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Success Stories

                     

Each day United Way of Southwest Oklahoma improves the lives of men, women, and children in our community. Through the work of our 18 funded partners and their 26 programs, collectively we are addressing the critical needs in our community and providing the support and resources needed to solve these issues while creating better lives for all. Your funds stay local to help create a better tomorrow right here. Your donations to United Way of Southwest Oklahoma helps individuals in need in our community.

 

Read below to learn more about how your gift is changing lives.

 

United Way of Southwest Oklahoma Funded Partner- Armed Services YMCA Childcare Program

Saad and his military family moved here from Kuwait about a year ago.  He and his sister spoke very little English and were frightened of being in classrooms when they began attending.  A little over a year later, Saad can hold conversations in English and tells his mother he’s excited to come to school!  This sibling pair is also now learning a 3rd language, Spanish, through the circle time at the childcare center. 

United Way of Southwest Oklahoma Funded Partner-Armed Services YMCA Military Program and Services

SGT C & Jessica have 3 children.  Their youngest child, K, was born 6 months ago with encephalocele (K’s brain grew outside of her skull as a result of the skull, not closing).  K had to have multiple surgeries by specialists in Oklahoma City.  After each surgery K has follow-up visits and therapy visits with her team of specialists. These visits to Oklahoma City have caused a financial strain and worry on the family.  Supplemental giving from the ASYMCA has assisted the family with gas cards for their trips and food assistance from the Soldier’s Food Pantry.  The family is also a patron of the Soldier’s Closet, where Jessica is able to find clothing for the children (this helps supplement the ongoing cost of new clothes for growing children). She has also been able to attain needed furniture for the family, to include baby necessities.  The family also participated in the Christmas “Secret Santa” program hosted by the Soldier’s Closet, where Jessica came and shopped for toys for all three children. 

United Way of Southwest Oklahoma Funded Partner- Boy Scouts of America, Last Frontier Council Program

Be Prepared, the Scout Motto is taught and repeated at Pack and Troop meetings weekly.  In December, Scouts in a local unit were tested on their preparedness.  While entering a Scout Ceremony, a guest was injured.  While many might simply call 911 and wait for help, our Scouts jumped into action.  Senior Leaders of the Troop quickly assessed the situation and started first aid on the victim.  With the victim in good hands, older Scouts in the Troop quickly ushered the younger Scouts and guests away from the incident and calmed the crowd with story and group song.   Being prepared to administer first aid and being prepared with quick thinking to calm a crowd, our Scouts helped in a time of need and calmed the fears of many. 

United Way of Southwest Oklahoma Funded Partner- CASA of Southwest Oklahoma Advocacy Training Program

In January 0f 2018, a sibling set involving a 15-year-old boy and an 8 –year-old girl closed after over 4 years in state custody.  CASA was assigned to the case in the fall of 2016, almost three years after the children were initially brought into custody.  During their 4+ year journey through the child welfare system, these children changed placement five times and, although they were tribal, DHS did not obtain their Indian Health Care cards until this issue was brought to the court’s attention by a CASA recommendation.  For three years, the teenage boy suffered from psoriasis that had a severe and negative impact on the child’s self-esteem and while SoonerCare (state health care) was provided to the children, the medication he needed was not. With the assistance and persistence of CASA, DHS obtained Indian Healthcare cards for both children and the needed medication was obtained, effectively clearing up the condition within 30 days.  Although a skin condition, such as psoriasis, is not life-threatening, to a traumatized youth in the foster care system, this was paramount to social death.  The boy was withdrawn and anti-social, but once the condition was treated with the right medication, he became engaged both in school and outside of school.  The children were adopted by an older cousin in January of this year and both children are involved at school and doing very well, but undoubtedly, had CASA not been persistence about getting the Indian Health cards, the boy’s condition would have remained and would have had a very adverse effect on his emotional well-being. 

United Way of Southwest Oklahoma Funded Partner- Catholic Charities Family HOPE Program 

Jessica is a 19-year old, Spanish speaking, single mother of one was referred to the Family Hope program by DHS.  Upon entering the Family Hope program, the case manager works closely with Jessica to help her regain custody of her son. With the assistance of her case manager, Jessica received parenting classes and counseling services.  Additionally, she obtained permanent housing and enrolled her son in the Early Head Start program.  As of January 29, 2018, we are proud to report that Jessica was reunified with her son.  Jessica continues to participate in the Family Hope program and is well on her way to accomplishing her remaining goals. 

United Way of Southwest Oklahoma Funded Partner-Center for Creative Living Senior Nutrition Program

My name is Larry.  I live in low-income senior housing.  I have $143 left every month after paying my bills.  I spend $8 per trip for public transportation to the CCL. Unfortunately, I do not have enough money to pay for transportation to get there every day.  They helped me to get qualified for food from the Lawton Food Bank.  I didn’t even know about it and am so happy to have those benefits.  Now, that CCL has started a senior nutrition program on Wednesday, I can have a hot meal.  I can no longer cook for myself because of my strokes.  The only thing I can cook is a microwaved meal.  Most of the senior citizens I know can no longer cook a hot meal for themselves.  We are so lucky to have this new program in Lawton.  

United Way of Southwest Oklahoma Funded Partner-Center for Creative Living Health and Wellness Program

Karen brought her husband John to the Center for Creative Living because his doctor instructed her to.  His doctor wanted her to have a break and do some things for herself at least once a week.  John has dementia and was very apprehensive at first.  We had her cell number so if he seemed very agitated, we could call her to come right back.  After the first two or three visits, John wanted to come every day.  John started participating in every exercise class and many of the other classes.  John stayed with us for many months but his dementia has now become so severe he is unable to leave home.  Because of John’s success, we continue to get referrals from doctors.  

United Way of Southwest Oklahoma Funded Partner-Christian Family Counseling Center Professional Mental Health Outpatient Counseling Program 

My life has been positively impacted by the Christian Family Counseling Center.  Upon arriving here for my first appointment, I was so lost, so sad.  My counselor has shown me that there is hope for me.  I thank God for using you to help me.  I am truly grateful.

United Way of Southwest Oklahoma Funded Partner- Family Promise of Lawton Interfaith Hospitality Network Program

My family and I came into Family Promise in October of 2017 with nowhere else to go and no one else to turn to for help.  Since that time we have been blessed many times over.  Because of Family Promise’s structured program, my husband and I were both able to find gainful employment and save money to move into a home of our own.  The churches that Family Promise works with are absolutely wonderful. All of them welcomed us with open arms and fed us delicious home-cooked meals nightly.  Also, thanks to Family Promise we had one of the best Christmases ever.  I thank God for the positive impact Family Promise has had on my life.  I will not soon forget the people of this organization.  

United Way of Southwest Oklahoma Funded Partner- Family Promise of Lawton Guest Assistance Program

When I first moved out on my own after being in a shelter for a while, I found myself in need of assistance to pay my utilities.  Having never had to ask for help, I was in a bad spot, but Family Promise helped me without making me feel embarrassed or ashamed.  They were so kind and understanding.  I hadn’t been by myself in fifteen years and they taught me how to manage on my own.

United Way of Southwest Oklahoma Funded Partner-Girl Scouts of Western Oklahoma Leadership Experience Program

In November 2017, 517 girls from Eisenhower Middle School participated in Be a Friend Frist (B.F.F.) anti-bullying workshop.  The girls discussed and learned how to stop bullying and be a friend first.  They shared stories and experiences, learned how to overcome bullying and how to not bully others.

United Way of Southwest Oklahoma Funded Partner- Great Plains Improvement Foundation's C. Carter Crane Shelter for the Homeless Program

I was recently a client of the C. Carter Crane Shelter.  When I first came to the shelter, I was living in my car, had nowhere to stay and was having a hard time getting on my feet.  I was trying to get custody of my 2-year-old daughter.  The shelter accepted me as a client, gave me a roof over my head, food to eat, clothing and security.  When I came to the shelter, I felt like nowhere was safe and the shelter helped me to get some of that secure feeling back as well.  The staff was always great and would help in any way they could, would listen when you needed someone to talk to about work, housing, or anything that was concerning you.  There was always someone on staff if you needed anything, and they provided me with hygiene products and a place to shower.  By staying at the shelter, I was able to get on my feet again and get back to having my own home to live in.  They helped me look for housing and when I did find a place, they were able to help me with furniture and deposits.  The shelter was nothing like I had originally expected . . . it was a lot better.  It was more like a big family reaching out a helping hand. 

United Way of Southwest Oklahoma Funded Partner- Hearts that Care Volunteer Health Clinic MedFund Program

A senior citizen, below 200 percent national poverty level was treated for Hepatitis C, through the MedFund program that provided treatment medication (valued at over $33,000) for free.  The patient was cured of his condition in June of 2017. 

United Way of Southwest Oklahoma Funded Partner- Lawton Family YMCA Lawton High School Swim Team Program 

I was introduced to competitive swimming when I’d move to Lawton, OK from Georgia and I was being enrolled in MacArthur High School as a junior.  I wanted to participate in a unique club and swimming caught my interest.  I love to swim and this was an opportunity to take my passion to a competitive level.  That turned out to be one of my greatest decisions of all time. 

At first, I was nervous to be part of the team as I was new to both the club and to the school.  I knew absolutely nobody but I persisted in participating so that I can get to know some people.  The experienced members were very kind to newcomers, myself included.  They would give out advice about techniques to use when in meets.  Over time, I’d gradually got to know everyone and even became friends with some.  After most swim meets, everybody goes to eat out in restaurants and have a great time with each other.  I felt like I was part of a great, bizarre family full of people who can all laugh about memes and help each other out in school work. 

This golden experience has shaped me greatly, both physically and personally.  I used to be overweight.  I was a big eater and with nothing to balance my health, excess fat steadily built up.  Swimming had not only been very fun for me but it is also an efficient method of exercise. Personally, I feel an ineffable degree of joy being a part of a welcoming community, excitement going against friends and compete in meets, and taking a thing that I love to another stage.

United Way of Southwest Oklahoma Funded Partner- Lawton Food Bank Emergency Food Assistance Program 

Mr. W is a 75-year-old man living in low-income housing and struggles to survive on his social security check. With food from the Lawton Food Bank, he is able to keep this very old, compact car so that he can continue to get himself to church, pay his bills, and keep in contact with his doctor. 

United Way of Southwest Oklahoma Funded Partner-Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma Lawton Law Office Program

A single mother of two with another child on the way came to Legal Aid to seek bankruptcy.  She was not receiving any child support and was being garnished for a deficiency balance on her ex-husband’s vehicle loan due to repossession, she also had a judgment against her on a lease dispute.  The client was unable to pay rent, utilities, and buy food for her children due to her wages being garnished.  Upon the bankruptcy filing, the garnishment was immediately stopped and the client was able to discharge not only her previous debts but the debts of the marriage that her ex-husband failed to be responsible for. 

United Way of Southwest Oklahoma Funded Partner-Marie Detty Youth and Family Service Center Emergency Shelter Program

A youth was placed in the shelter due to neglect by his parents.  The young man was upset with the world and just wanted to drop out of school and sell drugs to make some money.  While at the shelter the case manager talked to him about life choices and the road ahead, making it clear the pitfalls of a life of crime.  She suggested a different route: going to Job Corp to finish school and learn a trade.  He had an interview with Job Corp after learning interviewing skills form the case manager and was accepted. He recently left the shelter and is currently successfully attending Job Corp. 

United Way of Southwest Oklahoma Funded Partner-Marie Detty Youth and Family Service Center New Directions Program

“Tina” came to the shelter with her two kids over the summer, her sixth trip to our shelter.   As with many abuse victims, Tina kept returning to her abuser after apologies and promises to treat her better.  Unfortunately, she went back one too many times and ended up with broken bones and a broken spirit.  Through counseling and case management, Tina recently left the shelter once again but she didn’t go back to her abuser.  She and her children are living in a rental house, she is employed, and is doing great. 

United Way of Southwest Oklahoma Funded Partner-Roadback, Inc. Rehabilitation and Recovery Program

I started Drinking when I was 17 and started using drugs when I was 24, and when I was 39 I made it to Roadback voluntarily.  I was literally dropped off at detox.  I did 83 days of treatment, including detox.  I got out and went into the YIELD program and into sober living at the Helen Holiday.  I was there for 6 months and then I started working part-time as an RA for Roadback and then I eventually went on to work Full-time as an RA.  After a year working as an RA, I have been hired as an administrative assistant.  I’m still working on my program and going to meetings.  I’ve been sober for16 months . . . that’s the longest I’ve ever been clean and sober

United Way of Southwest Oklahoma Funded Partner-Salvation Army Social Services Program

A couple came in need of assistance with their electric bill. Both were in tears not knowing what the outcome of their day would be or if their service would be shut off due to non-payment. Fortunately, we were able to pay what was owed in full, ultimately evading a shut off to occur.  Both were elated and thankful we could help prevent a devastating outcome.

United Way of Southwest Oklahoma Funded Partner-Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club Program

Gloria is a new member of the Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club.  She enjoys the club’s homework room where she receives help with her homework and participates in the club STEM programs.  Gloria participates as an after-school and summer member and loves the club where she has made new friends and new mentors through club staff.  She is looking forward to summer camp, cheerleading in the fall, and working with the Torch Club civic group.

United Way of Southwest Oklahoma Funded Partner-Salvation Army Shelter and Soup Kitchen Program

Shawn came to the shelter in January 2017 as a recently released felony inmate incarcerated 18 years at the age of 15.  With no real job or life skills.  Shawn stayed at the shelter 9 months working with shelter staff and supervisor learning life skills set he had never known as a youth and some job-related skills.  Shawn found employment with a felony friendly employer and also attained a second job.  The shelter set up a prepaid saving account and after 9 months he moved into his own apartment and as January 2018 he is still employed and is attending secondary schooling to learn the trade of HVAC. 

United Way of Southwest Oklahoma In-House Education Initiative- Success By 6 Program

A single mother came into the Lawton Food Bank for the emergency food program.  During her visit, her children were immediately drawn to our reading area, "Nick's Nook."  Her children happily read while she shopped for food.  When it was time to go the children reluctantly put the books back on the shelf.  Staff told the children that the books in "Nick's Nook" were a partnership with the United Way of Southwest Oklahoma and their Success By 6 Program and that the children were free to take the books with them to have to read at home.  As the children celebrated the mother began to cry. The mother told staff that this was a blessing because her financial situation did not allow for the added expense of books for her children.  Her children now visit the Lawton Food Bank with her regularly to add to their home library. 

United Way of Southwest Oklahoma Funded Partner- Teen Court Delinquency Prevention Program 

No one has hugged me and made me feel special.  Ms. Princess told me one day that I looked sand and wanted to know if I would talk to her.  I was so mad that she could see that I was sad.  I said horrible things to her and even broke some of her stuff. It didn’t’ make me less sad and it didn’t’ make her leave me alone.  Instead, that crazy lady asked if she could hug me.  I was kinda shocked and I was afraid she might hurt me.  But I let her hug me anyway.  As soon as she put her arms around me, I started crying.  I cried for hours, I think.  She didn’t hate me and she didn’t’ hurt me.  She just let me cry.  I told her all the reasons why I was sad.  She listened and shared her lunch with me.  Then she asked me what part I had in making myself sad.  I told her I didn’t’ want to talk anymore.  But the next day I couldn’t wait to see her.  My home life sucks, I have no friends, people seem to instantly hate me.  I wanted to see her to tell her that none of this was my fault.  I finally got to talk to her and she listened and smiled at me and asked me again, what part of this was my fault.  I said I didn’t know and then she told me that I needed to learn to identify my emotions and react the right way to them.  She told me different ways that I was causing the problems in my life.  I was getting angry all the time and I was using it as a way to guard myself against letting people hurt me.  She gave me a challenge.  She said to try not to get angry, and think about all the different feelings and see if anger is the right one.  She even said it is okay to be angry sometimes, but I was angry all the time.  Since she taught me about anger management, I have made two friends and I fight with my grandmother a lot less.  I still get sad but I know when I am to see if it’s my fault.  I think Ms. Princess will always be my best friend. 

 

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