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Success Stories


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 partner agencies, in-house education initiative, and their 28 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 Partner- Armed Services YMCA Military Outreach Program

When we arrived at Fort Sill, I was in culture shock.  It was my first time away from our friends and family and I didn't know how to meet people.  When I found out about the Soldiers Closet, I thought it would be a great place to get some things for my son, but what I found was so much more.  Both my son and I look forward to going to the Soldiers Closet, not only for the clothes, but for the friendship and comradery that has developed between myself, the volunteers, and the other shoppers!

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

Dakota was attending a family July 4th party at his grandmother's house.  During the part, his cousin, Emmah, began to choke on her food.  Dakota heard the commotion and ran to help. Dakota was able to perform the Heimlich maneuver and Emmah was able to breathe again.  For performing an act of service of rare or exceptional character that reflects an uncommon degree of concern for the well-being of others, Dakota was awarded the Medal of Merit through the National Court of Honor of the Boy Scouts of America.

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

I would like to say thank you for allowing me to stay at Carter Crane, I am very grateful.  My experience here was great.  There were times when I wanted to give up so I prayed about it and then talked to one of the staff members and they made it better.  Here at Carter Crane, they helped me in so many ways, they helped me with resources that I never knew about like buses, employment, housing, and medical help.  The staff here welcomes you with open arms.  Sometimes it might seem like they are being mean, but it is only to make you strong, they are helping you to get on your feet.  I always say no matter where you go there are rules.  I never thought I would have to go to a shelter, but I thank God that it was Carter Crane.

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

A sibling set made up of a teenage boy and girl were removed from their foster home when their foster mother became terminally ill. During the next DHS foster placement, the brother became withdrawn to the point that the new foster family did not feel that he could continue in their home.  After yet another foster care placement it was discovered that the brother had some physical ailments that were going untreated because Soonercare did not cover the medication needed. The appointment of a CASA advocate allowed for the brother to get not only the counseling he needed but the medication as well. CASA also assisted the siblings in getting their tribal ID cards.  After 6 months of a CASA worker becoming involved, the siblings are well and have adjusted to their new permanent placement.  

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

Mary was referred to Catholic Charities through our partnership with Columbia Square Apartments.  Mary had been applying for jobs without any luck of being hired and was desperately trying to support her two young daughters.  Once enrolled in the Family HOPE program, the case manager and Mary were able to identify her personal strengths.  She began setting short-term goals that would be obtainable but would not overwhelm this single mother.  By utilizing community resources and persistence, Mary was able to find a job in the field of her passion, as a chef.  She currently maintains a job at a small prestigious restaurant in her community.  Her case manager was also able to assist Mary in applying for a scholarship, on behalf of her daughters, to attend St. Mary’s Catholic School where the children continue to thrive.  Mary is now a self-sufficient role model for her daughters and continues to flourish and utilize the skills she acquired participating in the Family HOPE program.

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

John is Navy veteran who was diagnosed with dementia and early onset Alzheimer's.  Karen, John's wife, brought him to visit the Center for Creative Living in January 2016.  Karen was apprehensive about leaving John here for a couple hours but she really needed some time to run her household errands and some time for herself.  The first time she left John he was afraid, apprehensive, and had a panic attack.  The second time, Karen stayed a while and we toured the facility and explained in detail all the classes he would benefit from.  The next time, while she was gone, John visited with several of the patrons and was made to feel at home.  To Karen's astonishment, when she returned, John was participating in a men's exercise class.  She was elated to see him interacting and exercising. And John is no smiling from ear to ear as he comes to the Center for Creative Living twice a week. Today, when Karen pulls into the driveway, John hopes out of the car and runs into the building.  He loves coming here.  One day John will no longer be able to come to the Center for Creative Living . . . but until then, he will be happy and fit. 

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

I am very appreciative of the ones who have made it possible for me to receive the help I need for my past abuse and current life problems.  I feel like I'm better off than when I first walked through these doors.  I thank everyone, especially my counselor, for all of the help!  I hope that when I'm able to afford it, I can continue counseling and donate so others can receive the same kind of help I am receiving. This is my safe place and I am very thankful. 

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

Family Promise was the glue that held my family up.  Our success as a family was falling apart.  Family Promise was our new start. They pushed us to work hard for what we got.  Family Promise was probably our only shot.  They gave us a place to stay, a bed for our heads to lay.  The churches we stayed at gets credit also. They showed us the importance of a family.  They taught us how to appreciate each other more.  Family Promise is a great organization. They brought us to a realization. 

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

19-year-old diabetic male, recently off Sooner care (aged-out), and had been stretching, borrowing insulin.  This young man was days away from serious medical complications until he discovered our clinic while talking to a friend.  The clinic was able to provide him an emergency supply of insulin and supplies to sustain him until he could get entered into our system.  The patient is now on a regular regime.  Had he not found us, he would have ended up at Comanche County Memorial Hospital with serious medical issues.  The clinic possibly saved this young man’s life.

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

"Tom" was on disability.  He came to the Lawton Food Bank fairly regularly for food.  His knee replacement surgery was finally approved.  He was quite excited as he was hopeful the new knee would make it possible for him to exercise more and consequently lose weight.  The surgery was successful.  He lost 40 pounds, making it possible for him to cut back on the medication he was taking. 

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

My name is Deven. I have been on a swim team since I was five years old. I have been swimming at the YMCA pool, in Lawton, Oklahoma, since I was six years old. I couldn't be where I am today without the YMCA pool.

The impact the YMCA pool has had on me is tremendous. Swimming is going to be my way into college. Without the ability to practice at the YMCA I could not have become the swimmer I am today. Without the YMCA pool to practice at, many other swimmers would lose that opportunity as well. I swim for Eisenhower High School’s swim team and I’ve won multiple state championships. This year other swimmers on my team have the opportunity to go to state and share the accomplishments. Each year many swimmers join the team and see the opportunities the sport beholds.

I want my teammates and future swimmers to have the ability to take part in the best sport. Swimming is not a well-known sport. Although, the people whom swimming effects, love it. Swimming programs cannot exist and flourish in Lawton without the YMCA pool. The high school swimmers of Lawton, depend and rely on this facility. I hope you understand the degree to which the availability of this pool affects my future and many others’. It is important that we have funds that allow us to use this facility and continue a Lawton swim program. Every sport matters, so please don't forget about the swim team.  

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

Our 35-year client applied for Supplemental Security Income from the Social Security Administration.  He was diagnosed with chronic myelogenous leukemia and type 2 diabetes which was insulin-dependent and out of control and resulted in diabetic neuropathy.  Pain included chronic jaw pain, hip pain, abdominal pain, severe diarrhea that required adult diapers, open lesions on his hands and body, and depression.  His treatment plan was oral chemotherapy.  We represented the client at an administrative law judge hearing and were able to obtain a fully favorable decision including a back payment of over $14,000.00, monthly payments in the amount of $735.00 and medical costs.

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

I came to the shelter with my two kids after finally deciding I couldn't take any more abuse from my boyfriend.  The staff helped me file a restraining order against him and now I'm in the process of looking for a job.  We are still at the shelter and so very grateful for a place to run to.  My kids and I finally feel safe. 

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

Roadback has caused me to feel better in so many ways.  They are a really good support system. They were there for me, they care, everyone, there has a big heart and they help carry your burden. 

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

A client needed help with rent.  The manager of the realty company did not want to give him the 30 days.  We contacted the owner of the reality and they agreed to go along with him.  He brought me a card and a poinsettia.  In the card, it read, "You don't know how much this means to me.  You helped me save my home." 

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 Partner- Teen Court Delinquency Prevention Program 

"Sometimes the smallest thing, whether it be a person, place, thing, word, comment, or suggestion; whatever it is that you cross paths with can change the way you live your life." This quote was written on a picture drawn by a student who participated in one of our education classes.  She explained that all of the above things were used during the Turning Point classes to change the way she lives her life.  I cannot explain the precise moment of change for this young girl, but I can tell you that she has been a revolving patient at a behavioral center for self-harm, felt she had little to live for and had no faith in her decision-making skills due to a long history of bad choices. Since completion of the course, she contacts me periodically.  She still struggles, but she has quit cutting herself, is no longer using illicit drugs, and is currently waiting on an acceptance letter from a local university.  She is filled with gratitude for, "just caring about her and loving her just the way she is." 


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