Speak United

Survive & Thrive: A Tale of Two Parents

May 24, 2017
Kish Cumi

Kish Cumi

40203 Project Coordinator
Metro United Way

Blog_Kish_1.jpgI recently met two parents. One had a "thrive" mentality. The parent who was thriving was intentional in her parenting and purposeful in her choices for the social emotional and academic growth of her children. She homeschooled her children and was astute in her educational and extracurricular planning for each one of her children. They had access to unique resources, and her children were able to live comfortably as their family income was in the top 2% in the nation. She was optimistic about the exponential growth and excitement for learning that she noted in her children.

The other parent I met had a "survive" mentality...


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Tina: 30 Years Impacting Our Community through Volunteering

April 12, 2017

Tina Hood

Director of Volunteer Services,
Boys & Girls Clubs of Kentuckiana

BLog_TinaHood_2_edit.jpgAt the age of 12, I joined the Portland Boys & Girls Club and my great future started there. As a Club member I participated in many programs, met some near and dear friends, received guidance from some great mentors and started my volunteer journey with the 4-H Club. The Portland Boys & Girls Club was always a safe place to go after school to meet with friends, participate in group clubs, sports activities and art. After high school graduation I aged out of the Boys & Girls Club program but always made time to stop by and spend time with the staff members and Club kids. On one of my visits I learned that an arts and crafts position was vacant and I eagerly applied. That is when my 30 year career began with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Kentuckiana.

During my 30-year career I have held many positions within the organization (Art Instructor, Program Director, Unit Director and Director of Operations) that have allowed me to have a positive impact on many young lives. My current role as the Director of Volunteer Services is definitely my favorite. When I began this chapter in my career, I quickly reached out to Metro United Way because the Boys & Girls Clubs of Kentuckiana has been a long-standing agency partner.


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The Barbershop = A Place for Strengthening Families

March 07, 2017

J. "Divine Cuts" Alexander


I've been a barber in the Louisville community for 21 years and am currently the owner/operator of Haircutz! and The Campus Barber Shops. I also created Urban Barbers of Louisville where we "restore the professional image of the barbering community by altering your outer appearance to enhance your inner confidence." On the first Monday in November the past three years, we have celebrated Barbers Day of Louisville that Mayor Greg Fischer officially proclaimed in 2014. On this day, we recognize barbers who have years of service in our community.

Although the core base of Urban Barbers of Louisville focuses on serving the African American community, we are willing to partner with any organization that's willing to help reach our youth.

This is why we're excited to be part of Metro United Way's Books and Barbershops initiative where we encourage children in our shops to read and have greater self esteem, self love, and self interest in oneself. This also gives young men and boys an opportunity to engage with positive black male role models about the importance of literacy and goal setting.


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One Little Number. So Many Reasons.

February 20, 2017


Most everyone knows to call 9-1-1 in an emergency and they will be helped with dispatched police, fire or medical responders if necessary.

But did you know there is another three digit number to call in non-emergency situations that is a free and confidential service that helps people find the local resources they need 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year?

It's 2-1-1.

Every day people across our community turn to 2-1-1 for information and support - whether financial, health or other challenges, often for the first time. It's a confidential referral and information helpline, website and app that connects people of all ages to the essential health and human services they need.

The caller is connected to a resource specialist who can put them in touch with organizations that provide critical services that can improve - and save - lives...

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Mentoring - Just Being There Is Enough

January 18, 2017

Matt Bowman

Physical Therapist
Agility Health

I know it sounds dumb sometimes but when people ask me why I mentor I say "because I can." Same as when people ask me why I run..."because I can." I think to me that means that every one of us has the ability to mentor. Mentoring is just your story shared with others. But just as important, it's their story shared with you. It's not trying to fix someone...it's just listening. It's showing someone that life is about opportunity. No matter what decisions you've made in the past, or will continue to make in the future, you always have opportunity.

Personally for me, I get the opportunity to mentor young boys, most of whom do not have a father or consistent adult male in their life. I lost my father to cancer when I was 27, so I have lived a large portion of my life without a father. I didn't ask for it, just like the boys I mentor didn't ask for their fathers to not be present in their lives. Mentoring gives me the opportunity to go through life with other sons just like me. We learn from each other.


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Mentoring Provides our Youth Purpose AND Success

January 11, 2017
Pashens L. Fitzpatrick

Pashens L. Fitzpatrick

Woman, Christian, Attorney,
Mentor, Sister, Child, Friend

HSGrad_Mentoring_edit.jpgWhen asked why I mentor children, for me the answer is simple - It's a calling, so how can I not?

At an early age, my parents put my siblings and I in several different activities to expose us to new people, different cultures, and family lifestyles. For me, being active and involved made all the difference. Organizations like the Girls Scouts, Black Achievers, church choir, and many other youth groups shaped who I became, gave me purpose, fostered in me a love for being with and helping others, taught me commitment to others, and gave me personal fulfillment. It is my strong desire to share that with the kids I mentor.

Today many children simply do not have purpose. They sit at home unfulfilled and bored because many parents today do not understand the importance of social and educational enrichment and for their child to be a part of something. They do not get the role this plays in teaching compassion, as well as getting their kids into college and on the path to a successful future.


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It's an honor to introduce myself

January 03, 2017
Theresa Reno-Weber

Theresa Reno-Weber

President & CEO
Metro United Way



Dear Metro United Way Friends and Family -

Happy New Year!

I am truly honored to be writing to you as Metro United Way's new President and CEO, beginning today! As we head into 2017 and Metro United Way's centennial year, I wanted to take a moment to introduce myself and say thank you to each of you for your continuous support of Metro United Way. Without you, Metro United Way would not be in our community doing such necessary and impactful work.

Throughout my life and career, I have been driven by a desire to positively impact the lives of others. I have been fortunate to follow a path that has allowed me to do that in a number of settings: from my earliest beginnings as a Girl Scout Gold Awardee, to protecting our borders and the lives of others as an officer in the United States Coast Guard, while developing effective strategies for non-profits and federal agencies to scale their impact as a consultant with McKinsey & Company, and to most recently creating a nationally recognized city office focused on delivering better services to individuals across Louisville...


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A Mentor's Passion: "I'll do anything for the kids"

December 29, 2016

Jacob "Da Specialist" Robinson

Elevating Stylez Barbershop


B&Bevent2_edit.jpgThe barbershop has always been a place in the neighborhood where everyone can be themselves, we communicate freely and discuss current events, issues and solutions. When children visit me for a haircut, I ask them questions about life, school, and we discuss the importance of making good decisions. Over time we build a relationship and trust. Barbers' roles as community mentors are huge because young men look up to us!

A few months ago I heard about Metro United Way's new Books & Barbershops (B&B) initiative. This was around the same time that I was planning an event to provide free back-to-school haircuts for kids. I learned that Books & Barbershops is a partnership with barbers in the community that provides a bookshelf with books for children; the idea of a reading space in my barbershop was a perfect fit for me, because "I'll do anything for the kids!"


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Warmest wishes for today and the New Year

December 19, 2016
Joe Tolan

Joe Tolan

President & CEO
Metro United Way



Dear Friends,

In this season of celebration and near the start of a New Year, I want to extend to you both my warmest holiday wishes and my sincere thanks for your past support.

The end of December also brings my retirement from Metro United Way. I'm humbled and honored to have led this organization for 15 years, connecting a dedicated group of individuals and organizations to work together to improve lives and help solve community problems.

I've been fortunate to experience the rich differences among the counties in Kentucky and Southern Indiana that we serve and the caring community members who work hard to improve them. Those perspectives have given me a deep respect for the people who serve in all of our partner organizations and those who support us through their generosity in donations, like you, and with dedicated volunteer time and efforts...


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Volunteer this Holiday Season - to Help Others and Yourself Too!

November 28, 2016

The holiday season is here - and with it are opportunities to spend time with family, take days off work and, often, a greater sense of wanting to help those in need. So the holidays should be a great time to volunteer, right?

Actually, volunteering ANY time of year is a great idea and makes its biggest impact year round. But, if you are motivated to volunteer this holiday season, we have a list of great opportunities for you to give back to kids and families in our community - HOLIDAY VOLUNTEERING OPPORTUNITIES


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