United Way Volunteers Aid More People in Need

Roxann Sebest
Vice President, United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley made great strides in 2023. It was a year of growth on several fronts.

Our programming remains focused on early education and emergency services. We are seeing incredible growth in our volunteer base.

The Saturday of Caring initiative grew once again last year with the addition of more individuals and families to the monthly delivery list. Every third Saturday, 150 volunteers pack and deliver food to seniors and shut-ins throughout the Valley. Led by the Muransky family and with funding provided by the American Rescue Plan through the Mahoning County Board of Commissioners, we deliver to 460 homes every month.

Last August, we broke ground for construction of our Volunteer Resource Center in Boardman. This 12,000-square-foot building will provide warehouse space for items used in various initiatives such as the Saturday of Caring. It will also provide space for volunteers to gather and help us sort, prepare and pack any materials needed for our work.

Our United Way received $1.5 million for this project from the 2022 federal budget through the office of U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown. We also raised $1.5 million from local foundations for naming rights in the building. The Volunteer Resource Center is expected to open in this summer.

United Way works closely with all Mahoning County school districts as well as Girard, Liberty and Hubbard in Trumbull County through our Success By 6 and Success After 6 initiatives.

As part of Success After 6, we launched Care Closets in 2022. These are resource pantries that provide food, clothing, school supplies, hygiene kits and other essential items students need. We started with six pantries and for 2023/2024 school year we expanded to 10 in the Youngstown, Boardman and Austintown school districts. United Way is working closely with the administration in Youngstown to bring a Care Closet to every school building in the district by the end of 2024.

The afterschool program is a main component of Success After 6. We started this school year with eight sites, then added Boardman Center Intermediate School. We now serve a more than 500 students.

During the summer, Success By 6, our pre-kindergarten readiness program, increased to 735 the number of students participating in the program. We also registered 7,200 children living in Mahoning County for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, a program that sends a free book once a month to children from birth to age 5..

Despite the uncertain economy, fundraising efforts remain strong. In early spring of 2023, United Way announced its 2022 campaign results – a record-breaking $3.62 million. This growth is attributed to our programs and the impact being made on those most in need. We are set to announce our 2023 campaign results in mid-February.

The United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley was founded in 1919. We have eight full-time and three part-time employees.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.