#WhyWednesday: Victoria Witherington

At a YPL event, Victoria Witherington saw firsthand the impact of United Way — and she stepped up to do her part. Hear why Victoria gives back to her community as a United Way Young Professional Leaders advisory board member!

United Way of Greater Atlanta’s Young Professional Leaders turn their influence into impact in our communities. Through their signature cause, United Way’s Kids Home Initiative, YPL members are helping families across Greater Atlanta become financially stable and have access to brighter futures. Click here to become a member!

There are many different initiatives within United Way of Greater Atlanta to combat homelessness, help families, feed the hungry and provide hope and stability for people in need.

While Kids Home Initiative helps with all of these things, there’s a difference. Children become the focus behind finding a solution.

“In this program, the kid is the starting point. They are the reference point,” said Amy Barrow, director of the Kids Home Initiative.  “We start with housing, and we get referrals from Homelessness Liaisons at the school or a social worker about a family that is in a crisis. We also get in contact with apartment complexes, and we have good relationships with the office managers that know that community well.”

Kids Home is a comprehensive solution helping children avoid or escape homelessness by assisting children and families have secure and successful futures. They do it by helping kids stay in school.

“The overarching mission is to keep kids in their school of origin,” Barrow says.

By keeping kids in their own school regardless of their living situations, Kids Home can provide the child with at least one point of stability even though the rest of their life may be in flux.

And then, Kids Home can start to help parents by providing stable housing.

“We try to get them stably housed,” Barrow said. “It’s not crisis intervention. We’re not able to help someone if they have zero income, but we’re trying to stabilize them. Sometimes, it’s about helping with the extra move-in costs, turning on utilities or helping with a deposit.”

Miquael Williams moved to Atlanta from Daytona Beach, Florida with a pair of children. His marriage ended after the move, and this left him as the sole guardian. Unfortunately, things went south quickly.

His family moved from place-to-place and house-to-house. Williams’ car broke down, and this cost him his employment. He struggled to pay his rent, and he was later robbed at gunpoint at his apartment complex.

Williams needed help, and that’s where Kids Home came in. United Way connected him to partner organizations that helped him with receiving housing services.

“None of the places stood us up on our feet like United Way did,” Miquael says.

 

For more information or to sponsor Kids Home Initiative, contact Amy Barrow at abarrow@unitedwayatlanta.org.

Kids Home Initiative: Kelleyina’s Story

The Achievement Club program provides incentive payments to help people achieve their goals. During this process, families and neighbors will develop a valuable skill set for setting and achieving daily goals.

Here is a two-generational success story from Kelleyina in Cobb County:

Kelleyina and her children were all members of our Achievement Club at Yells, Inc. Kelleyina invested her first incentive payment and opened a business bank account. She appreciated the opportunity to earn extra money to help build her family’s future.

Kelleyina was named Club ‘Valedictorian’ because of her goal completion. She finished a total of 4 goals with focus and diligence. She is now in our Alumni Achievement Club, and another one of her daughters has joined our new club.

Way to Go, Kelleyina!

 

Kids Home Initiative is a comprehensive solution between the United Way, the Siemer Family Foundation, the school system, homeless service providers and other non-profit organizations to help children avoid or escape homelessness by assisting children and families who are at risk of becoming homeless regain secure and successful futures.

United Way’s Achievement Club program is a part of Kids Home Initiative. Within the intensive 6 months of the Achievement Club program, families are rewarded for making steps toward achieving a goal.