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 19 funded partners and in-house education program, Success By 6. Their 23 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.


Boy Scouts of America, Last Frontier Council

"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 a story and group song.  Being prepared to administer first aid and ready with quick thinking to calm a crowd, our Scouts helped in a time of need and calmed the fears of many.

CASA of Southwest Oklahoma

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, 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 negative impact on the child’s self-esteem. SoonerCare (state health care) was provided to the children, but 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 The boy was withdrawn and anti-social, but once the condition was treated with the right medication, he became engaged both in school and outside of school.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 persistent 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.

Catholic Charities

Jessica is a 19-year old, Spanish speaking single mother of one who was referred to the Family Hope program by DHS. Upon entering the Catholic Charities Family Hope program, the case manager worked closely with Jessica to help her regain custody of her son. Jessica received parenting classes and counseling services. Additionally, she obtained permanent housing and enrolled her son in the Early Head Start program. 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. 

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 Center for Creative Living. Unfortunately, I do not have enough money to pay for transportation to get there every day. The Center for Creative Living 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 Center for Creative Living 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.

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.  

Christian Family Counseling Center 

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.

Family Promise of Lawton Interfaith Hospitality Network

My family and I came into Family Promise 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.  

Family Promise of Lawton Guest Assistance

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.

Girl Scouts of Western Oklahoma

517 girls from Eisenhower Middle School participated in Be a Friend First (B.F.F.) anti-bullying workshop, sponsored by Girl Scouts of Western Oklahoma. 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.

C. Carter Crane Center for Empowerment and Advancement

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.  

Hearts that Care Volunteer Health Clinic

A senior citizen, who was well below the 200 percent national poverty level, was treated for Hepatitis C through the MedFund program. This program provides treatment medication (valued at over $33,000) for free to patients who have tested positive for Hepatitis C. the patient was cured of his condition because of the treatment provided by the MedFund program. This program is provided at the Hearts that Care Volunteer Health Clinic.

 Lawton Family YMCA 

I was introduced to competitive swimming when I moved to Lawton, OK from Georgia and was 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 could get to know people. The experienced members were very kind to newcomers, myself included. They would give out advice about techniques to use when at meets. Over time, I 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.
Mr. W is a 75-year-old man living in low-income housing. He struggles to survive on his social security check. Receiving food from The Lawton Food Bank allows Mr. W to afford to keep his very old, compact card. This is vital for traveling to and from the doctor, and to church. With money saved on food, he is also able to pay his bills and stay in contact with his doctor.
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 or utilities, and could not afford 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 her ex-husband as well.
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.
A youth was placed in the shelter due to neglect by his parents. The young man was upset with the world and wanted to drop out of school and sell drugs to make 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. After learning interview skills from the case manager, he had a successful interview and was accepted into the Job Corp program. 
He recently left the shelter and is doing well at Job Corp.

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 six 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 for sixteen months . . . that’s the longest I’ve ever been clean and sober.

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.

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's 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, cheer-leading in the fall, and working with the Torch Club civic group.

Salvation Army Shelter and Soup Kitchen Program

Shawn came to the shelter 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 for 9 months and was taught necessary life skills by staff and supervisors. The Salvation Army staff has also worked with Shawn on job-related skills. Shawn found employment with a felony friendly employer and also attained a second job. The shelter set up a prepaid savings account and after nine months he moved into his own apartment. As of January 2018, he was still employed and is attending secondary schooling to learn the trade of Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning. 

Success By 6 

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 part of 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.

Teen Court Delinquency Prevention

No one has hugged me and made me feel special. 
Ms. Princess told me one day that I looked sad 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 kind of 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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