July 2023 e-Newsletter
Volunteers Build New Playground at Oakdale Elementary
After three days of hard work and with the help of more than 90 volunteers, Oakdale Elementary School in Waukegan now has a magnificent new playground! We are amazed by the dedication of our volunteers and excited for the students to enjoy this new space.
“It was a great pleasure to have United Way of Lake County join forces with so many volunteers to build our new playground,” said Catalina Quiñones-Nelson, Principal at Oakdale Elementary School. “United Way recruited volunteers from the Chicago Bears, ITW, Trustmark and the Waukegan High School football team to get their hands dirty and assist with the playground build, working alongside Oakdale teachers and families. Playgrounds provide an opportunity for students to improve cognitive, physical, social and emotional well-being skills. Students collaborate with each other as they develop decision-making skills and use their imagination to play creatively. We are very grateful for United Way’s partnership and look forward to our continued collaboration.”
In addition to the playground, community volunteers came together to honor the memory of a teacher by planting beautiful flowers in the courtyard space outside of her classroom. This gesture of remembrance and respect reflects our strong bond with our educators and their lasting impact on our lives.
We appreciate the selflessness and compassion demonstrated by these amazing volunteers. Their hard work and commitment have made a significant difference in our community, and we are immensely grateful.
Now Available: Kindergarten Readiness Calendars
Our 2023-2024 bilingual Kindergarten Readiness Calendars are now available! They are free, a great resource for families, designed for preschool-age children and filled with activities to help families get ready for the first day of kindergarten.
You can place an order to pick up calendars at our office using our online order form. Pickups are available by appointment, Monday through Thursday, 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., at our office (330 S. Greenleaf St, Gurnee, IL).
You can also view and print the monthly pages and activities on our website.
Don’t Miss Your Chance to “Stuff the Bus”
There’s still time to participate in Stuff the Bus! Help us ensure more students start school this fall with the necessary supplies. You’ll be helping prepare them for their academic studies, build their self-esteem and set them up for success. Through August 15, you can donate school supplies, make an online donation or help spread the word.
We are very grateful to the many individuals, companies and organizations that have already donated and volunteered to create hundreds of backpacks for local students.
Women of Color: United in Leadership
Women United is proud to build a strong professional network of women of color through our leadership program, Women of Color: United in Leadership. This program helps professionals to develop their authentic voice and unleash their full potential while connecting with a diverse community of like-minded women who share aspirations, experiences and commitment to community service. Through expert guidance, we dive deep into leadership strategies, effective communication, and personal growth and development.
If you or someone you know would be interested in joining our next cohort beginning this fall, let us know by emailing Jessica.Ceisel@uwlakeco.org.
Watch the video below to learn more about the program from women who participated in our first cohort.
211 is Here to Help in Times of Crisis, Disaster and Every Day
United Way of Lake County’s 211 helpline is a critical service available for all 714,000 Lake County community members in times of crisis, disaster and every day. CBS Chicago recently aired a 30-minute special about last year’s shooting in Highland Park and how the community has shown its strength and resilience to help survivors move forward. United Way of Lake County was highlighted as an important partner and our 211 helpline has been integral in connecting survivors with information and resources.
Watch the segment below featuring an interview with Gale Graves, our Vice President of Community Impact, speaking with news anchor Irika Sargent.
Introducing Sophia Cotton, 211 Manager
Please welcome Sophia Cotton, our new 211 Manager! Sophia brings a background of both direct service delivery and program management in nonprofits and is familiar with the health and human service landscape within Lake County. Over the next few weeks, Sophia will be concentrating on building a foundation of understanding of how 211 works, program goals and measurement, community needs and gaps in resources, and of course, digging into our comprehensive data. She has already started meeting with key partners and volunteers.
Our priorities continue to be on increasing awareness and utilization of 211 while expanding the many health and human service providers and resources within the database. We are currently focused on identifying key 2023 initiatives.
In Loving Memory of Stacy Boison
Stacy was a beloved and irreplaceable member of our United Way family since she joined in 2019 as Finance Manager. She brought so much light and joy to those around her. Stacy will be dearly missed and forever in our hearts.