had been sexually assaulting him for the past year. He disclosed that the last assault had occurred that same morning, after his mother left for work. His teacher reported the abuse immediately to law enforcement and child protective services. The investigative entities made an emergency referral to Harmony House Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC), a United Way agency, and an appointment was scheduled for the same day.

Danny arrived at the CAC with his mother after being transported by the children service’s worker. They were greeted by the child and family advocate, who explained the process and policies of the CAC to Danny and his mother. They completed all necessary consent forms, and the advocate worked to make Danny feel safe and comfortable at the center. Once the entire multi-disciplinary team was present, the forensic interview specialist completed a forensic interview with Danny. During the interview, Danny disclosed what he had told his teacher that morning and provided details about the many times he was sexually assaulted in his own home. While Danny was being interviewed, the child and family advocate provided supportive counseling and a needs assessment with Danny’s mother in the waiting room. It was during this assessment that the mother disclosed that she had been physically abused by her husband for the last year as well, but she never suspected he could be doing something as horrific as sexually abusing her child.

Once the forensic interview was completed, the multi-disciplinary team met with Danny’s mother to discuss the next steps that were necessary. The child and family advocate arranged for a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) to complete a medical exam for Danny that same day for the child’s physical well-being and because evidence may still be present. A medical referral was also offered to the mother due to the repeated physical assaults she had experienced by the same perpetrator, as well as a referral for services from a domestic violence service provider.

While the investigation was on-going, Harmony’s House’s Child and Family Advocate provided follow-up services to Danny and his mother by checking in regularly, explaining victim rights and ensuring those rights were being afforded to them, educating them about victim services that were available, and coordinating mental health referrals for both. The forensic interview specialist tracked the case through its entirety and assisted the investigators and prosecutor’s office with information imperative to the investigation.

Due to the strength of the case and the evidence that was obtained, the perpetrator decided to accept a plea deal that was offered to him to spare the victims from testifying at a trial. A sentencing hearing was scheduled, and Danny and his mother decided they wanted to read victim impact statements aloud during the hearing. Both came back to Harmony House, so the child and family advocate could assist them with writing their victim impact statements and prepare them for the hearing.

On the day of the sentencing, Harmony House staff was present while Danny and his mother stood in front of the courtroom and their perpetrator and read how their lives were changed and damaged due to the crimes committed against them. Doing this provided them a sense of empowerment and closure at the end of the case. Danny and his mother were also assured that Harmony House would be available if they had any needs in the future.”

– Harmony House

Easing a Heavy Burden

“The flu season in the winter of 2017-2018 was not just the usual nuisance, it was record breaking. Everywhere you looked, from the news to social media, it was filled with stories of how dangerous this flu season has been, causing several deaths. Most likely almost everyone you know had been knocked down by this year’s strain.

Our local area was saddened by the sudden death of a six year old autistic girl. This tragedy left her family devastated. As if that was not enough pain to endure, just a few days later her father suffered a major stroke and was hospitalized and transported to Pittsburgh, PA where he had to undergo emergency surgery.

The mother of the deceased child and wife of the debilitated man found herself lost. Her husband was the breadwinner of the family while she played the important role of mother and housewife. With her husband hospitalized and no longer bringing in any income, the bills were mounting. On top of that stress she had the daunting task of planning and paying for her daughter’s funeral. Grieving the loss of a child, worrying for the healing of her spouse, and juggling the household responsibilities all fell on this poor woman.

Two of the family’s neighbors came to Information Helpline in search of any available assistance for this grieving family. We were able to give them a gas voucher to take the wife to Pittsburgh to be with her husband during emergency surgery. We were also able to partner with YSS to assist in paying the family’s utility bills. Information Helpline paid the $700.00 electric bill to stop disconnection of services while YSS paid the gas and water bill – $852.00 total.

Through these small acts of kindness, Information Helpline was able to help ease the heavy burden in some way for this family in their difficult time of loss.”

– Information Helpline

Transportation Mobility

“At Russell Nesbitt Services, Inc., a variety of ages, diagnoses, and skill sets are served. However, as the years go on, we are finding ourselves serving an aging population in a society in which there are limited services for someone that is both aged and developmentally disabled.

Within the past year, we have seen two of our clients drastically decline in health and mobility. Currently, one client continues to be able to walk with the assistance of his walker and staff, however, he is expected to continue to decline in his ability to bear his own weight . The second client became very ill and, after a week in the hospital, discovered that he was completely unable to bear his own weight even with assistance.

Russell Nesbitt Services, Inc. purchased equipment for his home so that he could remain in our care for as long as possible, as he had already been with is for twenty three years and had become more like family that one of our clients. A bedside commode, Hoyer Lift, and hospital bed were purchased and placed in his home to assist with his daily care. However, because he was unable to bear any weight it was impossible for him to get into our vehicles to be transported to medical appointments or to be able to go out into the community.

After several discussions with the Board of Directors, Russell Nesbitt Services, Inc. was able to purchase a handicap accessible van. United Way funding assures that he is able to go to all of his medical appointments, including essential weekly wound care to address pressure ulcers that were obtained during his stay in the hospital. Additionally, the client can still go out into the community to enjoy the things that he used to—such as Pizza Hut’s buffet and shopping with his staff. The handicap accessible van will also be utilized for our other clients as they decline in health and mobility to ensure that we are always providing the best services and striving to improve quality of life as much as possible.”

– Russell Nesbitt Services

Life Saving Transportation

“At Russell Nesbitt Services, Inc. we serve the intellectually and developmentally disabled population, however, there are many times in which the clients are faced with severe medical diagnosis. Recently, one of our clients was diagnosed with Atrial Fibrillation and RVR (rapid ventricular rate), and the client was admitted to the hospital for three days. When both of these medical conditions are experienced together, the patient may undergo a rapid or fluttering heartbeat, chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, or may even lose consciousness.

Less than a month later, this client was admitted to the hospital again with increased cardiac enzymes, congestive heart failure, and Atrial Fibrillation. Doctors were unable to get the client out of Atrial Fibrillation and were forced to conduct a cardio-version, which is an electric shock designed to convert a rapid, fluttering, or ineffective heartbeat back to its normal rhythm.

This client was then referred to a specialist at Ohio State University Hospital in Columbus, Ohio because there were no doctors in the Wheeling, WV area willing to perform a heart surgery on the client due to increased risk. It was discovered that the client has leaking aortic and mitral valves in his heart and also has severe blockage. Since this referral, the client has been to Columbus on six different occasions and can expect return trips in the near and ongoing future.

Without United Way funding, these trips would not be possible due to the financial limitations of the client as well as the inability of Medicaid’s Title XIX Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities Waiver to pay for services over thirty miles outside of the state border. These trips are very necessary for the client’s sustained life as the continued leaking of the valves and Atrial Fibrillation could result in cardiac arrest and possible death.”

– Russell Nesbitt Services

Advocate in Time of Need

“LM experienced many difficulties in her journey to healing and SAHC was there each step of the way. LM was sexually assaulted by a former romantic partner of hers during a college party. Her friends, upon hearing the news, immediately took her to the hospital to have a sexual assault forensic exam done. Unfortunately, the first two hospitals in the area she went to did not have a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE), nurses who have received specialized training to complete these types of exams. Upon her trip to the third hospital, she was finally able to see a SANE, at which time SAHC was contacted to provide hospital advocacy for LM. At this point, she’d been seeking medical attention for several hours and was exhausted with the process. SAHC was able to provide on-site crisis intervention service, in addition to referrals for follow-up care.

After the SAHC advocate reviewed all options with her, LM elected to press charges against her perpetrator and began the lengthy investigation process with law enforcement and the prosecutor’s office. Additionally, because she feared for her safety, LM decided to seek a restraining order to protect herself during the adjudicatory process and beyond. The existing judge that oversees this process was planning to retire and therefore his docket was well booked up at the time that LM sought this restraining order. She was compelled to appear to argue her case several times and face her perpetrator in the waiting room, only to find that the judge needed to push back the hearing each time. After this happened on six separate occasions, she began to lose hope in the judicial process. The SAHC advocate was able to refer LM to Legal Aid of West Virginia to obtain a lawyer to represent her through this process to allow for more complete advocacy on all fronts.

The SAHC advocate remained with her through this four month long process, during which time she only had an emergency restraining order, not one that was permanent. Supportive counseling and advocacy was provided through the entirety of the process, including discussions with her school and employer to seek arrangements to get counseling for her with SAHC’s contractual therapist without her being penalized for missing days. Finally, four months after her assault, she was ultimately granted a permanent restraining order and did not again have to appear in court or face her perpetrator each time she was called to reappear.

She will still face challenges in the future as she goes through the prosecutorial process, but she remains hopeful with the help of SAHC and the many resources provided to her in our community.”

– Sexual Assault Help Center

Consistent Support Base

“RS was a victim of familial rape when she was a teenager at the hands of her father and uncle. She had kept most of her past a secret from everyone she’d met and had experienced four decades of flashbacks, nightmares, and mental health issues from never having dealt with her trauma from the abuse. When the #MeToo movement came about, she ultimately decided that she would seek help and wanted some type of support or counseling, but that she was too nervous to do so in-person. She began calling SAHC’s 24/7 hotline when she had a flashback and either a staff member or dedicated volunteer advocate were able to provide her with crisis intervention over the phone. We realized her severe trauma when she was calling several times per day just so that she wouldn’t need to be alone with her thoughts and flashbacks. In addition to the support provided by staff and volunteer advocates, we were able to arrange appointments with SAHC’s contractual therapist to provide more intensive therapeutic sessions so that she had the most assistance we could offer her.

She is now several months into her treatment plan and no longer calls the hotline number multiple times per day. She does maintain her weekly appointments with the contractual therapist so that she doesn’t regress, but she is on the path to healing after repressing her issues for the majority of her life. She has a long way to go, but it is fulfilling to know that she is no longer controlled by her trauma and that she feels she can manage the issues she has without spiraling out of control. Having a consistent support base from SAHC has contributed to this immensely and we look forward to continuing with her through her healing.”

– Sexual Assault Help Center

Utility Assistance

“An elderly lady came into the office with tears in her eyes. She was nervous and embarrassed about asking for help. She said her electric was about to be terminated and she didn’t know what to do. She said she called the electric company and asked if they would wait until she got her check. They told her no the bill had to be paid. I told her everything I needed to do an application. She said she had everything in her vehicle. She went and brought all the paperwork to me. I did the application process, pledged the money and assured her we had taken care of the bill. Again, if it wasn’t for the United Way’s funding, The Salvation Army couldn’t help those in need in Marshall County.”

– Salvation Army of Marshall, Wetzel and Tyler Counties

A Well Needed Pit Stop

“There was a family that came to us to stay in our shelter. There was a mom pregnant with twins and 6 kids. They came to us by domestic violence, of course with that large of a family we had to move some individuals around and put them all in Dorm 4 to keep them together as a family. The children all went to local schools so we made sure they got to school, they stayed with us for close to two months, in that time we were working with other agencies to help her get bus tickets for her and her children to go to Colorado. Her father had passed away and left her a five bedroom house, a new car, and money in the bank to help pay the bills for up to 5 years. She and her family is living in Colorado and doing well. Sometimes God puts pit stops in your life to make you realize that he is always with us and never leaves us, even in our most dire times in our life. The Salvation Army helps thousands of people a year get back on their feet and find their way in life. When you give to The Salvation Army you are helping change a life.”

– Salvation Army of Wheeling

Employment and So Much More

“We had a case worker refer a client to us back in 1992. He still is an active client and employee of The Seeing Hand. This client resides in Rayland, Oh with his mother because he needs supervision and care. He is totally blind and has been since he was about 8 or 9 years old. He was diagnosed with retinal disease which caused massive scars in the retina. He also has other developmental disabilities and only completed school to the 7th or 8th grade. He does not have a GED. He states due to his problems he was placed in Special Education. He further has a diagnosis of depression which is very common among blind people.

He cannot recite his address or telephone number and keeps the information on a piece of paper in his wallet. Additionally, he cannot tell his right hand from his left hand.

Given the fact that he does not use any assistive technology and his capabilities are very limited it is quite the challenge to employ this person. Prior to his employment with us he worked unloading trucks at the Goodwill in Steubenville. The unemployment rate among individuals who are blind with additional disabilities is 90%. This client is blessed because he found employment with The Seeing Hand .

He has been with us for 25 years and really has never been productive. Because a large part of our mission is employment we have created many simple tasks for him to complete over the past 20 plus years. Although the tasks kept him busy he really was accomplishing very little. That is until now!

Our fire extinguisher project is designed to secure employment for our workers. Once the extinguishers are filled and processed through the hold stations they need to be cleaned. We thought this would be a good job for the above client. At first we had him removing old stickers and washing down the canisters. However, removing the stickers proved to be too difficult of a task for a totally blind person. We then partnered him with a worker with limited vision. She removes the stickers and then he cleans the product. This has worked out very well.

The benefit to his involvement with the project is he now belongs to part of a team. He plays a valuable role in the success of this new service. It has been a difficult journey because he was not used to being pushed or driven for results. For the first time in 25 years he has a list of essential functions for his job. He now has gone from being a challenge to employ to having a purpose. This new project has given him job security and new skills. This is a win for The Seeing Hand and for him.”

– The Seeing Hand Association

Angel Volunteer

“About a year ago we had a gentleman stop into our agency looking for volunteer opportunities. He is an educated adult who has a degree in economics. He lives in the Elm Grove area of Wheeling with his wife. He is both visually impaired and hearing impaired. He worked many years in the field of computer engineering. He came to see us because he was losing his sight due to macular degeneration. This is the most common eye disorder in the aging population.

He was frustrated because he was used to being very productive and felt with his disability he was no longer very productive. He wanted to know if we could use a volunteer and how he could help. We are always looking for new volunteers so it was decided he could help in our workshop one day a week. He enjoys woodworking and stated here helping to repair chairs that needed caned.

We were very blessed to have him as a volunteer. He quickly stepped up to support fundraisers and whatever needs arose in the workshop. We thought he would be a great addition to our staff and offered him a job. He agreed to take it but only wanted to work one day a week.

In the past six months he has helped us move forward with our new project of refilling the fire extinguishers. We had a few employees who were trained for the project who later resigned. This left us in a difficult situation because visually impaired people who want to work are hard to find. However, he agreed to work two or three days a week, as needed, to help get the project running.

He has taken the lead and is doing an exceptional job. He spends half of his day working on the caning of chairs and half of his day filling the extinguishers. He is handy with tools and this is a great job for him.

The greatest thing about knowing him is his positive attitude and sunny disposition. He just makes The Seeing Hand a nicer place to be. He now has a purpose and reason to get out of the house. He makes a little money and contributes a valuable skill. He will always have a job with us and we hope he works for many years to come.”

 

Earl

“Earl is a 59 year old male who resides in Wheeling with his sister and her family. He has been employed with WATCH for 24 years. He has impaired vision, but it is corrected by wearing eyeglasses. He does communicate verbally, but his speech is difficult to understand due to poor articulation. When he becomes excited about something he tends to stutter. He also can become easily frustrated if you do not understand what he is trying to tell you.

Earl enjoys talking and joking around with staff and his peers. Although he is a hard worker and always willing to help, he does have a short attention span. Staff at times have to redirect him and remind him to focus on his work.

Earl relies on WATCH or his sister for transportation daily to and from work. Through his years employed with WATCH, he has rarely missed work and has proven to be very reliable and dependable.

Earl works on many different contract jobs at WATCH. His favorite job is working in the greenhouse. WATCH and Nicky’s Garden Center have collaborated to plant and grow flowers for Watches Greenhouse, Grow. Clients go to Nicky’s 2 to 3 days per week and have been preparing soil and planting seeds for flowers. He is very proud of the work that he accomplishes and makes sure to tell everyone that enters WATCH how hard he works.

WATCH provides many meaningful employment opportunities for the individuals with disabilities with the goal to integrate these individuals to work in the community. These different employment opportunities have helped Earl to gain confidence in himself and the work that he has accomplished.”

–  WATCH – A Division of Russell Nesbitt Services

 

Suzanne

“Suzanne is a 57 year old female who resides in Wheeling with her sister and brother-in-law. She has been employed with WATCH for 11 years. She is diagnosed with Mild Mental Retardation and becomes easily frustrated and agitated at times.

When she sees you, she automatically will say “Good Morning,” ask how you are doing. She will always give you a hug to let you know she is happy to see you. She is very personable and enjoys telling you about her day. She enjoys receiving praise from staff for the work she has accomplished.

WATCH transports Suzanne to and from work every day. She has a positive attitude and strong work ethic which helps make her successful with her job. Suzanne works at Liberty Distributors gluing and stapling boxes for windows. She works diligently and sets goals for herself to complete more work than she did the day before.

She has also worked at the WATCH center with the bulk mailing process and packaging screws. No matter which job she is working, she excels and is dedicated to the completion of the job.

WATCH has provided Suzanne with meaningful employment opportunities and she works hard to achieve her own personal goals. She has gained more confidence in her work, especially from having consistency in her daily routines.”

– WATCH – A Division of Russell Nesbitt Services

Dental Patience Inspires Growth

“Chuck has been a patient of the Wheeling Health Right dental clinic since its inception in fall 2016. Through the year, he has had most of his teeth extracted; yet in his early 50’s he is still a productive worker and wants to maintain his health and dental health. He signaled Wheeling Health Right’s new phase of dental need – after extraction, now restoring mouths with dentures and partials to allow proper diet and aesthetics necessary for good self-esteem. Chuck’s case prompted us to begin work with the WVU School of Dentistry’s prosthodontia department to explore creating dental prosthetics for patients who want and need them.”

– Wheeling Health Right

FARMacy

“Beth had health care coverage until she was 18 years old but lost coverage when she left her parents’ home. By the young age of 24 after receiving no preventive health care for several years, she was struggling with obesity, pre-diabetes, high cholesterol, hypertension, and depression. Beth heard about Wheeling Health Right and skeptically called to inquire about services. Finding that she qualified, she made and kept an appointment with the clinic and immersed herself in all the resources that were offered to her, including counseling and by participating in FARMacy, our prescriptions for produce program. Within the year, Beth found that she felt dramatically healthier; she had lost 50 pounds, her cholesterol and blood pressure had normalized and her blood work no longer showed signs of pre-diabetes. She is living a happy, productive and healthy life.”

– Wheeling Health Right

"I stopped going to the doctor because I couldn’t afford it."

“When Bill, a recently elected city official turned 26, he aged out of his parents’ health insurance policy. He kept getting sick with multiple ailments. “It was one thing after another and bills started racking up so I stopped going to the doctor because I couldn’t afford it. I chalked it up to just getting older.” He eventually found himself with two abscessed teeth and a severe sinus infection. Bill visited Wheeling Health Right shortly after his election win, because the clinic resides in the ward he represents. During his visit, he jokingly mentioned his abscessed tooth. “In a matter of minutes, I was in the dental chair with a diagnosis and an appointment with an oral surgeon. The entire time I was there, I kept thinking to myself that this was the most compassionate group of folks I had ever met.” Bill has since become a primary care and dental care patient of Wheeling Health Right and is proud to recommend the clinic to others. “I face the same struggles as 95% of people in my ward. I am very relieved on a personal basis to have care available to me that I know I can trust. But now as a councilman, it’s my pleasure and honor to be able to advocate for Health Right, or to refer people who need dental or primary care to them. This clinic is a true asset to our entire community.”

– Wheeling Health Right

 

"We Will Never Turn Any Child Away..."

“I was approached in February, 2018 by a grandmother of 4 children, she informed me her daughter and son-in-law lost the custodial rights of the 4 children and she has been granted custody. She expressed to me she was on a limited income and had to work every day to make ends meet. Being a working parent with 2 children of my own at half her age I immediately felt sympathy for this lady. She said, “Mr. Brian, I have to work to support my grandbabies but I have nowhere for them to go this summer and I can’t afford to put 4 children in daycare.” She said, “ I will volunteer for the YMCA as much as I can just to help offset the cost, I don’t want or expect anything for free but any financial aid you could spare would be greatly appreciated.” I knew immediately she was in a big bind. The YMCA’s motto has always been we will never turn any child away for the inability to pay. I told her let me see what I can do for you! I took her phone number and the next day I returned her call and gave her the news she was hoping for. I told her I will allow those children in for free. She instantly replied in a sobbing voice, “Please don’t kid me for free?” “Is this for real for free?” I replied it is our pleasure to help such a fine lady like yourself and if you still want to volunteer for us we would love to have you! She said just let me know how I can help you! Since that phone call from me informing her the children may come for free she has come down to the YMCA almost every Saturday or Sunday to help clean our facility and since she is such a wonderful person and the kids are so grateful we also provided them with a family year membership so they always have a place to go and be a family!

The financial assistance we receive from the United Way and other allies of the YMCA help us continue to help those in need and continue to impact children’s lives one day at a time!”

– YMCA Wheeling

Out of His Shell

“A parent came to me before the program and stated she didn’t have enough money to allow her child to participate in my program but informed me her son could really use a program like this, she informed me her son had very low self-esteem, was overweight, and had a very hard time in school making friends, not to mention he was diagnosed with mild Asperger’s. I saw this as an opportunity to make an impact on a young teen’s life that could really use an uplift. I decided to waive the fee for this young lady as I could see she was desperate and really wanted what was best for her son. When I told her I would waive the fee for her son she began to cry and say thank you so much, are you serious? I saw the weight of the world lifted off of her shoulders knowing she had a great place to bring her child. I asked her if she could bring the young man in so I could meet him soon. The mom replied, he is in the car would you like to meet him now? I said I sure would. The young man came in and stood behind his mom and looked at the ground. I introduced myself to him and he just waived his hand abruptly and mumbled, “Hi.” I spoke to him for several minutes explaining what the club was all about, he didn’t say a word but by his brief eye contact I could tell he was interested.

The first day of the club arrived and the young man was hesitant to come into the YMCA. I went outside to greet him and brought several other club members who were in the club the previous year to help make him feel welcome. I decided to go back in the YMCA and see how things would transpire with kids his own age actually talking to him. Approximately 5 minutes later the young man came in with the other club members. I noticed he was talking and even saw a few smiles from the young man. When it was time for the club members to introduce themselves to the group, I could see the young man getting very nervous, once again. I did not want to intervene I wanted to see how this would all play out. One of the club members stood up and said hey guys this is “Blank” let’s all give him a warm welcome. The boy immediately smiled and stood up and said hi to everyone. To make a long story short, this young man is on the honor role at his middle school now. He lost 20 pounds and he is going out for the football team in 2018. This program since the very start has impacted many young people’s lives. This is one of the many stories of how the United Way and other area businesses financial support has helped create such wonderful programs that have a strong impact on our youth and community.”

Mentoring

“Breezie and her sister, Kabreya were matched with their mentor, Vania in April 2014. They were 10 and 8 years old, respectively. The girls lived with two older sisters and their grandmother, Beverly, who was raising them. At the time of the match, the girls’ mother was not in a position to keep them and their father was incarcerated. Beverly would get overwhelmed at times, and wanted them to be matched with someone whom she could trust, and who would be good to them.

The primary reason that Beverly wanted Breezie and Kabreya to have a mentor was because that would provide her with someone who could help the girls, “to do things that their family isn’t able to do.” Beverly saw the potential in the girls since they were good students and were interested in participating in extracurricular activities.

There have been many activities that Vania, Breezie, and Kabreya have done together; some have become traditions. They have gone to the circus, out to eat, to the movies, they have participated in a paint class at the Centre Market, had a Easter and Valentine’s party at Vania’s home, made crafts together, and they scrapbook memories of what they have done together. Breezie and Kabreya spend Christmas Eve with Vania’s family, who consider the girls part of their family also. The girls even helped decorate for Vania’s shower.

Vania has been a very dedicated mentor, even through some trying personal times as well as working shiftwork in her job as a nurse. She has given birth to a premature baby and also had to take care of her ailing father. Even though she knew that she wouldn’t be able to see Breezie and Kabreya for a time, she would call and assure them that she wouldn’t forget about them. They understood the reason they would see her less, and treasure the times they do get to spend with Vania. According to Beverly, the girls always want to buy presents for “their little sister” (Vania’s baby). Their relationship is very solid and loving.

Beverly has come to rely on Vania. Once, one of the girls got into some trouble at school, and Beverly asked Vania to talk with her. Vania took her out to dinner and discussed some coping mechanisms that could be used in the future. Also, Kabreya has had some medical issues due to a congenital heart issue and has to undergo surgery in Morgantown. Vania, who is a pediatric nurse spent time with Kabreya there. She was invaluable in explaining to Beverly some of the medical procedures and terms, and calmed and encouraged Kabreya. Beverly feels that Vania has been a godsend to her grandchildren.”

– Youth Services System

Before Care Program

“One family that uses our Before-Care service is a teacher for Marshall County Schools, and her husband works the midnight shift.

They have two children that attend Before-Care, so Mom can make it on time to do morning duty at her school, while Dad is finishing up the night shift. The mother commented that the program is really helpful on days that there are two hour delays because she still has to report on time for her school. One of the children is prescribed allergy shots that are $450.00 monthly and they are on a tight budget. The children enjoy the program so much that even on dad’s day off, they want to come to Before-Care.

Parent’s Comments:

‘The Before-Care program at Elm Grove Elementary, provided by Youth Services System, is invaluable to my family; not only does it allow me to get to work on time without worrying about finding a high priced private babysitter, but it provides a warm and safe environment for my children. I have two children that attend Before-Care four days a week for two hours a day. To most children, an extra two hours of school might be a nightmare, but not for my children. Those first two hours are their favorite. The main reason for this is Miss Linda and Miss Sonia. These two wonderful women open their hearts and make my children and all children feel welcomed and loved. They start our day with a smile and are always willing to help. Without this program and these women we would be lost. Before-Care has become something my children look forward to, and a service that is near and dear to my heart.'”

– Youth Services System

"My friend had a bad reaction to a syringe of heroin and died in the car..."

“I was 16 when I started smoking pot with my friends. It quickly escalated from pot to different drugs. I tried cocaine and didn’t like it, but pain pills and heroin (now there is a drug) were more my speed. Pain pills are easy to get without much trouble, heroin is a little harder (only a little) to get. So my drug of choice was heroin.

The one thing that you don’t believe when you start is that it will change your entire life. You truly become stupid and do things that you would have never believed yourself capable of, and I don’t just mean selling yourself (that’s really the easy part) it’s truly the other situations that you find yourself in that today seem unreal and almost as if it was a different life or a movie.

On one of those stupid days, I agreed to drive to Texas to pick up some heroin and bring it back to my home town in exchange for some of the heroin. Well, I wasn’t going to Texas by myself so I took a friend who I liked to party with. On our way back, my friend had a bad reaction to a syringe of heroin and died in the car. I was caught.

I got arrested but eventually let out till my trial. Four months later I went to federal prison with a six year sentence, I was 24. My life, my good life, was over. Today I own that I messed up. My family is not to blame. My parents did what they could. I was my own person and made my mistakes all by myself but they suffered. Today I know that, then it was all about me and what I wanted.

I spent 3 years, 7 months and 6 days in jail. I joined the EDAP program for addiction and recovery while in prison and learned a lot. While in prison, I lost two friends to drug overdoses and was not able to go to the funerals. After I was released, my favorite cousin, who I partied with all the time, died of an overdose and I wasn’t able to go to his funeral either.

I am in the YWCA WIND Program. The only reason that I got out of prison in three years was because I did what I was supposed to while in jail and then I applied to the YWCA, was interviewed and accepted in the program and now I am working on my recovery. I missed so much. I am trying very hard to do the right thing. I’ve heard that three of my friends went back to jail since I have been in Wheeling. That will not be me. They have a recovery coach who helped me get a job, has taken me to all of my doctor appointments. One of the requirements of the program is to go to 90 AA/NA meetings in 90 days. They offer transitional housing for an additional 18 months after the 6 month program if I want it or need it. I don’t know what I will do when that time comes but I am sure that I will be clean. The support offered in the WIND Program is what has kept me clean. I won’t be one of the girls that go back to jail for using (at least I hope not).I am taking it one day at a time and with the support of the YWCA WIND Program, I think I can make it.”

-YWCA Wheeling

"My life has been affected by addiction. "

“My life has been affected by addiction. I am currently facing felony drug convictions. I am living without my children. I even get treated differently at the hospitals because I have substance use disorder. My mother has taken on the role of full-time grandma, and cares for my four children. My children are growing up without me right now, and don’t deserve to not have their mother around because of drugs.

However, I am trying to change my life and move in a positive direction. I moved into the YWCA as a self-pay and am attending meetings with the WIND Program, thinking that when I go to court things will work in my favor. I have changed my environment, including who I hang out with, where I spend my time, and what activities I allow myself to be around.

I gain inspiration on my toughest days from my kids and my boyfriend Kyle. One of the things that keeps me going is knowing that once I have stable foundation with my recovery, I will be able to have my kids back. We will be able to be a family again. I think of how far I’ve come and how many people I have to prove wrong. I am going to be someone someday. The kind of thinking allows me to stay positive, no matter what the situation.

One thing that I have learned on my journey to recovery is that not a single soul on this earth is invincible. We all can become victims of the disease of addiction. Substance use disorder is not prejudiced, by any means.

There are a few people I would like to mention, and give praise to for their help with my journey, the ladies in the WIND Program. They are the most admirable people that I have ever had the pleasure of being around. Although they each have their own stories, I have gained strength from listening to them and sharing their journey. The WIND Program pushes me and others to do more, to see things and opportunities that we have closed ourselves to. The hours of listening and support, transportation, food and clothing, and a bed to lay in, a room to call my own.

I put my family through hell the last year, but they never gave up on me. The YW family has worked to help hold me up when I was sad. They have helped restore my hope that there will be a tomorrow. If I could tell them one thing, it would be : thank you for everything that you have done, continue to do, and will do in the future for me or another woman needing help.

I hope my court hearing goes well and that I don’t have to spend much time in prison. I am truly hoping that since I joined the WIND Program I will get some grace. But I will serve my sentence and when released will once again apply to the WIND Program and work to get my children back. I hope they forgive me one day.

If I could enact one law in the United States, it would be to make all substance use treatment centers affordable and available to any individual, regardless of their background or income level. The moment that they say to themselves they are done living a life of insanity, and want to get on a path to recovery they should have access to help. All facilities would offer the same programming, prevention, and therapies. We all deserve the same level of respect, care, and opportunity. We all deserve a second chance at life in recovery.”

 

– YWCA Wheeling

"Doing the Most Good"

“It was evening time and everyone was cleaning up from our shelter dinner. A phone call came in from the Marshall County Sheriff’s office asking us if we had a room for a single mom and her family. We told them yes we did. A few minutes later a deputy brought a very young mother and her two infant/toddler children through our door. We welcomed them all into our shelter as we always do.

Complications with identification, birth certificates, and social security cards were just the beginning to our challenges. The mother was fleeing from an abusive relationship, the children had lice and the mother seemed to have scabies. Where do we begin? We began by feeding the family dinner, they were starving! The next step was to wash all their clothes and have them bathed. We treated the family for lice and the mother was brought to the emergency room for treatment. As far as their identification, it took us weeks to straighten this out because one of the children was born in Italy.

After a couple of months, we finally were able to get housing for this young family. On Christmas Eve 2017 they moved into their new home. When there was nowhere to turn the authorities and this young family found refuge at The Salvation Army. Our slogan is “Doing the Most Good,” and that is what our goal is to do with everyone who seeks our assistance.”

– The Salvation Army of Belmont County