united way of greater chattanooga

For years, Derek Dickerson held awesome jobs as a painter andgraphic design artist in Chattanooga, but he never understood why he hadtrouble keeping the jobs he loved. Over time, Derek developed an anxietydisorder,   was on disability for a medical condition, and was out ofwork for many years. Like many others in his situation, Derek isolated himselffrom everyone and faced depression. 

At United Way of Greater Chattanooga, we fight for Education,Support, and Stability for every person in the community. Because of handraisers and game changers like you, Derek has won that fight through ourBuilding Stable Lives program at the AIM Center. 

Derek found the courage to take the first step and received helpwith job search and support through the clubhouse program. Thanks to yourinvestment at United Way of Greater Chattanooga, Derek is an outstandingcitizen that holds a job, has a stable living situation, and recently purchasedhis own car.  

 Thankyou for Joining the Fight! United We fight. United We Win! Live UNITED!

Posted by UWGC Staff  | Category: impact, stability, campaign

Thank you for Joining the Fight for Education!

Like many parents, Marcus and DarWaynia Dunson were ecstatic when they learned that they would be first time parents in February 2017. After celebrating, the Dunson’s began decorating their nursery, sharing the arrival of their bundle of joy with friends and family, and praying for a happy and healthy baby girl. But on November 18, 2016 their world changed forever. Their daughter Madisyn arrived three months early, weighing only 1lb and 2 ounces, and was immediately placed in the NICU.

Over the next three months, the NICU became the second home for the Dunsons. It was here that they learned reading to their daughter each day would help with any developmental delays. Wanting to do whatever they could to help, Marcus began reading his favorite comic books to his baby girl. One day, a nurse informed the family that they could receive free books each month from Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, funded by United Way of Greater Chattanooga.

Finally, Madisyn was released from NICU after three months. Family and friends would come to visit the Dunson home with the intention of reading Imagination Library books off of her book shelf to help with continued progress.

“There were so many victories and challenges in NICU. Having a micro preemie introduces you to a whole new world.” Said, Ms. Dunson, “But with great people in the community like United Way of Greater Chattanooga, it has helped bring our family closer together and help Madisyn along the way!”

Thank you for joining United Way of Greater Chattanooga in the fight for education, stability, and support for every individual in the TN Valley. Because of donors like you, all babies born in Hamilton County will be able to receive books from birth to five years old absolutely free to help with early literacy and help children become successful.


Posted by UWGC Staff  | Category: impact

Summertime:  a time when most children are surrounded by their friends, families, and camp counselors. The time where you make memories and are excited to take family vacations, participate in activities, and field trips throughout the scenic city. But unfortunately some children in Chattanooga do not have these opportunities.

The United Way of Greater Chattanooga is fighting to combat that problem and help build positive relationships in Hamilton County by continuing to fight for education, support, and stability. One way to win that fight is through the Chattanooga Mentoring Collective which targets the community and area schools with quality mentoring services to help children and youth succeed in school and life.  One year ago, the Chattanooga Mentoring Collective was launched and now has 10 agencies partners such as; Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Chattanooga, Brainerd High School, Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy,  City of Chattanooga, Get Veterans Involved, Girls Inc., Independent Youth Services: Boys to Men, La Paz, Cherokee area council boy scouts of America, and The Urban League of Greater Chattanooga. Through those partnerships and commitment from the community, 1000 mentors have signed up and have taken the pledge to mentor youth! 

On Monday, June 19, 2017 at the Chattanooga Zoo, the United Way of Greater Chattanooga, in partnership with the City of Chattanooga’s Youth and Family Development, hosted the one year celebration of the Mentoring Collective’s success. Mayor Andy Berke along with his mentee, Cleavon, greeted the hundreds of mentors and mentees, volunteers, and families who came out to celebrate.  

“It was great to see our mentors and mentees enjoy the time with each other at the Chattanooga Zoo,” said Elizabeth Tallman, United Way of Greater Chattanooga’s Education Director. “Our goal is to continue to work with our great partners in the community to guarantee that every child that is in need of a mentor has one.”
During the event, children had the chance to spend valuable time with their mentors by petting and meeting new animals, eating pizza, and interacting with other program participants throughout the evening. Also, several adults signed up to become a mentor through the Chattanooga Mentoring Collective. For more information visit www.mentorchatt.org
We are thankful for volunteers and businesses who donated to make this event successful. 

A very special thank you to the Chattanooga Zoo, Chattanooga Youth and Family Development, Speedway, and Lil Caesar’s pizza (Dodson). We look forward to next year’s Chattanooga Mentoring Collective celebration. 

All pictures taken by staff photographer, Katy Beth Barber, of KBarber Photography.

Posted by UWGC Staff  | Category: Mentoring